Week #3 of 2nd Term

Hard to believe we’re already starting the 3rd week of the second term!  Most of the kids are back at the school, a couple of my students arrived over the weekend.  I’m still waiting on 2 of my students to arrive.

It’s frustrating because it’s so hard to try to not leave anyone behind while trying not to hold anyone back at the same time.  It’s not fair to the kids who haven’t arrived yet because they’ll be confused about what we’re learning.  Then again it’s not fair to the kids who are here to be held back and not learn new things.  I’ve been taking it slowly……trying to find that balance where I can challenge students who are here without getting too far ahead so that when my last 2 students arrive they *hopefully* won’t feel that it’s hopeless for them to try to catch up.

I taught two Math classes to Class 4 today, my kids still haven’t memorized their multiplication tables even though we’re already on the division chapter.  I try to play a game with them at the end of the class if we have time.  I write a multiplication number on the blackboard (e.g. 5 x 4=) and one person from each of the two teams stand by the blackboard armed with a piece of chalk.  Whoever writes the right answer, gets a point.  Sometimes this results in frustration and tears because some of the kids want to win so badly but they struggle with multiplication tables, yet they keep asking to play it again the following day.

I also taught Class 5 Science and the current chapter is about classifying animals.  Not the most exciting chapter ever so am trying to think of ways to make it more fun and hands-on.  I think one activity I will have my kids do after we review all the 5 classes of vertebrates is have them go outside and classify animals into a table (gotta include some fun colorful crayons with that).  In the meantime, I think I’m going to either put together a collection of pictures of animals from the Internet and magazines or I’m going to draw some animals.  Then I will ask my students to identify which animal is a reptile, fish, amphibian, etc.  and why.  I’m trying to incorporate what, why, when, where, how with some of my Science lessons.

Today, I tried asking things like “How are fishes and amphibians the same?(e.g. they both can live in water” and “How are fishes and amphibians different? (e.g. amphibians can live on land and they have lungs, fishes don’t).”  I’m pretty sure I completely confused my students with that so I need to have more visual aids.  It’s a lot easier for me to explain things using visual aids than just words because I am a visual person as well.

The English teacher for Class 4 had to take care of her sick children so she asked me this morning to teach English.  She wanted me to discuss pictures in the textbook with the students since they are going to read a story with a related theme this week.  The pictures were of people celebrating holidays.  We discussed the pictures, how people celebrate holidays, etc.  Then I had them write stories themselves with guidance (e.g. “I like to celebrate Christmas.  On Christmas I go to ___________.  Then I ________________.  My family and I like to eat ______________ on Christmas.  Some other holidays are ______________.”  We then brainstormed lists of “food,” “holidays,” etc. as a class and the students completed the blanks with a word of their choice.

Then when I thought I was done for the day I get asked to teach Class 8 KSL (Kenya Sign Language).  I’m always a bit iffy when I have to teach Class 8 because I don’t feel like I have the KSL grammar down well enough (I wouldn’t call myself fluent when it comes to ASL grammar either).  I have tried to do fun activities in the past because…well…teaching/learning grammar is just boring in general.  I asked a couple of Class 8 boys when KSL was and apparently it’s “free, free” which means whenever so I decided to teach after lunch because it was almost time for lunch.

I arrived to class and they were hoping I bought flashcards/puzzles that I have made in the past.  I will sometimes go over grammar rules (props to the KSL manual PC gave us) and then I have sentences written in English on a piece of paper.  I then have all the words from a sentence written on separate papers and they have to put them in the correct KSL word order (basically translating English to KSL, and yes KSL has a written form unlike ASL).  I simply didn’t have time to do that and I don’t even have the KSL 8 textbook or anything.  I decided on a whim to see if the idea of making a KSL video for America kids would go over at all.

It went over pretty well.  There was definitively some confusion which was my fault.  For example I wanted them to sign a song that they sing at the morning assembly but I wasn’t clear enough at first.  They wanted to just show the sign for “sing” then when I tried to sign one of the songs they do, they got all embarrassed and said they wanted to just teach words.  🙂

It was interesting to see what words and sentences they came up with (e.g. respect, responsibility, humble, friend, family, prayer, church, pastor, food, school, play, sports).  We practiced twice and then I videotaped them.  Many of the signs they used were actually ASL/SEE2 and I kept trying to correct them but habits die-hard.  They have a lot easier time signing KSL when they’re in a social setting than in an educational setting.  I do hope to do this again in the future!  I need to edit the video so that they can watch it on my netbook this weekend, and I will see if I have enough MBs to post it online as well.

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