Monday, March 19, 2012

Fun stories!

At some point I will blog more detailed observations of the school but until then, I have a few fun stories to share with you!

1. We have to always drink bottled or bagged water everywhere so we were at school and we were running low on water.  I asked a few of my kids if they could get some more from the canteen so they went.  One of my 5 year old boys came back with the box on his head and he goes, " Auntie Carrie, my head is paining me." He sounded so worn out and all he had was about 6 little bags of water in the box.  :) How I love them.

2. We had church at school for Ash Wednesday and you know, 5 year olds at church can get a little long.  I was sitting on one end of my students and my teacher was sitting on the other end.  About half way through mass one of my girls goes, "Auntie Carrie."  I look back at her and she is making a face at me!  I had to turn my head so she didn't see me laughing.

3. I made word family cards for my kids to practice when they are done with their work.  I am excited to say that they love using them.  For now I have them in a place that is easy to access for me but not for them so that I am not creating an easy mess for them or myself.  I started keeping some at the teacher's table so I can pull kids back to me to read them to me and not just to themselves.  Yesterday after snack I was putting something away and turned around and every single one of my letter bags was out on someone's table.  I was slightly frustrated at first because I was trying to get them all settled for the next lesson and it just wasn't working.  I asked them to please pack the cards back in the bags and as I was going to help one of my students she looked at me and goes, "Auntie Carrie, I'm reading."  :)  I just smiled and said, "yes, you are."

4. There was an incident that happened with a student and I got so mad.  He was disorganizing the other students counters and I stopped him and asked "Why?! You know you shouldn't be doing this.  Put them back and sit down." The next student that needed my help asked me if I could tie his shoes.  I felt so guilty for getting so mad.  It's so hard to remember they are only 5 and patience is the key.

5. When my students see me starting to get upset, instead of doing what they are supposed to be doing they, they go, "Auntie Carrie, how are you?" They melt my heart. :)

6. My students started to do high five, pound it, and blow kisses at me.  That's one of my favorites.

7. I was trying to show one of my four year olds how do make the sign of the cross.  I was wearing my cross necklace I wear every day and he looks at it, stops making the sign of the cross and goes "This is your Jesus Cross."  The five year old that we live with called it my Roman Cross.  Again, :)

8. I punished one of my sassy four year olds consistently for about a week and the following week he was behaving much better.  One day at lunch he was running one way and ran into a boy running the opposite way and knocked his chicken out of his hand.  He goes, "Oh sorry, sorry!" picked up the chicken, brushed it off on his shirt and gave it back to the other boy.  It was the funniest thing I have seen in so long.

9. I made name tags for the tables for Open Day and the kids were getting really excited about them.  One of my sassies asked "Auntie Carrie, where's my name?" I told him to just wait. It was coming.  He says, "ok." and two seconds later he goes, "I'm still waiting."

10.  I was talking to a student who wasn't following directions asking her if she knew why I was upset with her.  She told me yes and then told me the reason why.   I asked her how many times she thought I should have to ask her to sit down before she would get in trouble and she looks at me without missing a beat and goes, "five time."

11. One of my student's moms came in the other day and said, "Finally, I am meeting Auntie Carrie! I have heard so much about you! My son always says the white lady taught me...I asked him what the white ladies name was and he goes, Auntie Carrie!!"

Soon to come, how things are going now since I have been back.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Reality Check from God

List of quotes that explain life right now:

“Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”
-Miriam Beard

“Knowing what is right is like deep water in the heart; a wise person draws from the well within.”
-Proverbs 20:5 MSG

“The really happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.”

“Today is your day!  Your mountain is waiting.  So…get on your way.”
-Dr. Seuss

“Come, let us go up the mountain of the Lord…There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths.”
-Isaiah 2:3 NLT

“I can’t decide where I want to go until I know where I am.”
-Annie Chapman

“True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.”
-Psalm 23:3 MSG

A Reality Check from God.

I have so much to catch you all up on but I needed to share this story with you before anything else.  This weekend Rachel and I traveled by bus to Kumasi, which is about 6 hours north from Accra.  It was an interesting beginning to the trip.  Auntie had warned us that people from Kumasi aren’t always the most friendly.  She said that they are stubborn and know you don’t speak Twi  but that is how they will speak to you anyway even though they all speak English perfectly.  I was a little nervous for this because I already struggle with this back home when those around me speak Twi or Ga or any other language than English. 

