John Mahar's Blog

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Saturday, July 19, 2008


So I went up to this town Marian and taught for about an hour Friday morning. I addressed all the 5th and 6th graders, which here means 1' to 12 year olds. They were very cute, of course. The school was nice, and so were the principal and other teachers. They were very appreciative that I came up. I started off with a little survey. Since they didnĀ“t have pencil and paper, I had to do the survey by hand-raising. This started out a complete disaster. "Please answer," I asked them. Once a few of them started, most of the rest joined in, and by the last question all of them were choosing one of the answers I offered them. Then I asked them about their water, where it came from, and where it goes. I drew this on the board, and later used the drawing to illustrate the water cycle and parts of the watershed. We discussed some problems for the watershed, and then I encouraged them to form an environmental club to do little community projects. Afterwards I talked with the teachers. I felt pretty good about it, but as far as solving problems goes, the type of lesson I did is a poor strategy. Unless they form a club, what I did was a one-time thing. Nothing is sustainable about it. I did try to explain, through comparison to Kentucky, that nothing happens until people get organized and make changes. Planting seeds, anyway. It was fun, and I think the kids enjoyed it. The principal complimented me (as many others have before) on how easily I connect with the kids. I guess being a goof pays off everywhere.

The pictures are of the school and the view from the street.


At 7:28 PM, Blogger mark said...

I laughed when you said that a goof is appreciated everywhere. Good job--good goof. We saw two school is Africa--5th and 6th level; in one case we were in the classroom and the kids were really doing work, at least they were drawing. But the schools are poor and time on task seems light.

Water is a real issue. Glad you are focusing on it. It takes baby steps to get something going.

Mark Sohn


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