Thursday, August 23, 2012

Teacher Training @ MDFT

Learning to build and pace effective units and lessons
Using everyday materials in our daily lesson plans for our baby class students to strengthen their pre-writing muscles
Creating an environment that stimulates discovery using really inexpensive manipulatives
A simple object like a cloth pg can become a science tool, a counting helper, a building tool and many more creative things 
With a little stored power, we are able to demystify technology even when we do not have electricity in our school.
For the last couple of months, the teachers at MDFT have been hard at work training and bringing the Flood Garden learning model to life.  It been such and exciting yet difficult process!! However, we have all really grown through the process of examining our teaching philosophy and blending it with brand new skills.
We make a very good team and we are trying to build a productive learning communities with the teachers from neighboring schools.  

Already many local teachers and school administrators have dropped by and asked us many questions about  what we do. As part of our training, we visited area schools to observe other educators in action, look for new ideas and recruit teachers to our learning community.  Many of the teachers that we talked to are very interested in participating in a 'new concept' such as a teachers group where they can share ideas, learning materials and resources (face-to-face and online!)

The teachers began their training attending online (via workshops twice to three times a week.  It was quite a challenge because in Arusha, there are all manner of obstacles that prevent or delay the most determined person from getting to where they need to get on time.  In this case, the teachers met at an internet cafe (which they had never used before) to access learning materials, videos and to participate in live workshops.

Even though they were not very convinced at first and were hesitant to embrace technology, they soon began to participate eagerly in our Flood Garden Teacher's Facebook learning group and our growing Flood Garden Google doc education goody bag.  We agreed that this was a great way to conduct professional development because we are using each other, the internet, our school garden, local colleagues and professional as well as the whole town of Arusha as professional development resources.

We hope that soon, we will be able to access via internet, educators from all over the world and share global learning communities!

Monday, August 13, 2012

New Learning Tools!!!!

Some of our awesome school materials

Every good teacher gets super excited to get new school materials and today we went to the local market to purchase some of our Flood Garden learning tools.  We use everyday tools to teach the children to teach them life skills.  We got some traditional trays, and many materials that will help develop pre-writing muscles and encourage the children to care for their environment, the garden and also their communities.  Our teachers have great plans to use these materials and they are so very excited for the beginning of term in September when they can really try this out.
This week, we have inviting a small group of children to come during the school break so that we can test some of our new lessons.  We are very thankful and very excited and cannot wait to tell you about our progress.
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