Cast-a-net into South America

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This past Saturday was my first time to see my children from Inspiration Center in Mathare since being away for Christmas. These children make me want to remain here for a long time, not that it’s possible or that this is God’s plan, but now that I have known them for a year and a half I feel such warmth and love to each of my students. When I returned to see them and received such a joyful welcome I decided that at least every Saturday- I have the best job on earth!

When I was gone the children studied South America and so to keep with doing a different continent per month, I decided to extend South America for 2 more weeks so that come February we will be very knowledgeable and ready to move on to Africa! My friend Jaime had taken charge since her family is Honduran and so during my class we incorporated some of what the children had previously learned as well! It was easy to incorporate because the children had just learned to dance merengue and my lesson was to expose them to Flamenco music and then to make castanets! Castanets are percussion instruments used in South American countries and Spain. The instrument is a pair of concave shell-shaped wooden pieces joined together by a string. They are held in each hand of the dancer and as the music plays and the dancer moves the castanets will enhance the rhythm and beats of the music.

I like to find projects that are simple enough that my children can go home and teach their family and friends what they learned to do in class. So our castanets were simple, yet still sounded great; made of cardboard, glue, tape, and bottle caps! Strips of cardboard were covered in tape to make them last longer and folded in half. then we glued one bottle cap to the 2 inside edges of the cardboard so that when the cardboard piece was bent in half the caps would make a great clicking sound!

I had a CD of South American music with a lot of castanets so, after making our castanets, the children sat with their eyes closed and listened to the music, then I had them raise their hands when they heard the clicking of the castanets and lower their hands when there wasn’t any. Then at the end of class we had a dance party! Everyone danced and clicked and my 2 young helpers and I chose four of the best castanet clickers to have a dance-off up front! My kids are already amazing, rythmic dancers so when you put a clicking noise-maker in both of their little hands they can do wonders! It was so fun to have them dance and also to see the merengue dance steps they had been taught previously!

Last stop in South America is Colombian Rice Pudding!

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