March has been our first full month of this year, and a lot has been going on!
Hand Wash Demonstration
A local health worker came to give a demonstration on the proper way to wash our hands. We are so thankful to her and our local Panchyat (local government official) for taking the time to come to our school, explain the importance of washing our hands, and give us a wonderful demonstration on how to properly wash our hands. We now have a line of students, everyday at lunch time, waiting to use the soap and water before they eat their lunch! Yay for clean hands!
Lots of reading!
Many of our classes have finished up their first reading units of the year. Returning students are used to reading books and talking about the stories everyday, but students new to our school often find it different and surprising. Many of our new students this year had never picked up a story book to read on their before. Our first steps are usually to simply teach them how to choose a book that’s good for them and what to do with it once its in their hands. This is both difficult and exciting work!
Lots of Writing!
Many of our classes have finished up their first writing units, as well. As with reading, writing can seem very strange to students new to our school. In other schools, most students are never given the chance to do their own writing until at least Class 5 or 6. Even at that point, their writing in school is generally limited to reading text books and answering questions rather than composing their own stories or reports. In our school, the students learn to draw and write their own stories and informational pieces from the earliest grades. Once students become familiar with the process, it typically becomes one of their favorite subjects. They love having the chance to tell their own stories on paper. We often hear moans throughout the class when the bell rings for break or games at the end of writing class.
Ken and Diana Lilly (father and mother of Rebecca Sherpa) have been visiting for the past week. They have been helping out in many of the classes, working with some of our struggling students, teaching subjects, and having fun hanging out with the kids. The students, who know them as Ken Sir and Diana Ma’am, are having a blast working with them. It’s always a treat for us to have them visit our school, and we will all be sad when they leave this week.
As soon as Karma Bhutia, a Class 5 student, saw Diana Ma’am he ran up to her and asked, “Did you bring any books? Chapter books?” Of course she did. Ken Sir and Diana Ma’am brought over 300 books, lots of bins to keep books in, a variety of school supplies, instructional materials, and a television (we will be using this to watch movies and display student presentations)! These items were all donated by friends and family members from the US. We are so grateful for their contributions to our school, and we are excited to have all of these wonderful supplies!
As well as working with the students, Diana Ma’am has also graciously given her time and expertise to do two days of professional development for the teachers. Traditionally, the teaching style of teachers in our area is quite different from that of teachers in the US. Lillyfield teachers don’t have experience using many tools or activities for teaching. Diana Ma’am taught us about the different learning styles of students and then demonstrated a variety of activities, games, graphic organizers, and teaching strategies that they could use to help reach all students. It was a eye-opening experience and a ton of fun!