Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Term 1 update

Vutakaka school teachers have reported on the progress of each of the classes after the first semester of 2009.

KG1 - Madam Kimolo worked with the KG1 students on the basics; counting and writing numbers and letters, talking about pictures, and practicing their English. They learned the parts of the body, names of domestic animals and fruits and about different things in their environment. Margaret said of the challenges they faced this semester, "Some children were very young and are fresh from home and therefore had trouble concentrating in a school environment. I helped them by having a lot of singing and poem recitation to make them gain interest in school. Many of the children could not hold pencils well so I helped them by doing a lot of coloring and scribbling to strengthen their finger muscles."

KG2 - Students in KG2 practiced spelling and dictating words focusing on 3 letter words and vowels and began adding and subtracting. Malemba Mwadime helped them practice their English "by learning the Kenyan flag and its colors, utensils, domestic animals, parts of the plant, parts of the body, wild animals, and the types of weather." Malemba used visuals to help students make the connection between numbers and values. By the end of the semester, students were better able to draw pictures from imagination or their memory.

KG3 - Madam Faith had students in KG3 counting from 1 to 100 in English, adding and subtracting in the double digits, and praticing the tough sounds like ch, th, and sh. Students in this grade began being able to read entire books and to develop their handwriting.

STD1 - STD1, which is similar to 3rd grade in the US, is the first class at Vutakaka Junior School. Here students begin to rotate through different subjects such as science and social studies. Charts and photographs line the classroom that help remind students of what they learned in the primary school and to help them transition to the new subjects and syllabi.

STD2 - Saade found that STD2 students began enjoying class more throughout the semester as the courses are becoming more creative at this level. Their discipline and focus has improved as well as their energy due to the physical exercise they are getting each day at the school. This grade incorporates more life skills into lessons, such as problem solving, health, and enviromental education. Saade attributes this to their higher interest and performance levels, as well as self-esteem, at this grade.

STD3 - Teacher Joseph helped students become fluent in Kiswahli and English and to prepare them for the upper level classes they would be taking the next year. He used lesson plans to create awareness of the challenges
ges students face in day to day life. Joseph stressed the importance of independant reading skills throughout the semester.

STD4 - STD4 is the first class of upper primary and the first year that students attend school until 3:30pm everyday. Science classes are facilitiated with more experiments and social and religious students (required to be taught by the state) become more advanced. Madam Mary found students becoming even more engaged and creative at this level.

STD5 - Preparing for State exams is a major focus of this grade and STD5 students learned the value of reaching out to teachers, peers and parents to assist in their studies. Students at Vutakaka received the highest scores in the district and were awarded for this by the state last month!

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