Background.  Prior to this trip a few things we were struggling with was this image of always being the rich Americans.  The other frustration is not being able to go anywhere without catching the attention of at least a few Ghanaian boys who want to marry us.  We are white and they think we are their ticket to America.  We just tell them we are married and they keep walking.

Funny story about this though.  Normally Pratey comes with us out on our excursions around Accra.  He helps ward off the unwanted.  I normally stay calm when this happens and just keep walking.  Why be rude? That's just rude.  But on Saturday on our way to the bus station Najib went with us.    He wasn't used to the attention we get.  So Rachel and Najib were walking and talking and I was just a step behind them and this man grabs my arm and says he wants to marry me.  I just laughed and said no, let go.  He didn't let go so Rachel turns around and goes, "We have to go. Let go." He still didn't let go so I got irritated and more forcefully told him to let go.  Najib realized what was going on and goes, "Um, please, could you let go?" haha.  Little while later Najib looks at us and goes, "Do you get hassled like this often?" "Yes, Yes we do." Welcome to being white in a friendly culture.  Some people are fine and are really just wondering where we are from.  Other times, as you can see, people take it too far.

Anyway, so we set out on this adventure, arrived in Kumasi, and were met by Daddy’s cousin.  We enjoyed a nice Saturday night at a restaurant and the Zoo in Kumasi.

Saturday came and was even more interesting.  I had been struggling with a lot, personal stuff, school, the fact that I have less than two weeks here, Ghanaians marrying a white women thing, how privileged I am,  on and on and on. So Sunday morning was just this mix of emotions from the beginning.  Then, Daddy’s cousin’s driver took us out to Lake Bosomtwi, about 45 minutes away from Kumasi.  As we arrived, we drove right up to the lake and there is a village that meets you as you enter the lake.  There is an information center there.  Real interesting place.  It was created from a meteorite and the rain water from the surrounding mountains filled it up and they have Lake Bosomtwi.  The name came from a man who was hunting this animal and as the animal came to the lake, it disappeared.  They call this “bosom” meaning ghostlike.  “Twi” is the name of the local language, so all together they got Bosomtwi.

But back to the story, we went to the information center and the people all speak English but they gave the quick brief on the lake in Twi.  So Rachel and I just sat there having no clue as to what was being explained.  Then all of the sudden our driver asks us for 4 cedi.  We were like, wait, what the heck just happened!  No I am not giving you 4 cedi.  (We were calm, of course.)  They eventually explained it in English and we moved on.  Later, we drove with our guide out a bit to another village and he was really encouraging us to go see this lady who calls to the gods or something like that but he goes, make sure you give her some money. We looked at each other and were like, wait, what are we doing? Who is this lady? and our driver and the guide just laughed at us.  We were so annoyed.  We tried asking some questions about what it was we were going to do but were getting nowhere. Finally I just said, look, we don’t know what you are talking about.  We are asking questions because we want to know more details.  Would you please explain to us who this lady is.  We don’t want to pay for something we don’t need to.  Then as we were driving through the village the men were constantly telling us to take out our camera and take a picture.  We kept thinking, don’t tell us what to do. If we want pictures, we will take them.

Finally we just said, I think it’s time for us to get going, we have some other things we want to do and it’s getting late.  So as we got back to the lake some of the locals wanted to wash our car.  Okay, whatever, go for it. So Rachel and I sat there, irritated about the adventure and the way we felt like were just being tossed around.  Finally they were done washing our car and as we were getting into the back seat, one of the boys who was about 10 or 11 opened the door for Rachel, told her to have a safe trip and asked if the next time she came she could bring him a book.  She got in the car, looked at me and told me what happened. My only reaction was, “All he asked for was a book?” 

