I was able to conduct a math workshop with several math teachers from a rural primary school. These teachers teach grades 4 – 7 math and had LOTS of questions. They have a lot of the same challenges that we have in US schools (keeping the students interested, getting the quiet kid in the back of the room engaged, helping students retain the information, etc). But they also have challenges that we don’t have in the US–50 students per room, no Internet access or computer of any kind, very limited access to a photocopier. I showed them several strategies that I’ve used in my classroom or have seen in other classrooms–creating colorful study guides and using activities that get the students out of their seats while still challenging them with math problems. They also shared that their #1 issue is getting the kids to be able to do mental math, so I found a resource online that I was able to print out for them that provided a whole year’s worth of problems (6-8 quick problems per day) that they can do at the start of each day to get the kids practicing quick mental math. They were super excited!
I also gave each teacher a goodie bag that included some solar classroom calculators, rulers, pencils, erasers, scissors, tape and stickers (the stickers were the biggest hit by far!!) Note for next year….bring lots of stickers!!
The teachers and the principal were very enthusiastic about the workshop and have invited me back next year to do it again! 🙂 Doing work in Africa is all about building relationships. This was the start of a very good relationship!