Monday, 14 April 2014

Computers

I remember last year when I started teaching computers at our school.  Not a single child knew how to turn on a laptop or properly use a mouse.  I remember going from laptop to laptop, flitting around the class constantly, showing how to do this or that.  It was painstaking!  I would always count down the minutes until computer classes were over so that I could just sit down!

But the perseverance has really paid off.  The first term of this year I introduced my sixth grade class to Microsoft Powerpoint.  At this time last year they were learning how to click an icon or move the mouse.  One year later they are writing, designing, and presenting powerpoints to the class.

Presenting to the class
I could not be more happy to see such growth and learning in the students in just one year!  I thank God that our students have the opportunity to take computer class (even if I don't always enjoy teaching it!).  It puts them far ahead of their peers attending our surrounding schools, most of which don't offer computer classes.



Now as I begrudgingly introduce laptops to the first graders this year, I remember that by the end of the year they'll know SO much more than they do now.  If I can just practise my patience and continue buzzing around the room to assist each child everything with pay off.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Fun with Food

I don't have a lot of materials to use when I teach science.  But I know that learning science is a lot easier when done in a hands-on way so I try my best to improvise.  In my grade 6 class I was teaching how food is processed and the textbook suggested making gelatin, rice, or other things that require a stove.  Lacking those items I decided to have my students prepare veggies for a salad.
Chopping carrots and grating cheese

It just so happened that the day we did this activity all of the girls were attending a choir function in town so it was just me and the guys.  I set up a table in the front of the class and acted as if we were on a cooking show, calling volunteers one by one to chop lettuce, slice carrots, and more!
Adding the cucumber
The boys really enjoyed helping out and enjoyed tasting their healthy snack even more!  Not every lesson goes so well or seems as engaging so I'm always really happy when things fall into place!

Monday, 7 April 2014

Mission Family

Right now in South Africa there are six LCMS missionaries.  We all know each other well and communicate on a regular basis.  But the LCMS has missionaries who are located all over our continent and the world.  Unfortunately we don't get to meet everyone who is serving, but this past week we were able to meet the other missionaries serving in Africa.

From South Africa, Ghana, Guinea, Ethiopia, and Kenya each of us missionaries met together for a few days of fellowship near Mombasa, Kenya.  It was great to finally meet people who I've been contacting via e-mail!

Even though many of us hadn't met before, we all clicked.  It seemed as if we'd known each other for a long time.  God has really blessed the Africa mission field with wonderful people- people who have served for three months up to those who have served for thirty years!
Some of the Africa Mission Team!
In our team we have teachers, short-term mission team coordinators, theological educators, communications specialists, and more!

I thank God that I was able to meet my wonderful coworkers and spend time getting to know each of them.  Please keep the Africa mission field in your prayers!

Friday, 21 March 2014

Human Rights Day

Living in another country means celebrating new holidays.  There weren't any St. Patty Day celebrations in my area this past week.  But today South Africa is celebrating a public holiday, Human Rights Day.

Today people of every race celebrate the rights that they have gained through struggle, hardship, and persistence.  Although not the reason for Human Rights Day, the 21st of March is tied to an event called the Sharpeville Massacre that happened in 1960.

In those days Africans were required to carry ID documents 24/7.  A community worked together to not carry their dompas as a peaceful protest against some of the apartheid regulations.  The police ended up killing 69 people and injuring many more.

If you'd like to read more about the Sharpeville Massacre check it out here: http://www.southafrica.info/about/history/sharpeville.htm#.UywEEPmSxqU

As someone who has never had to fight for or struggle for my own rights, I find it difficult to imagine what such a situation must feel like.  Unfortunately, as I sit in my cozy living room typing this blog post, I know that there are people around the world who are fighting for their rights in this very moment.  Even though I cannot personally do much to help those struggling against an oppressor, I can pray and you can join in prayer with me.


Saturday, 15 March 2014

Chess Outing

A few weeks ago I received an invitation to take my chess kids to a Blitz Tournament at a school in town.  I chose 9 of my players from last year to compete in the tournament.  After chapel on Friday we climbed in a taxi and went on our way.

This was the first formal competition I've taken my chess students to.  There were official rules, standard size pieces and boards, and time clocks.  All of this excitement made my kids quite nervous!

At the end the top three players were awarded cash prizes.  No one from our school placed, but I was still really proud of the effort and attitude my kids brought with them.  All of them lost at least one game and all of them won at least one game.

This year I have 25 students attending my chess club and for the first time I've got ladies playing as well!  I'm excited to expose my students to more chess opportunities in the area and I hope that it's a game they'll love to play for the rest of their lives.
My kids have never used time clocks before which made them really nervous

There were about 5 schools represented at the event.  Our students are wearing the blue and green uniforms.