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This year at Escuela Caracol, the combined 4th/5th grade class was made up of eight children, all from San Marcos and the neighboring villages of Lake Atitlán. Having the students come back each year bigger, healthier, and more curious than ever is testimony to their progress at Escuela Caracol.

In our first Math block we focused on fractions. First, we had a lot of hands-on activities to reinforce the concept of fractions. We moved on to manipulating fractions, expanding, reducing, and recognizing equivalent fractions.

Our second block focused on studying the Popol Vuh, the sacred book of the Mayan people. We took a field trip across the lake and up the mountain to visit the Grupo Cultural Sotz’il, a group of Kaq’chikel Mayan artists who interpret stories from their ancestors and perform them on stage to keep them alive. The children, inspired and in awe of what they saw, were eager to make masks and dance like the Sotz’il group. We wrote together and drew the stories of the Popol Vuh. Then we prepared our Class Play and presented it to the community.

In the second half of the year, the 4th and 5th graders at Escuela Caracol delved into Ancient History. They learned about the ancient civilizations of India, Persia, Mesopotamia and Egypt. As much as possible, they experienced these cultures through their senses and through rich images and stories. Drinking chai tea, drawing maps, building a Babylonian temple (Ziggurat) with clay bricks, and even getting wrapped with bed sheets as part of an imaginary mummification ceremony were some of the highlights. They started using fountain pens this year after making their own more “traditional” ones using bamboo. To conclude the year, the students experienced the study of Botany. They spent a lot of time outdoors observing the lush plant-life around them and the beautiful flowers which are in bloom at this time of the year (November-December).

This group of students relies on the support from our generous donors in the United States and Europe. Our costs are increasing and we’d like to make this opportunity available to more indigenous Mayan students. In order to do that we need your support! Sponsors are the heart of our school. Please consider sponsoring a child for $20/month for 2015 and ensure the continued opportunity for these beautiful children! In minutes you can make this gift a reality through by clicking here if you are living in the U.S., or clicking here if you are in Europe. Or you can make a one time gift of any amount. We are still in need of $13,000 to get through 2014. Thank you for your generous support!