Teachers Awarded for Reading Classes
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.
In Ms. Ren's third grade class, the students listened attentively as Ms. Ren read aloud Little Pig Xilihulu by Chinese children's book author Sun Youjun. They discussed what happened in the story for a few minutes and then began the students' favorite part of reading class: acting out the story. In small groups, the students acted out different parts of the story for their classmates to identify. Amidst laughter, applause and excitement, the education inspectors got a feel for the open and lively atmosphere that marks our Reading classes.
The inspectors then moved to the school library where fourth graders usually have their Reading class. Ms. Li Xiaochun read a novel aloud to the students pausing at the most climactic moments to give students time to think and offer their guesses for what would happen next. Some of the students have great imaginations but Ms. Li told them to base their guesses on what had already happened in the story and to provide evidence for their ideas. After some students shared their predictions, the class broke up into small groups. Each group received a copy of the novel to read together and discussed whether the content of the next section matched with each of their predictions. Finally, all the students regrouped into a big circle and the teacher facilitated a summary of each group's ideas. The inspectors expressed pleasant surprise at the way the students read together in small groups and at their ability to communicate their thoughts fluently. They were also impressed by the richness of the book collection in the Xiaochao School library.