The upper school students are in exam crunch time, so I thought I’d give them a break and write a post myself.
We are just a few weeks away from the trip, and if it weren’t for exams, the students would probably be giddy with excitement by now. The hard work of the exams keeps their emotions in check, but several of them have count down timers on their desktops to remind them of how many days left until the trip.
It’s been a great year. The students are very responsible, interested, and enthusiastic, and our lesson set this year looks like it will be one of our best. We got the request from our Kenyan friend that we should develop lessons about careers. He told us that his students often would say things like “I want to be a lawyer” not knowing at all what a lawyer does or how one prepares for that career. I had students research a variety of careers, develop categories of careers – such as, “Working in Nature” – and then letting the student choose a category that appealed to them.
The categories the students came up with include: Music and Art, Sports, Food, Transportation, Working in Nature, Computers, Media, Education, Engineering, Building, Healthcare, Civil Service, Law, Math, Science, and Meteorology. (There was one additional category – Managing Money – that no one wanted to take on. I found that interesting, but we may tackle this one together when we are in St. John.)
It was challenging to come up with information that was universally informative and not America-centric. We also focused on making the language at about a 6th grade level, since many people using the lessons would not be native English speakers. To that end, we worked with CSG’s 6th graders to get a feel for what language is appropriate, how much reading we could expect, and how to make the lessons more engaging. We had to make sure that we made the lesson as broadly useful as possible, eliminating words like “high school education” since not everyone in the world calls what we do “high school.” Finally, we had long discussions about whether to include information about pay. We ultimately decide not to, since not only would people have to convert from dollars to their local currency, but we have no idea whether culturally the same relative pay scale exists worldwide. There were MANY lessons for our students!
Our plan is to show the lessons to our middle school students in St. John and use their feedback to polish the lessons during our free time in St. John. All in all, it was a very worthwhile experience. One that will hopefully yield great lessons that are used worldwide!
I do tend to write a lot of detail, so I’ll stop there. Please follow our trip blog as we switch over to our other page! And don’t forget to comment! It’s always nice to have some feedback!
Last week I taught the 4th graders for the first time, and it was quite the eye opening experience. I came to class not as prepared as I should have been making it a little difficult. Nevertheless, the experience overall was a positive one and gave a sneak peak about what teaching in Saint John will be like. Some of the kids liked to explore while others simply just followed what we would say while teaching them. It was neat when the kids got the hang of it, in fact many of them understood it more than I did! (I will make sure that changes by Saint John!) Teaching the kids though really did make me excited to go to Saint John and teach the kids what we have been practicing all year.
On another note, for the past couple of weeks we have been working on lessons. Mine happens to be on law. I have really enjoyed the freedom we have gotten with these lessons. It is nice how we get to each use our own creative techniques to create a unique lesson. I have particularly enjoyed tracing and drawling pictures for the different slides! I am excited to add some games to my lesson and see what it looks like when it is complete. I can not believe that Saint John is less than a month away, I am very excited!
The past couple of weeks we have been working individually on our education project/games to show to the kids once we get to St. John. My project is on transportation and the goal is to teach them about possible future job opportunities in the transportation word, for example, a polite, truck driver, taxi driver, ect. The projects are educational but also very fun and interactive. They include drawings and animations that will make it easy and fun for the kids to learn about the topic.
My favorite thing so far is being able to have so much creative freedom to kind of do whatever you want. From drawling your own character to deciding what kind of game you want to create. To be able to come up with an idea and see it come to life on your computer screen is really cool. It’s also cool that we will be able to share these and they will be useful when we get to St. John. It makes me feel good that there is a purpose to what we are doing and that in the end are going to educate and helps kids.
Over the past few weeks in class we have been working on our lessons on careers that kids can pursue. I have also been using class time to help take apart computers and replace broken parts. This will be very helpful when we go to St. John because we will be able to reuse these computers that had been rendered useless. I love the task of fixing the computers because it is a break from researching and when the computer turns back on after replacing parts I feel so accomplished. It is also awesome because when you take the computers to St John and know that someone who wouldn’t have a computer now has one you fixed, it’s a great feeling. That is probably my favorite part of One Laptop Per Child and the feeling that sticks with me every time I think about the class. Working on lessons is of course helpful, but we do not see the kid’s reactions to the lessons because they are so far away. The satisfaction of their expressions is one that will stick with me.