That was it.  We lost it.  We both started crying.  I felt so small.  It was my reminder that all the things I am struggling with really don't matter.  I realized that my personal life doesn’t matter.  It’s not a big deal.  Going home in 2 weeks doesn’t matter.  I am right where I should be.  Who am I to say that I know what my school needs.  It’s supposed to be a good school.  They have high test scores and achieve more than other schools around.   We don’t have all the answers in America, why should we have them here, in a third world country?  Why can’t the school just pay for materials? Because it just can’t!  Be satisfied with that answer.  I would love to take ownership of my classroom but I can’t.  It was never fully handed over to me, it’s just a classroom I have been in for seven weeks and one I am trying to help, not change.
            Be patient with those who don’t know any better.  Explain that America has faults as well.  Life isn’t always greener on the other side.  It was my reminder that I don’t know everything just because I am from America and I don't have all the answers just because I am from America.  Daddy loves traveling to the village and it’s because the people there are the happiest people he knows.  Do they dream of America?  Maybe, but they are happy where they are and that’s good enough. 
            Are there things to be frustrated with at school? Absolutely!  Should we worry about it like we do? No way.  Let it be.  Do the best we can, every day and thank God for another day of life and happiness.
            God kicked me in the butt today to show me that I am exactly where I am supposed to be;  to remind me to find the beauty in everything, every day.  To remind me that I may not have everything I want, but I have everything I need.  To remind me where I am to help me decide where I want to go.  I feel the most at peace I have in a long time.  The simple joy that a book can bring to someone is all I needed to remember that life is good.  "God is good, all the time. And all the time, God is good."

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Reality of School

So, while we have enjoyed the realities of living in a third world country and find them humorous, usually, we struggle a lot with school.  I don't even know where to begin.  All I can say is that it is very different.  I am enjoying my students 100%, even when they are sassy.  We are starting to get more used to each other and I am getting used to the expectations and needs of each of the students.  I find it difficult to bring in materials that will be beneficial to them because they are so young that I need to give very specific rules for the activities.  It's fine but they also are new to outside materials and get a little excited when I do bring them in.  Usually the things I bring in are so basic but again, it's something totally new that they are not used to so they get over excited. This is getting better.  Today we spent a good 30 minutes talking about expectations and how to use the different materials, again.  I am hoping that it will help.  I know I will have to repeat it all tomorrow but for today, it worked well. 

The school structure is something I am not used to as well.  It's, different.  There is not much time spent on behavior.  We are starting too.  They went over this first term, but my kids need constant reminders.  They know how to behave, they just don't.  Example, today after school they were supposed to sit in their seats and sit with a book and read.  I was working with a few students in the back and really wasn't to worried about them because it was after school anyway, but someone was watching out the door and saw our teacher coming and yelled to the rest of the class that she was coming.  This was their sign to settle down.  So they know what and how they are supposed to be behaving, they just choose not to.  It is really difficult.  Again, we are trying to implement rewards for good behavior but it is a struggle.  It's really helpful that my teacher respects the fact that I cannot cane the kids to get them to behave so she helps a lot with taking away privileges.  When I am teaching, if there is someone she sees misbehaving she will take the disciplinary actions that I use as punishment.  When she is teaching, she does it her way.  It's really considerate on her part and I really appreciate it.

Culture is one thing that we are getting used to each other over.  Some of the comments we make to each other may or may not be appropriate to each other and it's all a matter of trying to understand each other.  I respect my teacher a lot.  I think we have an unspoken understanding of each other and it seems to get better each day. 

 I have more to say but am running out of time.  I just want to finish with some fun kids stories.

1. Today, I was really upset with my students this afternoon.  One of my students told me after, " Auntie Carrie, I know when you get upset."  I asked him when? and he said, "When your face gets all red."  haha That's the truth.
2. A few days ago I was showing pictures of my friends to my kids and then taking pictures with them and one of them made a funny face in the camera.  One of the other boys laughed at her and told her I was going to take the picture home to America and show all of my friends and they would laugh at her.  The girl told him that they wouldn't because they don't know her and if they do, who cares because they don't know her.  I thought that was a pretty awesome conversation between two five year olds.
3. Last week Rachel and I were sitting out in the front entrance talking and about 15-20 of her kids came marching out, in perfect unison, chanting, "We are GOoinggg to America!"  haha! That made us laugh.  They marched all the way through the front entrance all the way to the back.  Apparently they play "going to America" during lunch.
4. I found a Laura Ingles Wilder picture book and it was showing the different seasons.  I was trying to explain to them what snow is from the picture.  I told them that it's really cold! like sticking your hand in the freezer for a long time.  One of my girls asked if God lived where it was cold? I asked her if the picture looked like Heaven and she shook her head yes.  It was precious. All my family and friends living in the cold, remember that story while you are upset about the snow.
5. So, shit is an acceptable word to say apparently and I was taking a picture of one of my girls with her head wrapped and when she saw her picture she goes, "Awww, sheet!" Which is how they spell shit but it sounds the same.  haha She's five. It was hilarious!

Until next time..

