For the past two days my lessons for level 2 students at Shine have focused on using the photographs we’ve been taking around the Mutendere East compound, and describing life in Zambia. When students saw the photos THEY had taken, some had shy expressions while others showed huge smiles filled with emotion. This is their life and they were ready to write about it.
What’s important in our lives? What daily tasks are key, and which resources are critical? How is family an integral part of life…no matter which culture you are a part of?
Here are some snippets from student writing today:
“We buy food from the market. Food is good for us, it gives us energy.”
“I love this picture because the mother is holding the baby. This picture is showing love.”
“This picture is showing a boy going to school. The school is important to learn.”
“This picture shows us the stones. We use stones for building houses. Houses are good for us, it gives us shelter. We can live in the houses when the rains come and we can sleep in the house.”
“In my country people fetching water is very important for washing plates and cooking. It’s important for people drinking some water and to plant vegetables, and to clean your body.”
“You can buy charcoal it’s important. You can use it for cooking, (to heat) water for bathing, and for warming themselves.”
This has been a fabulous and eye-opening experience for me as an educator and learner. Walking with Teacher David and the children in areas I wouldn’t have gotten a chance to see, meeting families and seeing homes, markets, food, water supplies, and even a funeral with singing and a long procession…all part of daily life in Zambia.
Asking children in any culture to write about their lives provides a wealth of insight into what they are thinking and learning.
I’m asking our older Shine graduates and the teachers here at Shine to do this same activity. Tonight the teachers have an assignment….use the cameras to take their own pictures, and complete the writing piece to go with their photos. Having a good example of their own writing to share with students is an important tool for teaching. I want to share with teachers here just how important writing is…whether connecting to books or our lives.
Final comment: yesterday Jimmy Chilez, Shine graduate, talked with me about the support he’s gotten from me and my family and from A to Z Literacy. He said that when he has us “alongside him,” it makes things better. Our support means a lot to him.
We all need important mentors and connections in our life…family, friends, and teachers.
I love this lesson! A great way to see your students lives and for them to write about something they live every day!
What authentic writing for the students! Nicely done, Betty. What an incredible experience for you and the students! Can’t wait to hear about it when you return!