Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Real Kids Readers

Lerner Publishing Group's Real Kids Readers brings stories to life using lively multicultural characters portrayed in colorful photographs and themes that work in the US AND Rwanda. These engaging stories like "Best Friends", "I Like to Win", "My Pal Al", "The Rainy Day Grump", "Loose Tooth Luke" and "I Am Mad!" are a few that provide the opportunity for practicing and reinforcing phonics skills and vocabulary.

These books are a hit inside and outside the classroom with the kids working together and helping each other improve their reading.

Lerner Publishing

What we are accomplishing in Rwanda, in education, depends on so many making a difference. And that is what Lerner Publishing Group is doing. They know the value of books as a tool for teaching English to children and also the adults. Through their generosity they have provided multiple copies of many titles in the Real Kids Readers Series.

Lerner Publishing Group has been committed to education since 1959. In the past 50-plus years, they have become one of North America's largest independent book publishers. They've created non-fiction and fiction books for pre-school to young adult readers and for libraries, classrooms and homes across the country.

Currently this company has over 5,000 books in print and releases more than 350 new titles each year. From richly illustrated picture books and solid non-fiction resources to entertaining fiction and graphic novels, Lerner Publishing Group offers a wide variety of materials to draw in young readers and help them "know more".

They bring together authors, educators, illustrators and photographers to ensure that each book is age-appropriate and meets curriculum standards. The books are thoroughly researched and exceptionally written with amazing illustrations and captivating photography that hold the readers' attention.

They believe learning never ends. It's a constant process, a result of interacting with the world around you. You engage in learning and the more you know, the more knowledge will reward you by opening your eyes and your mind.

Thank you Lerner Publishing Group!!!

These photos show the Real Kids Readers being using in teacher trainings.

Teacher Trainings

Each time I go to Rwanda I bring teacher supplies, classroom materials and many, many books. It has been important to weave these together to form a curriculum and themes for teaching. You can't simply give teachers what we "think" they might need without sharing the possibilities and relevance of these teaching tools.

In August 2012 we held 3 days of trainings and this past April another 3 half days. The teachers came in on their own time during the school break. A great starting point in April was for each teacher to teach the other teachers about their "classroom to classroom" partnerships they have with schools in State College, PA. they shared what materials went together and why, how they taught their class using these materials and what they and their students learned. Role playing is so important and was alot of fun!!

Next we worked on leveled reading books, that were donated by two publishers, as well as BIG books. Teachers learned one way of introducing a new book and the steps to use when reading it - prereading, reading, responding, exploring and analyzing. Again we used role playing to teach the basics of beginner reading.

I want to thank the many teachers that work with me before I go to Rwanda to teach me how to work with the teachers. These are retired teachers that work on curriculum as well as the teachers with the schools that have partnered with our school. They have been an integral part of education in Rwanda.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Celebrating Teachers

Cesarie, one of our Primary 1 teachers, has been teaching for 11 years. She shared some of her thoughts on education. "School is essential to improving your knowledge and sharing it with others. At school children learn to be responsible and to take care of their materials. They learn to play, be creative and take time to think through things. Each child comes with different skills so it is important for teachers to improve those skills and sometimes reorient them to improve other skills.

It is also about working with our parents so they understand the importance of their child's education. Parents are encouraged to help with homework, clean their child's uniform, reinforce good behavior at home and help the teachers to know their children to help them grow."

David is one of our amazing preschool teachers who is also taking university classes. He asked the children to greet recent visitors to their class and shared, "It is important to teach children to be respectful and to grow to be good citizens of Rwanda."

Louise says, "One-on-one time is important to develop opportunities for children to be creative and use their imagination."

*All lined up proudly in their uniforms
*David and his class
*Louise having special time

Our Teachers

Our teachers are making a difference in many lives. In the lives of our children as well as for their families.

We LOVE our teachers and so do our children!!!

*Primary 1 - Viete, Cesarie, Solome
*School Director - Maggie
*Preschool - Andrew, Alexie, Louise, Theogene, David, Solonge

Monday, July 1, 2013

An Aha Moment!

While I was walking from the library at the end of a day, I peaked in David's preschool class. One group of preschoolers were using the building set Straws and Connectors that I left in August.

When I saw how they were using it, I understood I should have taken the time to go one step further by opening the box and showing them the potential for building.

You see they didn't know the connectors were supposed to be pulled apart to allow them to build "BIG" things. They used the connectors as a platform.

Notice the fun they had when they realized all the possibilities. Even David, their teacher was having fun!

A Day at School

Teachers provide direction and opportunities to be creative and work together.

Daily sorghum is provided as part of the nutrition program.

The importance of hygiene is taught including washing hands and washing their cups from snack time.

Children line up in the morning and after they return from lunch at home. They sing their national anthem and other songs.

Storytime using many of the books we have donated.

And of course there is time to just be silly, especially for visitors.

An Education

An education is so very precious and important to the future of any developing country. And it is definitely the case for children in Rwanda. The Urukundo Learning Center now has three preschool classrooms with 75 three-four year olds attending in the morning and 75 five year olds in the afternoon. Two primary 1 classrooms opened in January 2013 with 54 children.plans are for two Primary level 2 classrooms to open January 2014.

Many opportunities are being provided for our children to explore their creativity and use heir imagination, to love books and to respect each other.

So join me on my blog as we "Open New Horizons in Education".

*Primary School
*Cesarie, Primary school teacher
*Loving school
*Next three classrooms for January 2014