Paul, Diane and Bobbie greeted their morning class at the Instituto Politécnico de Beja with “T.G.I.F.” – another new slang expression to add to their growing list.A serious discussion about religion in the U.S. followed as a student wanted to know how we manage with so many different religions in our country.  Topics covered ranged from separation of church and state, the religion of presidential candidates, to discussion of the Amish (a religion or culture?) to cults, Jim Jones and Kool-Aid.
On a lighter note, we switched gears to our planned “game day” and played a vocabulary building game known to the students as “Stop”.  We grouped them in pairs and passed out a sheet with the following headings:
     Animal   /   City   /   Clothing   /   Job   /   Food   /   We Are
F    Fox      Frankfurt      Fly        Fireman    Fries    Fabulous
We gave them a letter and they would write an English word in each column with that letter.  The first team to complete all categories would yell “stop”.  They loved playing this game and we promised to play it again next week.We repeated the same activities in the afternoon class.  In just one week’s time, we could see an amazing improvement in our students’ confidence when speaking English.Joe and Mary had an “exceptionally unusual” class on Friday as they met their new students in the Senior Institute.  Each student’s introduction lasted more than twenty minutes with one student tracing his family history back to the 1700’s!
Reba and Arleen continued their teaching at Santa Maria Middle School.  They had four classes of the 5th, 6th and 8th grades.  While their students seemed to know the English alphabet, they needed help with the letters’ sounds.  Both Reba and Arleen used flash cards with the students.Our Friday night celebration dinner was a treat at the 25th of April Restaurant where their specialty was “black pig”.
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