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Reality

Hi all,

Many of you may or may not know the struggles Rachel and I have been going through.  Being here is a great learning experience and is definitely the challenge I was hoping for but not in the way I was expecting it.  Life here is so different. That doesn't exactly explain a whole lot about what it's really like.  For the last few weeks Rachel and I have spent numerous hours trying to hash out our feelings and get to a place where we feel emotionally stable.  The schools are not what we are used to at all so that has been a struggle to try and figure out how we fit into the classroom.  My teachers are very welcoming and give me feedback when they see fit but it's still really difficult for a number of reasons.

So, we made a list of all of the realities of LIVING here in Ghana. (Realities of the school to come in a few days.)  We love the culture and our home, 100%.  We could not have asked for a better host mom and family that surround us every day when we come home.  As I have mentioned before there are two other families who life in the same compound and then a few other random people as well.  It's hard to explain but there are about 20 people living in our compound and we all get along really well.  The kids that live with us are really fun. There are two people a few years younger than us when we need some peer time and then there are the parents of those kids and of course auntie and daddy, our Ghanaian parents.  The first list was a list of things we think are funny because we don't ever have to worry about it at home:

1. No reliable electricity.  It feels like our power goes out every other day.  It makes it difficult to charge our phone to call home or to have access to the internet at the cafe, etc.  When the electricity goes out, it goes out  all over.  There are the bigger stores that have back up generators but the small shops like the internet cafes do not. It goes out and you just find something else to do. You move on.
2. No hot water.  This isn't that difficult because it's so hot here that the cooler water feels nice but the reality is, there is none unless you boil it or shower during the day when the water has been sitting in the reservoir in the hot sun all day.
3. People have a hard time sometimes understanding the American English.  We both speak English but it's still different.  It's similar to talking to someone from the south times 6 in difference.  Makes it tricky sometimes.  My students have finally gotten used to the way I talk, most of the time.
4. No easy access to internet.  We don't have internet access at our house. Yesterday was the first time in 3 weeks that I even turned on my computer.  And the internet cafes are either without electricity or the internet is down every couple of days so far.
5. We don't have a vehicle we can just hop in and go somewhere.  We have to take the trotro or the taxi everywhere, which costs money, upfront so you feel like you are constantly spending money.  We have started to tell Pati (grandson) that we prefer walking if possible.
6. Never being alone! some people may love this but I need my alone time to think and reflect.  It's great debriefing with Rachel but I need my time to reflect alone.  I sat out on the veranda the other day and some of the people stopped by and didn't want to see me sitting by myself. :) It was sweet of the time sit and talk with me but I don't have anywhere to escape if I need too.
7. No washer and dryer.  The small things we take for granted.  It's nice that she has help who does the wash for her and also does most of ours but we have some things we prefer to do ourselves and there are other times when we feel guilty for piling our clothes for someone else to do.  Doing our laundry can be a process.
8. It's always hot here! It's so nice that we have air conditioning if we so choose but we carry our hankies with us to wipe away the sweat.
9. I have heard this is normal here but our fridge has a metal frame around the time and there are times when it gives you a shock when you touch it.  That kind of freaked us out at first.
10. We sweep our rug with a weed broom.
11. Any water we drink has to be boiled or bottled.  You can't brush your teeth with the sink water. yOu have to brush your teeth with water from a water bottle.  It's not a huge deal but I challenge you to brush your teeth for 9 weeks without turning on the faucet.
12. I don't mind this that much but there is no texting, let alone unlimited texting.  We are lucky that we have a phone we can use and it is relatively inexpensive.
13. We have seen one public library but it is far down town.
14. No reliable postal service.  We heard that if we get packages we have to pay to pick them up.  And in order to send ANYTHING you have to go to the post office, by the stamps, and drop it in the box there.  There aren't drop off spots around town that you can drop them off at. And, everyone has to go to a post office box to get their mail.
15. Inability to buy anything on our own.  We stopped at one of the shack shops the other day and had a hard time communicating with the person who owned it.  We have to bring Pati or Najib with us so they can say what we want to say.  I find it frustrating I can't just do it myself. I am always relying on someone else.
16. There is no one stop shopping.  You have to go to a number of different places to get everything. Luckily we can often ask Auntie to pick up something for us if we need it.
17. I saw a picture of a cheese burger and pizza yesterday.  Miss iiitt!! And ice cream is so expensive here! It's so sad!
18. Things are just always dirty.  The streets are always dirty, the classroom always has dirt because it's so dry and things are just..always dirty.
19. Rice.  To much. For every meal. Especially at school.  The school lunch rotates between four meals.  Fried rice, fried yam with sauce, rice cooked in sauce, and regular rice with sauce.  And it's always chicken or fish with it.  To much rice.
20. We are always spending money.  You want to go to the beach? 4 cedi. You want to get home from the beach? 13 cedi.  You want to get into the beach? Between 9 and 15 cedi, depending on the day you go.  That's just the beach.  Everything costs sooo much when you pay up front!