In OLPC recently, we have continually worked on our Etoys lessons. These lessons include various career topics with descriptions of different occupations, as well as creative activities to reinforce the information given. My career category is Social Studies, so all of my occupations pertain to this area of interst. Some occupations that I have included are Historian, Geographer, Urban Planner, and Archaeologist. While working through this project, I am constantly challenged to think of ways to make not only my individual activities, but my project as a whole more interesting and not overwhelmingly factual. My favorite part of creating these lessons is making the activities because I always feel so accomplished after completing one of them and seeing how it works. I also really enjoy seeing the awesome ideas that my classmates come up with in making their projects! Overall, I am really excited about these projects because they are looking really cool and I think they will be outstanding in the end.
Over the past few weeks, our class has been working on lessons made from Etoys including small activities and pictures to educate students around the world about types of jobs. My assignment is media-related jobs, including journalists, writers, reporters, editors, camera operators, and many more. This project has made me very aware of the ways in which job opportunities here in America are vastly different from those around the globe, and even the jobs which are available both here and abroad are often different or paid differently. I’ve had a great time learning about this and trying to make it accessible to everyone, at the same time developing my own skills for teaching and presenting information concisely and attractively.
In our most recent OLPC classes, we have continued to work on our Etoys career lessons. We are designing these lessons to be both informative and interactive in order to teach others about different careers in exciting and engaging ways. My lesson focuses on various careers in the healthcare industry, such as dentists, nurses, and psychologists. This is my second year designing lessons in OLPC, so I have been able to challenge myself by creating more difficult animations, and I learn more about what Etoys is capable of each day. My favorite page to design so far has been the dentist game (pictured below), in which the student is told to clean the teeth in the mouth and get rid of the cavities. It could be the most complicated piece of programming that I have attempted, but I have enjoyed the challenge. So far, I have only seen the progress of my book and the books of others in my class, so I can’t wait to see the final project when all of our lessons are put together. I know that seeing all that we have accomplished will be very rewarding, especially due to the fact that students all over the world will be able to enjoy and learn from them!
Right now, in class, we are working on our lessons. The lessons are small descriptions of careers and along with some games. We are creating them so kids can learn what each job does and help them figure out what they want to be. I really enjoy drawing the pictures and coding the games. This is always my favorite part. I’ve learned some new techniques from Etoys when coding the games. Coding the games took a while, but I got the hang of it. Now the coding is fun and easy. I’m actually almost finished with my lesson. I also attached a picture of one of the games I made. Here, in my lesson on working in the food industry, you are supposed to drag the ingredients to the green bowl and when that is done then a cake pops up. I have only two games left to finish!
Recently in OLPC, we have been working on the beginning stages of our career lessons projects. The career category that I am researching is social studies. Some of the social studies related jobs that I am including are historians, anthropologists, urban planners, and cartographers. The goal of this project is to inform the kids about different career choices, but to do so in a way that is fun, creative, and easy to understand. In order to get a better idea of how to be successful with these lessons, we asked the 6th graders at CSG to give some input on a few unfinished projects. One suggestion that the 6th graders had was to use smaller words in order to maximize interest and understanding, and this is much harder than I originally anticipated because I have to find different ways to get my point across while still giving the same amount of information. By doing this, I feel like I am developing an important skill to have because not everyone thinks the same way, so being able to explain things in a different way for different people is crucial, especially with teaching little kids. I have a feeling that these career lessons will turn out great considering we all want them to be enjoyable and informative!
Recently in One Laptop Per Child, we began our career lessons, which are Etoys pages we will make including information about a specific occupation for the students in St. John and other areas to learn from. There are many career categories, from music and art to social studies. My career category is math, and I will research the job description, work environment, pay, and necessary skills of a statistician, mathematician, or surveyor with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (pictured below) and the Prospects website. With this information as well as feedback from the 6th graders at CSG, we will make fun, interesting, and informative lessons on each career category. Leading up to the career lessons, we learned about Etoys in OLPC and the different and creative ways we can make pages and booklets in the program. At first, I thought that Etoys was a little confusing and hard to understand and utilize, but as I became more familiar with the program, I learned about the different things you can do with it, like drawing and animation, and began to like the program more. I hope that our career lessons will be a success and people will be able to learn a lot about different occupations and have fun!
During the school year, students will be blogging about their experiences approximately once a week. Please check back for updates.