Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Day 26 - knotty lessons

Woken at 11.30 pm local time by my wonderful little brother who had Skyped without checking the time difference! Ignored the phone and went back to sleep. Woke just before the alarm, up etc etc then had breakfast of instant noodles - am trying a different approach from biscuits. These were whole grain (good) and chicken flavour (good) with added dried vegetables (good) and a huge amount of chilli (not good). This was washed down with a cup of tea and a half hour read of my new book, The Rosie Project which is excellent.

Walked to school saying Namaste to the people I recognise and was greeted by one of the teachers on her motorbike! After signing in I walked round to the school and was in time for assembly. The children lead it and start with exercises before singing the National Anthem and then a prayer...

Once assembly had finished the children counted themselves in and I went up and round each of the junior classes saying hello. One girl was crying and standing in a corner by the window and I felt helpless not being able to talk to her in Nepali so I just stood with my hand on her back for a couple of minutes.

Up in the library for the first lesson I checked all my planning for the day then helped Ramina teach Scrabble to class 4. It was great fun and the children got the hang of it quickly. They only have one set so had to effectively play in teams although this time as they were learning they had all their tiles upwards so we could all help. Then to class 2 for maths. The maths teacher wasn't in so I said I would be fine on my own....wrong! It's not that I can't teach but the children in class 2 are lively, they are younger so their English isn't so good and they claim that they do not understand I word that I say!!!! Typical children with a new teacher. We struggled through slapboard then I tried to teach them multiplication bingo and had to ask for the English teacher to come and translate for me. It wasn't a complete disaster but was certainly challenging.

A free lesson next to regain some pride then another maths lesson on my own, this time with class 5 who are the oldest children and so have much better English. We carried on with the Four 4s challenge from yesterday and they were much quicker today. We ended with a game of Fizz Buzz. Then class 5 again for social studies about good and bad habits. We started with revision of key words and their meanings then read part of the textbook chapter before ranking habits best to worst. I had deliberately including eating sweets and this provoked discussion about habits which are good in moderation but bad in excess. This went much better and the children were able to sort into good/bad habits.

Lunchtime and time for a cup of very welcome milk tea with Ramina then lunch at the family house which was spinach, daal, rice, paneer curry and gourd curry with fresh mango to follow. I had to rush as I was teaching the first afternoon session on Hansel and Gretel. We recapped the story we had read last week then read slowly the next part up to where the children are truly lost in the wood as the birds had eaten the breadcrumb trail. I then got them to act the story out which was great fun and some extremely enthusiastic birds "ate" the breadcrumbs. The children needed encouragement to act but they enjoyed it as did the teachers!

Then one of my favourite afternoons followed. Class 5 came in to do some knitting. I was given some wool and a pair of needles and managed to learn how to knit, back knit (is that purling Anne?) and to combine the two stitches to make patterns. I persevered doggedly and the teachers were very patient helping me (as were the children). Then class 4 came in and did sewing. I tried to help but they were ok so I went back to the knitting and only had to have one row pulled out which I count a great success! Class 4 stayed for the rest of the afternoon including the homework session as they did not have any homework. I love sewing and crafts with children and it was a relaxed and enjoyable session. The children are so full of fun, despite having difficulties in their home lives, and it's a joy to hear them chatting and giggling. Some of the teachers were playing music in the library too as it is coming up to the School Foundation Day celebrations and all the children dance and sing so they were choosing music.
Me with knitting and very patient tutors. Ramina, on the left, has a book that the children stick their samples in to show their progress in knitting as they learn new skills.

Class 4 sewing

Birds and fish made from recycled materials. They were experimenting today with using the fibres from the husks of ears of sweetcorn for weaving....nothing is wasted at all.

Ok, it's not brillliant but I was trying different stitches. I'm very proud :-)

After school I went to sign out to be told that the books have finally arrived!! The shipping company used by the school have transported them successfully and they are now here ready to be unpacked tomorrow - I can't wait! I was also invited to a "get together" after school tomorrow in the office so must remember to wear a skirt.

Walked home a different route and then spent an hour or so lying on the bed with the fan on (electricity is on tonight despite a scheduled blackout) and reading. Then I transferred to the Swotha Cafe to carry on reading and to eat dinner- chicken and vegetable pitta bread with salad and "fries" which turned out to be crisps as they are renovating the kitchens. Then home in the dark to Skype Dad and then to write the blog. Early night tonight after a quick shower and sleep. I'm going to be dreaming about knitting....(and yes, Anne, the tapestry is STILL the elephants!).


  1. Those elephants are going to be a retirement project! Good knitting skills there, Jane. Would love to see more of the weaving experiments too.

    How exciting that your books have arrived!

  2. It sounds like a lovely day, I think that children gain so much confidence by showing an adult how to do something.

  3. Interesting! Gerald. PS In some of the class pics the learning and look is the same as in a class in UK. Perhaps that's a positive sign?