Tuesday, September 25, 2012

School Days

Getting ready for Foundations Academy to start up has consumed all of my time and energy. Our new school year started on Monday, September 17. We have been busy hiring new teachers, training teachers, testing and registering new students, buying tables, chairs and books, etc.

Our little school has grown tremendously this year. We still have a focus on educating orphans, but community children also attend the school.

For the first two weeks, our teachers are only teaching Math and English. We have a strong focus on mastering the basics of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Some of our students from the past years have mastered these skills, but our new students need to learn these foundational skills so they can proceed with their math lessons.

In English class we are working on writing complete sentences with correct punctuation. A lot of students tend to write run-on sentences. We are also working on correct pronunciation, for example, making the -th sound. Students also practice reading aloud because many of them drop or add an 's' in various places.

We use a lot of games to teach math and logic skills. Prior to this year, I had not consciously realized how foundational games can be in building up math skills. The other day I taught a group of 10th graders (SS1) how to play Mexican Train dominoes. As we played, I literally saw one girl come to life in math class. Math has been such a struggle for her that she usually just 'turns off' during math class. I could see that it was a struggle for her to understand the patterns of the dominoes (because she has never been trained to see patterns) but with a little effort, she gradually began to understand.

Here's a little flashcard competition. Christy and Felicia really get into it!
The 3rd grade did skip counting as they jumped rope. 2-4-6-8-10-12-etc, 3-6-9-12-15-18-21-24, etc.
And here are our faithful math drill books. I really love these books which were developed locally by a missionary. I will have to devote another blog to writing about these wonderful tools for teaching math.

 And more math drill workouts...

Drills and games. That's how we're learning math. In my home culture, we take playing games for granted, but here most children have never been exposed to board games. Every day after school, the students stampede into the library to play games and read books. It's a nice problem to have.