Mexico 2015

Senora Stevens and Miss Maugham have travelled to Mexico this year! Read on for their daily updates...

Celebrating work between Whitehouse Common Primary and Colegio Esperanza

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Staff and students at Whitehouse Common and Colegio Esperanza had been working together on a number of themes even before the visit to Mexico by Miss Maugham and Señora Stevens, and to England by Miss Rous and Miss Martha, and will continue to do so! In order to celebrate and share this work with each other, we have a wikispace to which we can upload work, photographs and videos. It is currently being developed and new items are being added all the time so keep checking back! 

Mexico Day 5 - Colegio Esperanza

On our third at Colegio Esperanza we continued to visit classes, joining in their English lessons and talking with them about England. It was interesting to hear what they thought about England and how they imagined British children to be. We explained that we're not all blonde with blue eyes!

Señora Stevens continued to be in demand as a breaktime cheerleader, and Miss Maugham had the children trying very hard to win one of her very special Assistant Headteacher stickers. Something interesting that we noticed was that when children did particularly good work, they received a star sticker that they then stuck on their forehead!

Our break time snack today was quesadillas, a carton of chocolate milk and hot bananas in a caramel sauce. Delicious!

Rous showed us something very exciting today; not only can you see Malinche, a dormant volcano from upstairs, you can also see Popacatépetl which is an active volcano that erupted just last week! Although she (volcanoes are all female!) didn't properly erupt today, there was smoke above her crater. Don't worry though; we're a long way off if she does decide to erupt properly!

The school day finished with a fascinating exhibition about Santa Ana Chiautempan, the town in which Colegio Esperanza is situated. There were many pictures and models of the town and surroundings through the ages as well as costumes worn at 'fería', and a very knowledgebale gentleman talked us through the history in Spanish. Eveerybody learned a lot including people who had lived in or near the town for years.

We had a busy day outside of school too. In fact, we left school mid morning to visit the local market where we saw how to make tortillas using a machine and by hand as well as viewing a wode variety of stalls. We spent the afternoon looking around Tlaxcala, eating at a very famous restaurant called Desayuno Lupita where we had quesadillas and drank agua de sandia which was delicious before going around a museum of 'artesanía' or handicrafts. 

And in the evening we visited the breathtaking Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Ocotlán, a beautiful Catholic church where Ana Gloria was married and both Rous and Ana Gloria's children were christened. The beautiful historic chapel at the back of the altar was  shut for the day, but the priest opened it up especially for us and it was stunning. And when we thought the day couldn't improve, we went to Ana Gloria's house for dinner. 

Tomorrow is our last day in Mexico. I wonder what further surprises we'll encounter?

Mexico Day 4 Colegio Esperanza

We have been made extremely welcome and been given our own room at Colegio Espenaza where we can leave our things for the day and rest... Although rest has not been possible - there is far too much to see and enjoy! Time to reflect though has been important as we have been able to discuss what we have learned and ideas to bring back to you at school. We have lots!
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The children are so welcoming,often buying us sweets at break time. They wave and greet us throughout the day making us feel almost like celebrities! There is also the Union Jack and Mexican flag displayed in school. Displays around the school also include information about the patron saints.
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We are now much more familiar with this fascinating setting. The school is built in a quad formation with the playground in the centre. There is no grass! No field! The only children who use the playground are those who are timetabled to play football. The other children sit around the outside of the quad eating their snack and chatting. We thoroughly enjoyed joining in as cheerleaders today whilst an inter - school style football match was played. We taught the children English chants and they taught us theirs.
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We have been impressed with the behaviour of the fourth graders who are the same age as our year five children. They have been learning to recognise, spell and say the names of some animals in English. They then compared these using the correct comparative language.
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The weather here is glorious... Like a scorching hot summer day in England however in Mexico they still wear trousers, jumpers and jackets!

We have visited a town called Chignahuapan which is about an hour and half drive from Santa Ana. Here we saw beautiful churches, market stalls selling handmade textile items and baubles a plenty! This small town hand makes beautiful Christmas baubles.  The Christmas tree in the centre of the square was an amazing sight to behold!

