Summer flew by and today we started the new school year. Travis and I were both excited, but nervous to start this school year. We survived!!! We both learned a lot over the summer about teaching and really want to implement it into our classrooms. That meant rethinking our first days and most of the days afterward. I am working on making my classroom more of an OUR classroom and giving my students more control over their learning and classroom. Travis is working on making his classroom inquiry based and having his teaching led by students questions. We both know that this year will be a starter year for what we eventually want our teaching to look like, but we are excited to be on the right track! So here’s to the 2014-2015 school year and to our learning and growing and our students’ learning and growing!
Category Archives: Dakar Academy
Our school’s national staff are an important part to having our school run smoothly. They do so much for us and allow us to do our jobs without thinking about cleaning or electricity. This year the Student Senate had the idea to bring a blessing to our national staff by throwing a carnival that their children could come to and enjoy. The national staff has a Christmas Party, but there was nothing for their children. This was a way to bless them through blessing their children. Travis and I volunteered to help because I can’t resist little kids. There were games for the adults and the children alike to play, someone donated to have a bouncy castle, face painting, and lots more. It was fun to see them enjoying themselves and to see our students being a blessing. At the end, there was a meal and a short presentation. I felt honored to have been able to help and to show my appreciation for all that they do. Hopefully, they left feeling blessed and encouraged, just like I did.
Once a school year comes a 7 o’clock am to 9 o’clock pm day called Elementary Camp. It is an event that is looked forward to every year, mostly by the students. The students get to stay after school and do different stations like songs, crafts, story, relay races, and games. After the different stations, we eat dinner and watch a movie. It is a really fun time for the students and a good memory for them. They are a little wild and we are thankful we get to send them home for the weekend afterwards! This year went great and my students had a great time at the different stations (Mr. Julian volunteered and was their “leader”.)
My job at elementary is to do fun camp songs (thanks YMCA camp years)! It ends up being really fun and the students get really into to. I don’t have a voice by the end of the night and my head is spinning, but its worth it! Some of their favorite songs include: Funky Chicken, Chika Boom, and the Bubble Gum song. It’s a nice to get a little crazy every once in a while!
Trav’s signature is his hair. If I can’t find him, I look for his hair and it was the first thing that attracted me to him. Multiple women have commented on his hair and most of them total strangers. It stands out and I will never let him cut it! On Friday, our school had Olympics day, which is like a field day for the whole school. Travis helps sponsor the sophomore class and they were selling lunch and breakfast as a fundraiser. Cotton candy was one of the things being sold and Travis became the cotton candy man for the whole afternoon.
What does that have to do with his hair? By the end of the day, his hair looked like cotton candy. It was full of strands of cotton candy and it kind of looked like he had stuck his hair into the machine. Here’s proof:
Gotta love this guy, cotton candied hair and all!
Well, really only Travis is the champion but it went along well with another blog post I wrote so I went with it. Travis plays in a competitive softball league that is run by the American Embassy here in Dakar. The league always ends with a tournament called W.A.I.S.T. Last year, Trav’s team, the Cavemen (old man power is their motto) won the whole thing. Could they do it again? By the title you could probably guess (or infer like I teach my 3rd graders) what happened. They had to go through their rivals, the Embassy team. Dun…dun…dun. All season long the Embassy team beat us. I think we beat them maybe once…so the odds were in their favor. Not so much. Cavemen mercy ruled them, winning 16-2. Boo-yah. That pretty much set us up to make it to the championship, with a little help from one team quitting the whole thing in dramatic fashion. And make it to the championship they did where they hit well, fielded well, and defeated the Embassy once again to carry on the winning tradition.
Travis loves teaching. He is passionate about helping his students learn to love history and to create a classroom that is alive and vibrant. I love him for that! To study the popular culture in the 1920s, he “opened”a speakeasy in his classroom. The students had to give him a membership card in order to get in (it’s very exclusive). He had different activities for the students to do around the class to learn about the 1920s. He had short movie clips, articles, book excerpts, and other things for the students to look at while they enjoyed their “beverages” of Coke and Sprite. Overall it was a success (next year he is going to have them all dress up!) Here is a peek:
In 5 days the first semester will be over and Christmas vacation will start. At the end of the semester, I always look back and think about what has happened. So here are ten words to describe our semester:
1. Challenging– Travis and I are still relatively new teachers and continuing to work on becoming better. Teaching is always a challenging occupation, especially if you want to do it well.
2. Unexpected– We had an unexpected trip to Spain. I had an unexpected ankle problem. An unexpected pet bird. You get the picture…
3. Sports– Travis and I both coached. Travis played handball, softball, and spike ball. We also both played in a volleyball league.
4. Noisy– There is a building being built right behind ours and there is a lot of banging.
5. Communication– Travis and I continued to try and stay connected to our families and friends, even though we are far away.
6. Yummy– Cooking continues to be a fun and important part of our relationship.
7. Meetings– We are working on our accreditation renewal that is coming up so there have been quite a few meetings.
8. Blessed– We are continually made aware of how blessed we are.
9. Students– The reason that we are in Dakar.
10. Dakar– This word refers to all the great and not so great stuff that have to do with living here like water cuts and the heat, but also the school and the people we have met.