First Grade: Trial by Fire

Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti
After yesterday’s experience with grade 2, Nick suggested that we not try to introduce TurtleArt to the first graders. There was some resistance among the volunteers about changing the plan at the last minute, something which frustrates us all.

Maze and Memorize were the activities we discussed. George thought Maze was more of a game, and that Memorize would have more strategic impact–that it was simple and might be used with First graders as a simple way to drive home numbers, letters, etc. Boy was that naive!

We started with the Colors quiz which had seemed to work pretty well yesterday. The students seemed to get the idea that they needed to get their heads right next to the speakers in order to hear the questions. Then we went on to introduce the Memorize game. Adam started by explaining that the questions were on the top of the matrix and that the answers were on the bottom half. The idea of starting by clicking on the top, and then exploring the answers on the bottom seemed hard for them to grasp.

Like yesterday, Nick and Adam came up with a blackboard demo that seemed to generate a break through. They used the blackboard to do a public demonstration of the game. By the end, perhaps 4 out of 13 had demonstrated repeated proficiency with memorize. Again we saw the slower students doing self and neighbor sabotage (the rotate button is an attractive tool for that).

Prizes were given to the 2 kids with the best Colors results (9 out of 10, and 10 our of 10) as well as for 2 more kids who solved Memorize repeatedly on their own. (vegetable seeds with very colorful French & English labels were all too popular)

At this point, Nick and George thought it was time to take our losses gracefully and celebrate the small successes. Adam argued that we should continue and introduce Maze, partially to help the new teacher, Guerline, to have a success experience.

George thought the Maze activity was easy enough that it would let almost everyone end on a success experience. (The Maze gets more complex after each success). At least one student mastered the concept

The good thing was that Guerline demonstrated a quick grasp, even without previous computer experience, and was able to start helping the students effectively.

Adam keeps stretching our ability to share his grasp of the many conflicting objectives, where priorities must constantly be reshuffled.

There’s so much going on here, said George, that “I’m having a difficult time taking it all in. Until yesterday, I was completely unaware of the food program, which is a part of the educational program here.”

And here is a story we can all relate to…with a tear in our eye.
We all know Guitot (age 9) much better after he cried for almost an hour yesterday alone in the schoolyard from roughly 3-4pm, scared to death his parents would never let him go to school again … but who finally went home with all his books and backpack (“valise”) found AT LAST in one of the old trucks where he probably forgot it while playing. He also took along a full bag of 39 marbles which he adored and demo’d and 2 tiny erasers given him to learn from life’s mistakes.

Ti moun se richès“, says the Haitian proverb.
Our children are our treasures .


About fromourisland

Gardener, knitter, wife, mother of 2, grandmother, and lots more.
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2 Responses to First Grade: Trial by Fire

  1. Alice Jordon says:

    Beautiful children!

  2. Nancie Severs says:

    I love the blog! We can learn so much from your teaching trial and “error” or success. Remember that you can crank up the volume on the XOs. I wrote some instructions for accessing the developer console to do this and will email them to Adam and George! Keep the entries coming and keep up the good work! Nancie:)

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