A SCHOOL STORE! And it’s going to work too.
So the thing is EESA (my South African program) has me thinking in deliverables. Which means that, although everyone is telling me my loving presence is enough, I do not think this is true. I like concrete things to be accomplished that ideally will continue after I am gone. Because of EESA I have chosen four “deliverables.” In the baby house, my goal is (1) mats/crib toys and (2) a nighttime routine. This is starting to be more successful, even with only 5 of us. We have started to do the baby's dishes while they eat, get them out and changed and then re-seated in the living room. Some nights we sing, sometimes we read, others it’s both. And then we end with a prayer and the ninos RUN to bed…they love this! After they go to bed, we eat, and by holding off we can do this routine. Since last Thursday, we have done this on Friday, Saturday and Monday. Not too shabby, and I think it really makes them happy.
In the school they asked me to give an English test at the end of my time. I am not so comfortable with this. Especially since I am not only in each classroom once a week and try to keep it casual. I want to play games with the kids and get them involved in their learning. If they learn English too it’s a bonus. But after being in the school, I decided that “English” class would be more about interactive learning. That to me is more important. And until the students start having fun with education, they're really not going to learn much anyway. So deliverable 3: An English Concert. I have decided that participation in the class song will be the equivalent of taking a final. Each class is going to have a song, based on some week’s topic, that they will stand up and perform. They also have to help make the poster displaying the lyrics (in pictures for the younger classes) and introduce their class and the song in English.
Finally, the main point, the school store or deliverable 4. The kids don’t get out much, they don’t use money, operate on a system of instant gratification, are only disciplined not rewarded and don’t really have anything entirely their own. So I am going to buy pencils, stickers, hair clips, little action figures, notebooks, candy…basically all that stuff that you would get in an 8 year old birthday party goody bag. I am also going to make some fake money, just fives and ones, which the kids can earn for being good, working hard, helping a teacher, or doing something nice. On Friday’s I will set up my store and they can buy something special for themselves. Hopefully I can get the older kids involved in selling with me, and they can help to keep it running after I am gone. Therefore the learning is three-fold and possilby more:
1)Patience, they will get money, but have to wait to Friday to see the reward.
2)Dealing with money, in general, comparing prices to how much they have, and adding up what they can afford. As well as saving for somthing they want, and waiting if they can't afford it just yet. Not to mention, being responsible, putting the money in a safe place.
3)Working hard and being good leads to having things you want.
I am starting this in the special education classroom next week, and am hoping to go school-wide by mid-March. Start small, see how it all works out, and I have the blend of older and younger in the one room. My concern is this: I am donating the “wares” but after I am gone, they are going to need more things to “sell” and since this is not real money, the products are going to have to be donated or come from some fund that doesn’t yet exist.
Please! I am open to suggestions!
And thank you Janet for the suggestion I teach math this way and Westorchard Elementary for the business concept.