Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What a Wonderful World

Bakpa Avedo classrooms are bulging at the seams with school children who have heard the news about the visiting American teachers.  More and more eager and beautiful faces greet us each day.  In several classrooms desks built for two children side-by-side hold four young learners.   
The art education provided for the school children has been amazingly creative and sensitive to both local culture and resources.  For example, a project that uses a tremendous amount of water would not be possible, as it would require drinking water from the local pond that is soon to dry up during this dry season.   One of the projects today was to create a colorful banner made of large pieces of Ghanaian fabrics for each classroom.  De-Colorant was used to imprint each child’s handprint on individual class banners, a signifier of the classroom communities our BSC students have become part of during the past ten days.
In lower-grade classrooms, the children are making individual copies of favorite books and songs.  This project allows children to keep their very own copy of the book and re-read it as often as they like.  Many children chose to skip break and lunch today to finish these songbooks and familiar texts.   

Fourth and fifth-grade classrooms completing a weather unit have created a winter wonderland in Africa by hanging paper snowflakes in the rooms and creating a greater-than-life-size snowman with cardboard, chalk, glitter, and duct tape.   In the upper grades, children experimented with force and friction by making hand-held zip-lines.
Our students have spent time in the classroom this week preparing the school children for our departure tomorrow.  The children have asked many questions about the United States and we have done our best to answer these questions.  They have asked our students questions like, “Do you have your own car or must you share with your family?”, “Why must women have long hair?”, and “How do you become president in the USA?”   The dialogue between our students and these children has been rich.
In the summer hut, a breezy gazebo with a thatched roof, the Bakpa Avedo teachers attended a short in-service.  The headmaster and teachers were interested and most grateful for the work we have done with their children.  The curriculum, which will remain here for their use, was intricately described.  The teachers were so engaged we led them in a few mini lessons. All joined in when Dr. Jacobs sang  the songbook, What a Wonderful World.  It was quite a magical afternoon.
Kristin, Helen Amekor, Amelia and Louanne
Sporting Ghanaian dresses made by Mrs. Amekor
Tomorrow is our last day at the school.  At a short gathering of the community and school participants, classes will present songs, dances, readings, experiments and speeches so the children can show off all their hard work.  Afterward, the community will be invited into the classrooms to meet our students and learn more about what we have taught and learned at Bakpa Avedo Basic School. 

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