A list of the realities of the school are to come later...

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cape Cost!

Oh my goodness, what a weekend!  Rachel and I traveled to Cape Cost this weekend.  It was about a 5 hour bus ride there but only 3 hours on the way back.  Welcome to Africa I guess, but we had a great time!  We met up with a guide person, kinda who was suggested to Auntie by a classmate of hers.  We were very lucky to have him.  We went to Kakum National Park. It's a canopy sky walk over the forest.  Really cool! Hard to explain. But it was a fun experience.

Then we had lunch at Hans Cottage.  It's this restaurant surrounded by a big pond full of crocodiles! So cool. We then stopped at Auntie's High School, Wesley Girls.  It's a boarding school. Very large. she was excited we stopped there. Next we were off to look at the University of Cape Coast. We didn't get to go inside at all but we saw the outside of a few of their buildings. It's very spread out but was very clean compared to other parts of the city. 

One of our favorite parts of the day was Elmina Castle.  This was one of the two castles that slaves were brought to before being sold to other countries, including, of course, the U.S. That was an emotional experience.  We learned a lot.  I had my slavery class last semester so much of it I had already learned but to hear the history of it and see where it was all started was unreal.  Our guide made the comment that from their villages, they came to Elmina Castle where life was worse, then to the ships where life was even worse and then to masters where life was even worse.  Hearing the stories about Elmina and hearing him say that was really depressing, but it was real.

After Elmina we went back to our Guest House, walked around Cape Cost with our guide, Seth, and had dinner at Cape Coast Castle Restaurant.  Really great food!  It was an exciting night. Ghana won their soccer game so shortly after we got back to our room everyone in Cape Coast paraded the streets.  It was so awesome to see the unity over a game.  Similar to Green Bay after the Super Bowl.

Sleep time and then Sunday was a day at the beach!  Auntie's grandson met us at the bus station and we took a couple tro tros down to the beach! Fun day.  The beach is beautiful! We plan to go back often.

I have to start wrapping this up but just a few fun stories to share about school.  One day after school I was practicing spelling colors with a few of my 5 year olds and this little 3 year old strolls into our classroom, walks up to me, touches my face and goes, "Color white!" It was precious! Another one of my students asked if I was born white.  lol How else to you explain why other than answering with a "yes, my dear. I was."

One more fun kids story.  Instead of asking if they can go to the bathroom they ask if they can urinate or go wee wee.  I have started to make a point to tell the kids to go right after lunch so they don't have to leave once they get into the classroom.  I was asking one of the girls if she had released herself yet and she looked at me and goes, " Auntie Carrie, I tried to wee wee but my wee wee won't come out!"  What can you do besides laugh!

Soooo with all of that, I am off! hope everyone is doing well at home!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The weekend and one exciting school story

This weekend we went to a Ghanaian wedding! It was interesting.  It wasn't a Catholic wedding so comparing them to weddings back home wouldn't exactly be the same but it was unlike any weddings I have hear do of regardless.  It was a very short service.  We couldn't understand most of it since it wasn't in English but they groom gave gifts to the bride's family and they had to accept them and if they didn't then I don't know what would have happened but he accepted them.  Then the bride came out and the relatives took turns putting cedis (their money) on the ground and she had to walk on the cedis to the groom and then she did the same back the opposite direction. They stand in the middle of the two families as well.  The groom's family is on one side and the bride's family is on the other side facing them.  It was outside under a tent in the front of a family member's house.  After that family members take turns giving them advice. Like I said, it was hard to follow because it wasn't in English.

After our first Ghanaian wedding we went to the Accra Mall.  The most exciting part was the ride there.  We took the Trotro (?) which is similar to a large van.  It's public transportation but is oober cheap! 50 peswas per person! it was like, maybe 30 US cents for this ride.  There were maybe 15 people crammed inside. haha it was fun.  Auntie Agnes sends her grandson Pati with us wherever we go (aside from the internet cafe and school).  We all had fun.

