Over the course of this school year, fourth and fifth graders at Guan Ai learned all about sweet potatoes. Past lessons in this year-long unit included explorations into the history and culture of the sweet potato and how it is eaten and used in the village: [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3]. Principal Sun of RCEF partner Guan Ai Primary School was a lead teacher on this project and describes the last steps of the project which took place in May and June. To see a video, click here.
Selling eggs may just be an ordinary thing in the eyes of villagers but it can be an exciting learning experience for the students from Guan Ai Primary School. Five of our students, Sara Lam and I (Principal Sun) went to the marketplace as an out-of-school educational experience to sell the eggs from the chickens that students have been raising in their extracurricular elective class. Half of our eggs were green, which were apparently rare and drew excitement from the teachers and other villagers.
On April 7th, RCEF was fortunate to invite 26 teachers, students, and parents from Trinity School in Menlo Park, California to the city of Yongji to visit Guan Ai School and Xiaochao School. The experience that made the deepest impression on me was my discussion with Librarian Becky Zeren. From that conversation I gathered some key lessons about book management and reading methods. I hope to share these with my fellow educators.
Guan Ai has a group of very inquisitive and energetic fifth grade boys. Last semester, they took an interest in the bees which buzzed around the school yard and crawled around water droplets on the faucets. For several days in a row, one or more of these boys would rush into the RCEF office, exuberant, bearing the latest live specimens they had captured and put in “habitats” fashioned out of discarded bottles, tape and wooden chopsticks. “What kind of bee is this?” they wanted to know. “Is this a wasp or a bee?
Developing and teaching a bookmaking class at Guan Ai School this past summer was an incredibly rewarding experience for me. I love teaching and took advantage of the summer vacation to develop a ten day activity class at the school. Though I developed the curriculum, most important to the class was my partnership with two local Guan Ai teachers: Ms. Xie and Principal Sun.