Friday, January 29, 2010

Photo of The Market

Hello Everyone - This is Sandy - Maddy Sent me some photos in a format that she could e-mail - it has not worked for her to upload on the blog with their internet there - I thought everyone would like to see the Market (on Market Day) Very busy!!!


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Experiencing Wa Outside of the School Walls

On Monday I was teaching my P4 class. We were learning about money. Here in Ghana they have the Cedi which is the bill and pesawas which are the coins. Each coin and bill is a different size which helps the visually impaired people distinguish between all of them (not like American bills).

I was asked the student what they normally get at the market. No one said anything. I asked what are some things you can find at the market. They said a few things but they were very hesitant. Then I asked the students to raise their hands if they had been to the market. Out of 12 students 1 raised his hand. One student had been outside of the school walls. One student had experienced how to walk through the streets of a market. One student experienced what it was like to buy food, to squeeze around people, to be free.

Well that was enough for me.

Right after the class I went to the Headmaster and asked if we could take a field trip to the market or even just to a little shop by the school. After a little explanation, he agreed it would be a good idea but I would first have to go and talk to the classroom (homeroom) teacher. I went to find her; now I knew it would take a little convincing to have her allow us to leave the school. I used my resources and, oh it just so happened that I was talking to a very energetic teacher while the classroom teacher walked by. I asked her and the energetic teacher thought it was a great idea and now the classroom teacher could not turn down the offer. But now I had to go and find a house mother to come with me. Due to the language barrier, it is wise to have a Ghanaian with you, especially when you have a group of visually impaired students. After finding a house mother to come with me I then had to go back to the headmaster and once again ask permission. Yes! The Headmaster encouraged me to find a shop and ask the owner permission to bring the students.

That night Anna and I went out looking for a cool place to bring my students. A wood shop. Ama was the owner’s name. I greeted him and explained who I was and what I was doing. I asked him if it would be ok if I brought my students here tomorrow to ask him question about what he does. He seemed ok with it and said he would be there tomorrow.

Ok the day has come and I am so excited. 6 at a time so I took two different groups. As we walked to the gate we thought of questions to ask Ama at the wood shop. They thought of great questions; what does he make, what materials he uses, how much is cost, what problems he has run into.

The student with small small (or a little) sight hold arms with the totally blind students as we walked through the streets. Good thing they have bright yellow shirts on; all the motos can see the kids.

It was awesome. They asked the questions and got great answers. Ama even allowed my students to use different tools. They sanded the wood four different ways and some student even got to use the saw.

On the walk back they were all smiles. It was a great experience. Once we were all in the classroom together they asked if we can do this again some day. I told them I sure hope so and will try my hardest to get permission.

Sure this is not the math curriculum but this is life. We talked about how much the products cost. It depends on three things Ama said; materials, hours, energy and profit. See really work math; it’s great.

*Anna has strep throat so if you can keep her in your prayer that would be great.
The school has paid for internet but due to the relaxed culture we may not get it until next week but once we do hopefully I can update more often. Thanks for following and for all the comments!

*As for the time question. I am 6hrs ahead of Chicago time. So if it is 2:30am in Chicago then here in Ghana it is 8:30am.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Wa now has internet again! It was very exciting; they said it was being updated but it is still just as slow and testy. Hopefully being turned on for a while will help it. Since I have not posted in a while I have so much to tell you all and am not sure where to start.

As my mom told you I am teaching P4-6 math at the Wa School for the Blind. The way grades are broken up is a little different here. Students can start at the school from ages 6-10; or if you become blind later in life you can come to the school. When you come you start at P1 and after you have learned the P1 curriculum you move to P2 and so on. So I have a range of ages in my classes. I have 9 year olds through, what looks like, 16 year olds.

Each class stays together during the day in their own classroom. They have a homeroom teacher that keeps track of grades and the little things. Then there are subject teachers that come in and teach their specific subjects. They have subject teachers in math, science, French, citizenship, nature, creative art, English, PE, Ghanaian languages, music and dance, catering, Braille and technology. The classes have each subject three times a week. So I teach a math class 9 times a week.

All of my classes are before 11am so after second break I go help out in the functional class. These students are visually impaired but have additional disabilities. This class learns about sorting, matching, cooking, brushing teeth, washing clothes and takes field trips to the market. I have so many ideas for this class. To better understand the abstract idea of same and different I brought in different textures of pipe cleaner and had them sort the different feels. The teachers were so excited about the new materials! (thanks to all who helped pay for them) The one student that know English was really grasping the concept and the other two that do not know English were really thriving from the different textures but not quiet understanding the concept yet. These things take time. There are 8 students in the class but only 3 have reported to the school so far.

After school is over Anna and I ride over to the missionary’s house that is in Wa and I help home school their two children; mostly do reading and math. Anna is helping their house helper learn to read. On Tuesdays and Thursdays Anna and I will be starting a bible study for the student. And I was asked to help start a math club at the school.


They bang the bell every half hour starting at 5:30am to 9pm.

5:30am they get up and get ready for the day
6am I get up and get ready for the day
6:30am the teachers go and sign in
6:40am the students line up for assembly (attendance)Then they move to the Dinning Hall (chop room) for morning devotions
7:30 classes start- Some classes are a half hour but if you have a double period the class is an hour long- all of my classes are a double period
8:30am in the first break – the students have breakfast
9-11am are classes
11am in second break
11:30-1:30 the students have more classes
1:30pm classes are over and the students eat lunch
2-3pm is Siesta – the students lays down for an hour- It is the hottest part of the day
3-5pm is afternoon classes- this just on their own- the student do homework or ask their teachers questions
5pm the classrooms close and they fetch water
6pm Supper
7-8:45pm evening prep and clubs meet
9pm is lights out

Friday: they have singing practice at 3pm and there is reading club twice a week.

Saturday: Everyone does their wash and in the evening they have some type of entertainment like dancing.

Sunday: There is a church service from 7-8:30am and in the evening they have religious meetings. At 7pm they have hymn practice.

Yes it seems very full but in Ghanaian culture it is very laid back most things start late and go a little late expect when that 1:30 bell rings- everyone is done!

I met my students on Tuesday and my teacher really just threw me into teaching. In P5 they were working on fractions and my teacher did one example then told me to finish teaching. What a great opportunity; so I just jumped right in. I taught P4 about money, Ghana Cedis. Well really they taught me; I know a little well probably as much as them so we learned together. It was really fun.

I am building good relationships and very excited to plan lessons. I have to follow their curriculum pretty strictly and stick to a schedule but I am sure I will find a way to make it fun and interesting (new and exacting) for the students (and teachers).

Thanks for following. Hopefully the internet will stay on so I can post more often.