Showing posts with label LVLC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label LVLC. Show all posts

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Happy (Much-Belated) 100th Day of School!!!

(This has sat in my "to-post" box for awhile now... I think we're on the 120th day of school now!  But with all the great pictures, I couldn't pass up posting about this fabulous, exciting, exhaustingly-insane day!  Happy reading!)

Yes, I know for most Americans, last Thursday (February 14) was all about Valentine’s Day.  But here in Musoma, we focused on something a bit different.

Happy 100th day of school!

Up till now, I've always hung out and been surrounded with teachers.  So the concept of 100th day was absolutely expected and normal.  But here in Musoma, that's not the case.  The fun thing about living and working with so many non-teachers here in Musoma is that everyone I’ve mentioned it to has said, “What?  You actually celebrate that?”

And the answer is yes, yes we do.  In kindergarten and first grade classes across the United States (I don't know about the rest of the world...), teachers choose this day to culminate a study in place value, digits, tally marks, stickers on a chart, and every other imaginable way of representing the number of days of school we’ve completed throughout the year.  And besides, in the snowy depths of winter, it’s a good time of have something to celebrate, right?

Our day came a bit later than the usual here in Musoma, partly because the snow forgot to come ;P, or maybe it was because the schedule looks a wee bit different here.  It was also an interesting count… up? to the 100th day as half my class only started coming after Christmas.  So every morning, during morning routine, our discussion went a bit like this. 

“What’s the date today?”
“What’s the weather like?”
“How many days of school have we had SINCE ALEX, our lone kindergartner, began school in AUGUST?”
                                                                         And so went our routine.

Besides recognizing for the first time that the hundredth day of school is a big deal, the second question I’ve been asked a lot recently is, “What exactly do you DO on the 100th Day of School Celebration?”

Well, we count to 100.  A lot.  A lot a lot.  Till the teacher’s head hurts.
Our To-Do Charts for the day looked a bit like this :)

We played games, like “Roll to 100” and “Tally 100” with dice and a hundreds chart.

We estimated, then tested, how many times we could … jump up and down, sit down and stand up, say the ABCs, blink, and several other random activities in 100 seconds.  (Did I mention counting to 100 until the teacher's head hurts?)
Standing Up and Sitting Down
We made super-cool 100 glasses, with hearts (had to do SOMETHING to recognize the 14th, right?)
My kindergarten, first, and second graders

We wrote 100 words, then read them... made stacks of 100 unifix cubes... imagined ourselves at 100 years old... and even made a few valentines during break times.
So THIS is what 100 looks like?  Good to know!! :)

And then, we all went home and fell asleep.  Or at least I did.  The kids were pretty exhausted from all that jumping around, standing-up and sitting-down, and doing 100 of everything too, so maybe this time it wasn't just me. :)

Happy 100th Day!!!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Can We Keep It???

I’m sure that in homes around the world, this is an anticipated yet dreaded question of every parent, ever.  Somehow, as a teacher, I just didn’t see it coming.  But when I moved to Tanzania, all bets were off.  Give kids a playground with wildlife galore, and you just don’t know what they’re going to find!

Here are a few of the “Can we keep its?” I’ve had over the past 3 years.
Aren't I just so CUTE??  Well, yes, and whiny... 
But look, I promise I'll stay right here in this basket.  For 2 whole seconds... :)
This was Sam.  He lived in a box.  In my classroom.  Until the kids who found him forgot him on a hot muggy Dar Friday afternoon when they left for the weekend.  Not knowing what else to do, I brought him (hypothetical "him" of course) home and let him live in my shower for the weekend.  When he started biting (he was old and cross) we promptly let him go - we had just finished a set of rabies shots and didn't feel like starting over!
a puppy (sorry, no picture)

5 kittens (again, no picture... they were hidden away.  Mama escaped from the horde of primary HOPAC kiddos who rampaged her hiding spot during break time with excited shouting...)

hedgehog #2 (quickly released before picture-taking (and forgetfulness) could commence, for it's own good… see above)

geckos were never a question – they are just permanent, well-welcomed residents of the classroom, and require no work other than avoiding their leftover droppings from the night before.
George.  Seeing as we couldn't get him to eat, we were glad when he decided to take a break from the classroom.  We had a lot of fun with him though, and even got to see him molt!  And he was my kind of pet... replace his little leafy branch in a plastic bottle every day and we were done!
chameleon #2 (went home with a kiddo)

And last but not least... Hedgie! 
Seeing the kids all sitting quietly like this during break? 
I knew SOMETHING was up!

