We put our heads together to determine the best colours for the Sun.
“It’s hot you will burn up.” He teases as he drops the hot red ball.
“Now this circle is blue and cool to touch.” He holds the ball over his head. “There’s alot of water around Africa.”
“Is it floating?”
“Certainly not.” He moves on with his explanation. “And then this grey circle is the moon. We only have one but some planets have so many.”
“How old did you say you were?”
“I’m 8 on the earth, but I’m 34 on Mercury.” There it is again that teasing smile that says I know stuff.
We have completed our prototype. As he spins the moon around the earth he tells me, “the moon completes one orbit in just under 28 days.”
“Okay, how long does it take the earth to go around the sun?”
I mouth – 3 hundred
I hold up 6 fingers
“Close. How long is one year?”
“I know. It’s 365 days.”
“Yes.” I also know that he is teaching me how to make these science lessons come alive.
So now my friend Micah has the facts as he orbits around our classroom/ workroom.
“You sure you aren’t really 34?”
He laughs and runs off with legs that didn’t work several months ago.
“Did I mention you hands are going to be famous!!!” I call out from the porch.
“Yes, I know.” He calls over his shoulder.
I can’t smile enough at the joy that radiates as children learn and thrive in East Africa.
Red dirt road to the village
river claims it eve’s storm
barely make it home
no light for feet or tires
prayer alone to guide us
if I wax poetic
I can look over my back
road over- run with soldiers
entire families gone
children walk through blood
red stain never removed
I can look forward
hope in future’s eyes
children studying hard
families sacrifice for school funds
Uganda’s tomorrow on the horizon
needing prayer to guide her
Today is the day that A to Zers will write about the letter “R.” Poetry allows for reflection. I hope as you read about the lives of determined children in Uganda that you will understand a bit more about the Acholi tribe that can trace themselves back to Noah.
Jump for Joy
one class under a mango tree
one hundred children, sheep and dogs
puppets and white board magic
children eager to learn
will I ever speak your language?
the child takes my hand
“we already do”
Sometimes we teach under trees other times in a building or porch. Children are always attentive and willing to learn. They never take education for granted and know it is a key to a better future. The older children are willing and able helpers!!
I have a friend his name is Madison. He is a seven year old boy. He has blond hair and blue eyes. Madison loves to play with Legos. He sleeps in a loft bed and has a bat cave under his bed. When he finishes breakfast on time, Madison gets to watch cartoons before school. Madison likes pizza; he doesn’t really like green beans, but he eats them because his daddy asks him to. Madison likes school. He can do complex math problems in his head; learning facts comes easily to Madison. Madison has one friend at school- that’s all he needs. He doesn’t care what people think when he has an accident, but all the children make fun of him.
Madison’s mom and dad won’t tell the school that he has a special need because they have heard from other parents that he will be treated differently by the children and the teachers. He will be called “dummy and weirdo.” He will always be singled out as different. How is Madison different from your seven year old? Your child doesn’t like Legos and loves green beans? Maybe your seven year old can’t do math facts in his or her head.
Our children are all different. My boy has brown hair and is tall. My girl can’t do math facts in her head. Madison should not be singled out because he has a disability. If the school and the children find out about Madison, they will put an invisible placard around his neck. The placard should read – “Though I may not be the most social human being, I will grow up and probably be an Astrophysicist or create computer programs that you can’t even fathom.” Instead the placard will read “I am different. It may not be safe for your child to play with me. Society likes to place labels on people like me.”
I don’t usually merge my literary stuff with my editorializing but this one is too good to pass up. This is a reprint of an article I wrote. Satirical in nature but too true.
I’m inspired by a conversation I recently had with a former dean of a university. He told me that children decide if they are college bound in the fourth grade. Interestingly enough, that is the age I decided to go into health care and I started studying hard to become a straight “A” student.
How do we inspire this generation to learn when all they are challenged to do is learn to take tests? We are doing a fine job in teaching children through high school how to fill in bubbles. Is that a life skill now?
I have two children who are incredibly intelligent. The way they addressed the bubble page was like a game. “How can I make my bubble sequence create a pattern or look like I was trying to answer intelligently?” They both helped keep the school’s averages up by filling in the bubble in a pretty pattern. Fortunately,my children were challenged at home to take in life, to read, to learn.
What happens to those children who have no learning standard at home from no fault of their own? There aren’t enough teachers to go around. I guess the option is to outsource our entire country to other countries. Other countries have stayed focussed with education. They have taught children to fight their way up the ladder and to achieve success by applying knowledge not mediocrity. What are we waiting for???