Saturday, November 7, 2009

Three Bears

Just a small tidbit about Holy Cross today. Some of the kids finished their projects early today, so they went outside where Drew was helping people take their pictures for their projects. I was inside helping someone save their project to a flash drive when Anelisa comes in yelling "Three Bears." I had NO idea what she was talking about and just went back to saving the projects. A minute later I went outside and about 5 kids are acting out the 3 bears and video taping themselves on the XO, I was pretty amaze and excited to see that...

Newspapers and "How To" Projects

At Holy Cross we have been busy trying to create projects that incorporate different aspects of the XO. Two weeks ago we did a "How To" Project. We broke the kids into groups and they had to choose something that they wanted to teach the rest of the group how to do. All that we told them was that they would pick a topic, tell us how to do it (including the steps, ingredients needed (if any), the rules (if any), etc), that they needed to type the directions in write and that they had to include at least 3 pictures with their project. We had 4 teams, and the topics were "How to play Soccer", "How to play Rugby", "How to make Tea" and "How to make Coffee." The projects ended up taking two days to complete because everyone wanted to include many pictures and we had to take time for each group to present to the rest. It was very sucessful. The Rugby group worked using two computers, one person was typing while the other looked up information about Rugby on the wiki (we did not even hint that they should do this, it is so nice to see them using different aspects of the XO all on their own). Since the how to make tea/coffee projects were a bit easier to explain, we actually tried to do them step by step to see if it worked (this was a fun way to show that the steps were not complete enough or that a step was out of order).

The next week we made a newspaper. For the first half of the session we talked about different aspects of a newspaper and what each section in a paper is responsible for. Then the kids decided on a name for the newspaper (After School Program News) and each student picked a section (we had weather, sports, news events, opinion, poems, and adverts) and then had to write the section and incorporate a photo. In this group of students we have different age groups, so the younger ones did the weather, opinion and sports section and the older ones covered news, poems and adverts. Two students even put a caption under their photo to explain how it related to the article. They were very excited about this project and even showed their teachers the next week because they were so proud of it!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Juriehien's Day

Thursday was a great day. Many of the children take part in karate lessons on Thursday's, so today I worked with 3 of the older boys (they're around 15/16 yrs old).

Since there was only 3 of them (I usually work with about 10-15 at a time), I thought it was a great opportunity to try a new activity, that involved computer basics (such as: dragging and right-clicking) and math (length and angles). The activity is called Etoys.

Reading the instructions, the boys were at first hesitant because the steps were a lot more challenging than they were used to. I made a point to tell them that it was okay to go slow and we would go step by step, making sure they didn't feel discouraged (because I've learned that as soon as the kids are discouraged they want to give up). When each boy completed the first step of "finding the key and dragging it to the keyhole in the castle," I could see their eyes widen and their smiles grow as they realized that they in fact could do the challenging activity.

The game went on and eventually they were advancing by themselves, telling me to shush and let them do it themselves! It was a great moment when Juriehien was the first to "drive the car to the goal" and shout my name to come running over to show me his achievement. I gave Juriehien a big high-five. I finally began to see confidence in his eyes and the smile on his face showed a "wow I can do this" expression.

Juriehien is a boy who was a bit slower with learning the activities on the laptops, and I have recently begun to notice his frustration and lack of confidence, seeing some of his peers improve drastically, showing little trouble. However, today was Juriehien's day as his two older friends looked over his shoulder, asking him questions on how to work the activity, giving him "props" for what he had done. I was so happy and proud of Juriehien.

Unfortunately in many of the schools in the township, motivation and positive reinforcement is scarce. It is days like this Thursday, that these kids, kids like Juriehien, need to push them to work hard and that they are not "stupid" or incapable of a better future. The intelligence is there, it's just buried; and it's resources like the XO laptop that will help these children realize their talents and bring alive the self-confidence and motivation needed for a brighter future.