Within the house we live in are 3 other families and then Auntie's grandson and grandnephew live with her as well but two of the families have multiple kids.  Rachel started a nightly tradition of reading at night to the kids.  We have come to find out that books are not very common but the kids LOVE hearing story after story.  The kids range from 4 years to 11 years.  We love the kids. We taught them the hand game where you cross your hands over each other and tap the table around the circle.  If you double tap then you reverse.  Fun game. The 5 year old asks us to play it every night. :)

My exciting school story.  Caning the kids that misbehave is a part of the Ghanaian culture and something that I have struggled with because of the difference in beliefs about discipline.  I have been invited to cane a child who was misbehaving but I just explained that in my country, we don't do that and gave other examples of discipline strategies.  I have implemented the removal of a child from the classroom for misbehaving, and hitting others in the class, which is also incredibly common.  The kids hate it because they happen to sit outside the classroom right in the sun.  Behavior has improved with those who have had to sit outside.  My teacher and the nun who helps in the classroom have both taken to this as well.  Today my teacher told the students that if they were going to misbehave they could sit outside and not participate in the activity. 

And! We used these color cards I made for the students to practice spelling their colors and they loved it! I am running out of time so I will explain that later.

<3 from Ghana!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

My class

Hello all!

Well, finally, the reason we are here. The schools! Very different. The first couple days we were here I realized what I was doing.  I realized that I was going to be teaching in a school system that I had never been taught in! I was really nervous. I didn't know what to expect. I was afraid of doing something the wrong way and failing student teaching!

But all has been well.  It is a very different experience.  We are teaching at Ancilla Primary and Junior High School.  It is a Catholic school.  The students range from 2 years old to grade 9.  The first day, the Headmistress took us around and introduced us to all of the classes.  Most of the classrooms look the same. The 2 and 3 year olds have some color in the room.  I am teaching the 5-year-olds and some days I go to the 4-year-olds to teach writing their letters.  The nursery wants me to teach in there too but I am trying to stay with the 4 and 5 years because that is more of the age group I am required to do.

I have 40 5-year-olds and 40 4-year-olds.  Yeah.  Big, big class.  It's a lot of names to remember. I find it difficult because some of the students have what I call "American sounding" names and others have Ghanaian sounding names.  Those are the names I am struggling with.  And I can't pronounce them the same either so even if I know the student's name, he or she might not even give me their attention because they don't know I am calling their name.  I am really trying.  Also, with names that are "American sounding"  they are not spelled the way I think of it being spelled.  But, we are getting their.  The students are patient with me and repeat their names for me multiple times.

So far I have done more teaching than I thought I would.  The students practice spelling and writing every day.  They have about an hour for each.  They also have math every day which they have for an hour and a half or so.  School starts at 7:15 with Assembly and classes start at 8:00.  For reading, the students have a few different textbooks that they read from.  One works more on word families and the other is just basic words the kids need to know how to read and spell.  For writing, they usually have a sentence they have to read, spell, and write.  Today they spelled their basic words for writing practice.  It is a lot of repeat and memorize.  It's difficult because the school and the students don't have many extra materials such as paper.  The students have their small notebooks but they do not write in it unless they have an assignment, so things like extra practice isn't done.  I made word family flash cards for them so that when they are done with their assignment they are not disrupting the other students who are still working.  Math is done with chips to add.  This was the first manipulative I saw in the classroom. They were to show their addition problems. We used these as well as their fingers to do the adding.  It worked really well. Of course, it will all be repetition and practice but for today, it went well.  Today I also read a story to the class.  We read “Rumble in the Jungle” and I had the kids make the noise of the animals.  Also a big hit. 
Due to lack of resources the appearance and types of activities and lessons that I am used to at schools in the States are not often seen.  The classroom has a few posters but otherwise there is not artwork or colorful posters on the walls.  The classroom is small so it is hard to do movement activities and centers.  The students sit two or three to a table and we are working on sharing and helping each other instead of distracting each other and poking each other.  With a large classroom, my classroom management skills are being tested every second.  The kids are funny though. My favorite is when they are given a sentence to copy in their book and a student will come up to me and say “Auntie, so and so is copying me!”  I tell them that they all have the same sentence so no one is copying anyone.  Auntie is our Miss.  I kind of like it.  

Time is running out. Until next time...