On November 15, 2012 I taught a poetry lesson to a class of fourth grade students. I chose to teach poetry because my partnership teacher told me the students had not been exposed to poetry all year. I began the lesson with the question "What is poetry?" None of the students attempted to answer my question. I shared the definition of poetry with the students. After learning that the students were not familiar with poetry, I decided to begin with Haiku poetry. I informed students of the characteristics of an Haiku poem. Students were quick to participate in using their fingers to show "5,7,5". I shared a Haiku poem that I wrote about an afternoon at Summerstrand in Port Elizabeth. Sharing poems that the students can relate to helped them maintain their focus.
I decided to end my lesson with reading a book of silly poems. I was able to integrate rhythm in my reading. The students quickly pitched in by clapping their hands and beating their desk. I was pleased to see the students improvising; using their desks as drums. I was moved to see the look of enjoyment on all of the students' faces.
I have found that music and dance are the best tools to use in keeping students engaged at Emfundweni. The students learn best when they have an active role in the lesson.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Lunch at Emfundweni Primary is rather different than American school lunches. At Emfundweni, the students are served a fresh hot lunch which comes from their very own garden. The lunch at Emfundweni is far more healthier than the preservative packed processed lunch in American schools. Community volunteers come out early each morning to prepare the fresh lunch for the students. Most of the volunteers are parents of students who attend Emfundweni. The meals mainly consist of fresh vegetables, porridge, and fish. Fish is the only meat that is served on a consistent basis. This photograph depicts a typical lunch served at Emfundweni.
Sunday, November 11, 2012
Touring the township gave me a better sense of the challenges the students face at Emfundweni Primary. Banks Gwaxula, Senior Advisory and Founder of Jubuntu Education Fund, accompanied us on the tour. I was impressed with the assistance Jubuntu provides to the township. They have a structured day care facility which was designed with the aid of master teachers from the United States. The centers were very similar to the ones at For Kids Only. We were unable to take photos of the children in the day care. Jubuntu also provides medical treatment to those who qualify for it. TB and HIV are just two of the medical issues in South Africa.