On April 11, 2013, the Yongji Education Bureau organized teachers from all over the county to visit RCEF partner school Xiaochao Elementary School and observe the Reading classes and library-related activities that RCEF and Xiaochao teachers have developed.
RCEF Rural Education Innovator Yanzhen Wang and two RCEF-trained Reading teachers at Xiaochao School, Xiaolei Ren and Yuqing Ji, taught three demonstration Reading Classes and the sixth grade students also performed a play.
On October 24, 2013, RCEF Rural Education Innovator Yanzhen Wang, RCEF Consultant Laxian Hu, and three teachers from partner school Xiaochao Elementary School met for their third Teaching Research Meeting of the semester.
At the start of fall semester, these five rural educators created this professional development group to promote various reading activities at Xiaochao Elementary School, ranging from "Read Alouds" to start the day, to sustained silent reading mid-day, to Reading Classes throughout the week.
Shadow Wings is a book about the friendship between a young boy and a shadow. Chinese author Tong Xixi leads the readers through many adventures in a world where shadows can fly, laugh, and cry. In the end, the boy learns that these shadows are in fact children who where killed by Japanese soldiers in the 1937 Nanjing Massacre.
This semester, children at Xiaochao Primary School help to manage the school library. They use policies developed by third- and fourth-grade students during a summer service learning project. Before the start of school, rural teachers discussed with the children ways to manage a library. One problem the children anticipated was that younger students would have a hard time reading the labels on books. Thus, they came up with ideas like labeling the books by color or numbers instead.
Migration from rural to urban areas is a common phenomenon in China. However, when rural adults migrate to cities to work, they often leave behind young children and elderly parents. China Daily estimates there are 20 million “left-behind children” and 20 million “left-behind elderly” in China’s rural areas. Their lives and needs were the focus of a curriculum unit for third- and fourth-graders developed with support from the Rural China Education Foundation.
In November, two teachers in our program were given "Excellent Teacher" Awards by the Yuncheng Education Bureau which oversees our partner schools. Members of the Evaluation Group for Reading Campuses made a surprise visit to our program site, Xiaochao School. They observed the third and fourth grade reading classes which are taught by our program teachers Ms. Ren Xiaolei and Ms. Li Xiaochun.
This semester, our third grade students in the Dong Wu Xing Village Primary School had many opportunities to discuss books that they read. Before starting a discussion, the teacher would choose a suitable book based on students’ reading level and background. The students would then read the book using different formats. Sometimes the teacher would read aloud to the students and sometimes the students would read in small groups, pairs, or independently. The teacher prepared discussion questions and encouraged students to bring up question they wanted to discuss. This helped them to cultivate their thinking skills and empathy with characters and situations in the books.