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The catholic faith is very important to many Mexicans and the churches here are beautifully ordained with statues and paintings. This huge statue of Mary with Jesus in the church we saw tonight was breathtaking.
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Another long day filled with amazing experiences and finding out so many fascinating facts about this amazing country, it's heritage and working with amazing staff and children.

Mexico Day 3 Colegio Esperanza

Colegio Esperanza Day 1

After breakfast at the local panadería, we walked to Colegio Esperanza ready to start school at 8.10! And what a welcome we received! The whole school were standing in the central playground ready for a special assembly during which they sang the Mexican national anthem, the Tlaxcala anthem and the school song whilst parading the flags. Their marching was brilliant. Then we were told the important things that happened this week in history - including the Declaration of Mexican Independence before we were welcomed to the school. Madre Lupita, the school's director, welcomed us and said that Colegio Esperanza were very happy to host us and that she hoped our schools would be a bridge between our two countries and cultures. The assembly finished with some folk dances - and we had to join in. It was very special.

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After assembly we spoke with the dancers who greeted us in Spanish and their native language. They told us that they had only started to learn Spanish as they grew older.

Then Maestro Juan took us to meet 4A and 5A and B. We talked about what they thought it means to be Mexican and also what makes someone a hero. It was interesting to hear the children talk about pride in their country and culture as something that was very important to them as Mexicans. We were asked lots of questions about England, our schools and the children. One class was particularly interested in the games we play and we've promised to send an explanation of how to play rugby and cricket for them!

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At break time we were treated to fresh fruit, chocolate milk and a Mexican snack - and lots of curious children surrounded us to say hello. After that we want to visit Ana Gloria and preschool who we taught to sing If you're happy and you know it. They all joined in and shouted 'we are!' very loudly!

After all that we needed 'un descanso' before we met some of the secondary aged children who showed us some work they had done about sustainability and the environment. We were very impressed as they did their presentations in English.

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School finishes at 2.00 and we spent this afternoon and evening at the Feria de Tlaxcala. We went to a concert by 'Mariachi Sinfónica' which combined a traditional Mexican mariachi band with an orchestra. It was wonderful and even more enjoyable because the orchestra was conducted by the cousin of Erica, an English teacher who used to teach at Colegio Esperanza who accompanied us. After the concert we walked around the fair and spoke to some policemen who let us wear their hats before having dinner with Erica, her daughter and her cousin (the conductor.)

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Mexico City Day 2

Our second full day in Mexico started with sunshine and breakfast in Vips, eating more Mexican dishes.

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We then went on a tour of Mexico City in a taxi. We visited Coyoacán where Frida Kahlo lived and had a walk amongst more 'ofrendas' in the square.
Day 2 1
We also stopped nearby to visit a market which was very interesting but unfortunately we weren't allowed to take photographs!
At midday we went back to the hotel to check out before going to the bus station to catch the bus to Tlaxcala. 

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The bus was more like a coach - there was even a film to watch! On the journey we passed an extinct volcano and saw several cemeteries where people were decorating the graves of their loved ones.

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And then we were in Tlaxcala - the city. We are staying in Santa Ana Chiautempan which is outside of the main town. We were shown the town where we saw some people dancing in the square. We also saw the cathedral which was the first church in the whole of America, and the start of a bullfight in the bullring!
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There is so much to see! We are now at our hotel in Santa Ana preparing for our first day at Colegio Esperanza tomorrow.
Day 2 5

Mexico City Day 1

Senora Stevens and Miss Maugham have arrived in Mexico city after a long (11hour) flight. We have been greeted by our two new friends.

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We are already learning so much about this fascinating culture. Breakfast is very different from that we have in England. Today we had enchilladas with onion chilli egg and a tasty sauce. Quite spicy especially at 8.30am!

We have tasted a delicious local street food called Tamal. This is a ground corn dish wrappend in sweet corn leaves!

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We have spent our first day exploring this making place. We have visited churches, monuments and seen the remains of the pyramids.

Lots of lovely picture to share with you back in school. Especially year five who learn about the Mayans.

Tomorrow we head to Tlaxcala where we will visit the school we are linked with. We will share some of your work and be asking all the questions you gave us.

Watch this space for more information during the week...

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