April 17, 2016: Introducing "The School Trip"! (Chloe)

Monday 4th April: We arrived at school with lots of exciting news. Firstly, that the students will be getting fed at lunch time again; which seemed a relief to everyone present. We also gave the students the fantastic news that we shall be going on a school trip once a month. We feel this will have a big impact on the team spirit within the class, help to bring everyone together, and reward the students for all the hard work they are putting in. The students were incredibly excited, with everyone having suggestions of where they would like to go (Nungwi being the most popular...maybe as it’s the furthest point from Unguja Ukuu?!) We set the date for Sunday 17th April.
We've created a routine which is working well where Mondays are spent revising everything the students learnt from the week before. Chloe creates a fun revision print-out, we then we split the class into the 2 levels and the students go through the sheet, asking any questions along the way. This really helps us to see which students have grasped the new concepts and which still need a bit more help.
Tuesday 5th April: !noticed a lot of the students were getting confused between the verbs “to have” and “to be”. We often hear students say funny phrases such as “I am a big nose”! We had a very fun class drawing pictures on the blackboard which showed the difference between I am a telephone and I have a telephone, or she is a beautiful girl and she has a beautiful girl. The picture of I am a big nose definitely got the most laughs though! The rest of the week was spent on encouraging conversation around which food the students liked and learning food vocabulary. It was wonderful to see all the students fluently talking to one another about the food they did and didn’t like. We also played lots of interactive games, the most popular being food bingo!
Thursday 7th April: I've started teaching at ZL4LF 2 evenings a week, working with the advanced students. This week we watched a film called Africa United. The next day the students split into small groups and created a presentation based on one of the questions prepared for them. Below is a small selection of the topics discussed:

  • The film makers of Africa United are very clear about their intention to make a film about Africa that does not simply focus on the stereotypical views of Africa. Do you think they have succeeded? Do you think the film shows a true representation of life in Africa?
  • The characters in the story refer to themselves as a team. What does a team mean to you? Talk about times you have felt part of a team and times you have felt alone. Do you think family has to be through blood ties or can it be something else? Discuss this and how this sense of team and family relates to your own lives.

I was very impressed by the student’s work and the interesting things they had to say.

Monday 11th April: Lunch is back at Unguja Ukuu! It was instantly obvious to see the difference in concentration levels and energy now the students are having lunch after their full day at school and before they begin the English lessons. No more yawning or tired eyes... it really is great to see the change.
After revising last week’s lessons, this week we've been concentrating on the Present Simple. We're excited as this means students should now have a basic grasp on articles, nouns, adjectives and verbs! We alternated between splitting the class and having all the students together. We taught the more advanced students about irregular verbs, with the plan that they will then spend 1hr during the school trip teaching the beginner students 1-on-1. I want to encourage the idea of helping one another, and not just telling each other the answer, but through explaining how to get there.
With lots of help from local film makers, I managed to find what I need to edit the film I shot last month with the students at ZL4LF. I'm busy editing and hopefully it will be finished by next weekend.
Thursday 14th April: Philip came to teach the first of the computer lessons to the teachers at Unguja Ukuu. They were very happy to learn how to use word and the printer, and will continue familiarising themselves with Microsoft programs in the weeks to come. Once Philip had finished with the teachers he joined the advanced class that Chloe was teaching and the students played a team game in which they had to ask him questions using the present simple. One point for a yes response, zero points for a no!
It was decided that the Zanzibar Rotary Club will visit the school next Thursday for the official hand over of the Kio kits. Philip is busy uploading as much material as possible before then.
Friday 15th April: I've started a diary writing project with the students at ZL4LF. This week we made our own diaries and talked about confidentiality. Everyone is to write 2 pages a day. Next week we will work on turning personal content from the diaries into poems we are happy to share.
Saturday 16th April: Gasica and I met to prepare a powerpoint presentation for a VSO careers fair for Zanzibar youth happening at the end of this month. It was great to hear Gasica’s story again and to create a presentation he feels happy and confident about delivering.
Sunday 17th April: The school trip has been cancelled due to rain! It rained so heavily through the night, and has continued all morning so far that the roads are blocked we can’t get to Fuoni or Unguja Ukuu! It is a shame, and although Gasica is receiving lots of disappointed phone calls, the students are used to this happening here and we will make sure we go another time soon.
Kiokit Update from Philip: The KioKit is a multi-tablet system developed to assist learning in education, specifically for Africa. A lot of the software that came with the system was directed at general education of secondary students and was not that compatible for teaching beginner’s English as a second language. My work to date has been to find a way to upload new content to the kits and I am now busy sourcing new, suitable material.
The process has been quite complicated but the good news is that after much searching on the internet and considerable work on the computer there are now a number of flash card sets and early learner reading books available for immediate use by the students. The reading books are presented in full colour and can be read at the individual’s own pace of comprehension. Over the next 6 weeks I'll endeavour to create as much content as possible.
It is expected that observation of the students using the device will provide valuable feedback on the usage and potential of the Kiokit within the classroom. The adventure continues!