November 26, 2012
I’m not used to the school year ending in November but here it is. I’ve been getting ready for school break for a while now. I just finished up my last few library classes. I’m spending this week handing back assignments and projects that the students did. I’m also in charge of running assembly this week—calling on classes to lead songs, leading the morning prayer, saying good morning (to which the kids say “good morning teacher, good morning brothers and sisters, we brothers and sisters, we meet in peace” and the principal always responds with the same pun “I am glad we are meeting in peace, and not in pieces), and providing time for announcements is the standard fare.
I’m trying something new in assembly this week. Each class is preparing a poem to perform during assembly. The 6th graders went today and did a pretty good job, that is until they finished, when, instead of soaking up the applause, they looked up at the rest of the school, like shocked deer and all dashed off the platform as if they couldn’t believe the white person had done something as atrocious as ask them to read a poem aloud.
And so, the school year is winding down. I’m excited that I was able to run the school library for a full academic year. I learned a lot about working with children and keeping a library of 4,000+ books organized.
This next school year (starting at the end of January) I plan on backing off from the library; instead of taking the front role, I want to work more with individual teachers to get them to take some of the responsibilities and to give me time to work on a few other things I’d like to do before I go home.
It’s been a busy, great, confusing, and fulfilling year for me. I’ve been able to see individual students grow in their love for reading (which I am happy to foster), become more confident participating during classes, and even ask questions, something that was shunned for being an odd Western idea when I first got here.
But I’m done! I can’t believe it, but I did it. And the students did it too. Here’s another list of library projects that they’ve really enjoyed during this last term:
Grade 1: The students got to make a small book about themselves, by drawing a self portrait, a picture of their home and family, etc. Some of the “self portraits” kind of look like me, but overall the kids liked being able to draw and illustrate their lives.
Grade 2: We read a book about the 5 senses and played a game for each sense. They kids got to do activities like using their taste buds to determine if a mystery food was salt, sugar, or flour. The big hit by far though was the blindfold game where students pulled an item out of a bag and had to guess what it was just by feeling it. When I asked for volunteers, there was a near stampede.
Grade 3: We worked on character, plot, and setting all year so grade 3 finished by writing their own books. Some of my favorites were “Ms. Chicken,” where each page used a different preposition to describe where Ms. Chicken was in relation to her house, “The School Party,” where the King comes and buys candy for all the children, and “Cow can Jump” which is pretty self explanatory.
Grade 4: They all choose an animal and made a poster of the animal including a drawing and facts around the sides. I really liked the drawing of ducks and the fact about how the female ducks watch the male ducks swimming.
Grade 5: We did fully fledged book reports. I took no excuses and no prisoners here. I made so many kids rewrite and stay after school, I’m surprised the whole class wasn’t absent on library days. But they did it! And what’s more, these kids can identify authors, talk about plot, and are well on their way to being little English majors like me.
Grade 6: We did small reading groups of 3 or 4 students with titles like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Captain Underpants, Horrid Henry, and a few Jacqueline Wilson books. They did activities each week in their groups, but the last week of library, the students got to do something fun from each book together. Fairy Wand making to go with Ruby the Red Fairy and making club pins to go along with the Secret Seven were among the highlights.
Grade 7: They did research projects, each student writing on a different country. We took notes, typed rough drafts, when through an editing process, and wrote a few lines comparing the country to Swaziland. It was a great way to round off their primary school experience.
Rebecca is Currently Reading: Nothing to Envy
We are Currently Watching: Boardwalk Empire, Season 1