I’ve been a bit more willing to take on pets here in Musoma (read: for a week at MOST!) because:
1) the pets the kids find generally aren’t going to make me stuffed up.
2) they are VERY low maintenance.
3) I can just as easily release them and they’ll be fine.
4) they are HEDGEHOGS and CHAMELEONS - if they run away, oh well!?
5) these are all pets that the families here already have, so I have experienced people to turn to for help and directions – and weekend housesitters.
6) Did I mention low maintenance, and hypoallergenic?

Then again, after we let Hedgie go on Tuesday, I decided it might just be time for a pet break at school - and home.  Looking forward to a bit less craziness in the weeks to come... (one can always hope, right?!)

And because I'm a teacher, this is the song that goes through my head every time I hear, "Please, Miss Crystal, can we keep it!?"

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Building Fun

This week in Social Studies we were studying houses and ways of living around the world.  In a place where most kids have mostly only visited their “home countries” on furlough but know a lot about their “home” culture through their parents, I was curious to see what would happen.   So after reading about houses throughout history in America and houses around the world, I gave the kids card stock, toilet paper rolls, glue, and scissors, and said, “Make a house!”  Here’s what they came up with.

Evidently, the activity was a success! :)

I told them they couldn’t take these home quite yet as I had another plan.  So today I moved all their “houses" into an open area, gave them paper and crayons, and told them to make a neighborhood.  I was curious to see what came out, since I had to explain the concept of a neighborhood to most of them in the first place.  But as I watched, I was amused, amazed, and thoroughly enjoyed some of the statements that came out of mouths during the process!

  • The largest house became the church.  “The biggest building has to be the church.  Because God is the biggest so the church has to be that way too.  And in the top of my church there’s a little ground where the pastor can go to pray after church.” (-J)
  • “We don’t want anyone to be late for church!  The church is in the middle of the neighborhood because – if the church was on the side, not every road could go to the church.  And then not everyone could GO to church.  And THAT would be a disaster!” (-L)
  • The smallest house (belonging to the lone boy in the class) promptly became a spaceship.  Because EVERY neighborhood needs a spaceship, especially as a shortcut to church.  “The spaceship has to be connected to the church!  This road is just for the spaceships so it can zoom along.” (-L)
  • Another house became a store.  “There’s going to be a little park where the babies can play in the grass.  And the mom’s will bring them toys.  And they’ll buy toys in my store.  And there will be markers there too, but those will be for the big kids.” (-M)
  • The kids have picked up a few things from life in the Land of Tanz for sure.  “Every kind of road needs a roundabout.” (-L)
  • “Wait!  There has to be a restaurant!”  “I have an idea!  As people are on their way to the church and they get hungry, you can give them food from a little restaurant to carry out on trays to people so they can get food.”  The spaceship owner wasn’t entirely keen on this idea since he insisted the ride to church would only take a minute… (-L&J)
  • “Who wants to help me build a swimming pool?”  “Yes!  There HAS to be a swimming pool SOMEWHERE!”  (These kids have their priorities straight!  There ended up being a baby swimming pool AND a big kid swimming pool) :)  (-M&J)
And with that?  Our Aussie-American-Dutch-Kiwi-Tanzanian-Intergalactic? neighborhood was born! :)

From L to R: The pastor's house; the spaceship; a regular house; the church; another regular house (gotta have a few of those!); the store; the baby pool and park; the older kid pool and park.