September 24, 2011
We sat in on grades 1, 2, and 3 this week. It was really interesting to see what classes are usually like and I think it also helps the students get used to us being around the school.
In some ways the classes are very similar to primary schools in America but there are not a lot of materials available so teachers have to be very creative. For example, the 1st graders were learning about the number zero so, to conserve paper, the teacher had a few students practice writing it on the board and drawing it in the air before using a sheet of paper. Also during math time, the teachers would use small items like bottle caps and rocks for each student to keep on their desk and use as counters. All of the teachers had posters around the room of new words, shapes, the food groups, and the days of the week like most American elementary schools. The difference is, these posters were all handwritten by the teachers.
Oliver and I also had library hour with almost every class this week. We went over things like fiction vs. non-fiction and read a few stories a loud. Its difficult for us to know what level their English is at (most of the books are in English). Many of the students are still too shy with us when we try to ask them questions. The 7th grade is a very small class and I think that helped them feel a bit freer to talk and their English was pretty good. I think they can read some of the easier chapter books in the library.
One problem Ive been running into while looking for books that the kids might be interested in is that most of the books were written for an American or British audience. Even in the childrens books, there are a lot of details about Western life that Im not sure will be understood here. Things like technology, slang, and pop culture references. Of course, that is great in terms of sharing cultural differences; its just a bit overwhelming in some of the books. I was looking at a book about a little girl starting school (which I thought would be appropriate because it is the beginning of the term) but it was all about how her friends went on these awesome vacations over the summer to sea world but she didnt and how shell miss her old class pet which was a hedgehog or something like that. And then she had to decide what to wear to school. It probably makes perfect sense to you living in America (unless youre one of those people that doesnt care what they wear on the first day of school!) but here a lot of those details might not translate.
On another note, Oliver has a tan for what I think is the first time in his life. Usually he just gets redder and redder the whole summer until it gets cold and we stay inside most of the day.
Rebecca is Currently Reading: The Help
Oliver is Currently Reading: Keynes and After
We are Currently Watching: 30 Rock