Saturday, January 3, 2015

All My Children

Now, some of you may be thinking: “Alanna, I love reading your blogs, but what happened to your kids?” Never fear, never fear: an update on my kiddies is here. 

It has been quite unfortunate, but in the last month, I have spent ten days with my students. TEN. This is due to the Fulbright conference, exams, holidays, and Nepal being Nepal. You can imagine this throws a bucketful of wrenches into lesson planning. I’ve also gotten four new students in class 1 in the last month and a half.

However, despite these holdups, things have been going well. The discipline/reward system of the star charts is so successful that I can barely keep up with the demand for shiny new pencils. (I sharpen these before I hand them out so that we don’t waste time in class—the other day I had to prepare three full boxes). Class 2, the one that had been most challenging, is transforming before my eyes. They have gone from impossible to control to, well, manageable. 

I mentioned exams. These were the second-term exams, which I was given the opportunity the write for my classes, rather than letting the students take the abysmal government-provided rags. Class 1 did the best, with the lowest grade being 85%, and six full marks! Class 2 also did well, with all students passing. Class 3 struggled, though. While only three students failed, the passing grade is 40%, and some students barely made that. However, they did better than they did on their midterm, and there were four students who scored above 90%. 

My students also got to experience some Christmas festivities. We sang “Jingle Bells” (and we have yet to stop). Class 1 and class 2 did crafts: torn paper snowmen and cardboard ornaments. In class 3, I attempted to tell the fairy tale “The Snow Queen,” which I realized too late is even complicated for native English-speakers. All three classes also got to see a slide show of American Christmas—snow, lights, Disney in December, and skating beneath Rockefeller Plaza’s tree. There may have been some sweets distributed, too…

After returning from Pokhara, I decided to try a new plan in the classroom. A few weeks ago, I purchased a beautifully illustrated book of nursery rhymes, which can be put to use in so many ways. Singing, dancing, reading, and penmanship practice every day, but due to a continuous flow of new rhymes, they never get bored. 

And I’ve saved the best for last. At least, I think it’s the best. 

As some of you know, I have a Google Nexus tablet that I love very much. It has saved my toochus on many occasions. But now I have finally gotten my money’s worth out of it. How’s that? Well, Disney has a new app called “Disney Movies Anywhere.” It allows you to build a digital collection of Disney movies—you can purchase them, or use digital copy codes that come with some DVDs. I have a few films in my collection.

And one of them is Frozen

Remember how I mentioned “The Snow Queen” earlier? Well, Frozen is sort of based on it. Sort of. They both involve snow and a queen and are set in Scandinavia, but that’s where the similarities end. But, I figured, why not let the kids watch the movie? If I spend 25 minutes of the period teaching, what’s wrong with ten minutes of Disney?

And now the cries for “flim, flim!” won’t stop. It’s wonderful. We’re not even halfway through the movie yet in any of the three classes. Remember, for most of my students, this is their first Disney film, ever, even though they know who Mickey Mouse is. When the Disney logo/castle appeared, and I told them it was Mickey’s house, they were ecstatic. 

Now, if only I could find a picture of myself with Mickey. That would make their week. 

The model.
Rukhsar, my second newest student, hard at work.
Binod, as usual, is the first one done.
Bidan, smiling as always.
Kamal, demonstrating the frown-to-smile transformation that my grandpa taught me, and I taught them.
Binita, one of my brightest students.
Bijita, who has very good colour sense.
Binita Rai: primary trouble maker, but look at that face!
Tikakumari: such a little sweetheart.
Bijaya, who suffers from what I believe may be cerebral palsy. Nevertheless, she has the best penmanship in the class.

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