|playing soccer in the courtyard|
While I was in Bali for the IBBY conference, I also had the opportunity to visit a small school-- always an eye-opening experience. This was a school that served a population of some 40 children, most of them with special needs (learning disabilities, cerebral palsy, autism, etc.). The headmaster picked me up and drove me out and I toured the tiny building with its half dozen small un-airconditioned rooms with small homemade wooden chairs and tables.
|moms hanging out with toddlers|
|the school library and library volunteer|
Most of my time was spent in a small classroom with the oldest kids-- about a dozen-- working alongside their regular teacher-- she told me she was a former hotel worker whose English was good, so she volunteered to help out at the school. She was a natural and had a real knack in taking every moment and making it a language learning lesson.
|practicing English words|
|a boy with autism adept on his notebook computer|
I brought a pile of poetry books to share (and donate) and a copy of The Poetry Friday Anthology (or course). Although their knowledge of English was extremely limited, I did share the first stanzas of several poems-- as their teacher helped translate each key word. I shared:
(K-1) "Happy Song for the First Day of School" by Patricia Hubbell
(K-14) "Mrs. Betty" by Rebecca Kai Dotlich
It's Mrs. Betty!
She brought us a pot
(One bright little girl recognized the "knock, knock" formula for jokes and pointed that out to me!)
(K-27) "Animal Talk" by Charles Ghigna
(They loved making the animal noises for this poem!)
Then we sang a variety of songs in English that were familiar to them and I joined right in. Plus, I chatted at length with the kids, answering questions and asking them questions.
|this same boy thought of using his computer to take our photo while the teacher used my camera|
|her English was amazing!|
|a classroom for the younger children|
P.S. Two days later I came down with a bad cold-- just a little sampling of what teachers face every day in working with children! I remember getting sick at the beginning of every school year when I was a classroom teacher, as I built up my immunities for the year. Looks like that's another universal part of teaching!