Thursday, August 2, 2012

Walla Walla Wednesday

No real reason why I said" Walla walla" other than I wanted an alliteration. Figured I should save "working Wednesday" for some time when I'm actually working in school. haha Walla walla is also just fun to say rolling off the tongue. I hardly feel my cold at all anymore. Good feeling today.

Before I start writing about my day, I keep forgetting to mention that I added a quote to the top right hand corner of my blog. Not sure if anyone noticed, but it is a quote I received the day I was offered the position through WorldTeach. I have a subscription to a daily quote email, and I thought it was pretty cool that the quote was so fitting for my decision that day. A sign, you might say. Being here right now, being a volunteer teacher, and being here for the people of American Samoa is what I am supposed to be doing right now. "Live life with no regrets." - another of my favorite quotes. Also, before I go over what I did today, I wanted to let you all know what the name of the village is that I will be living in for the year - Pavaiai, American Samoa.

A few fun things to talk about from today. After a little discussion on the idea of "international development" and our service here, we headed into the village of Utulei for a little walk through of the one and only museum. Nice little place with some cool stuff. They have a lot more in storage but need ample display cases to protect some of the really old artifacts.

I took this first photo because the way the poles go through the box reminded me of Indiana Jones in the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Yep... I'm a bit of a nerd, but that's part of Jessica Boschen :-)

I found this next little thing to be pretty cool. Pieces of the moon brought back by Apollo 11 along with the American Samoan flag that was on board given to the nation by President Richard Nixon. (Fun fact: Nixon was the oldest elected U.S. president. How many of you knew that?)

There were also some paintings that had powerful messages I even understood.  For instance, this one is about fa'alavelave, a term used to describe big family events here including weddings and funerals. The ties of the family are one of the most highly held values here.

After walking around inside the little museum, we had the opportunity to learn some weaving with a few ladies from the village. I worked with Sisi's group, weaving a bracelet out of dried leaves and ribbon. She had them started for us, and then we were able to finish them. I love learning little cultural crafts like these.

After lunch it was time for teaching practicums, and I was one of the teachers going today. I presented the beginning half of my lesson on what science is and the first parts of the scientifc method. This is one concept I plan on going over at the beginning of the school year and coming back to throughout the year. Every single science class I took in college always started with going over the scientific method, as it is rather important. If there is one thing I can teach my students this year, I want to make them curious about the world around them, want to ask questions, and develop ways of finding answers to those questions - which is what science is all about.

Not far into my lesson I fumbled with the chalkboard eraser resulting in a big spot of chalk on my shirt. I guess this is why I will mostly be wearing white blouses when I teach. hahaha

I began my lesson using a little activity I learned from my bio professors at Morningside College. The box experiment. I had two boxes that were sealed, each containing an object inside. Each contained one of the three objects you see at the bottom of this first photo: a plastic ball, a pencil eraser, and a binder clip. I told them they could use any methods they wanted to try to determine what was in the box (without opening them of course). Many of them shook the boxes, some at different speeds, and held the potential objects in their hands trying to determine which sound matched. After I let them experiment a bit, we discussed what science is including:
1. Making an observation
2. Asking a question
3. Forming a hypothesis
4. Experimenting
 The other trick with this opener is I did not tell them what was actually in each box. This was exactly how it went in my college classes. We do not always need to have answers and in some cases may not have any, so it is an important piece of science to understand.

After discussing these key points to the beginning of the scientific method, we began my next activity. I had a few submissions from my readers last week asking them to follow the steps I would be giving to my students. Thank you to those of you who participated. All of their submissions came back rather similar and simple, and I realized that just reading the directions off the screen by one person was different from me reciting the directions to my class having them taking turns drawing shapes. Nothing wrong with it being simple, it's different from my final product, which is what I wanted, and you will understand soon.

Here's what a picture came back from one of my blog participants:

Here's how it went: I handed a sheet of paper and a marker to one student and asked them to draw a square. The paper was then passed to the next student, and they were asked to draw a triangle. Next, a rectangle, a circle, and another square each done by a separate student.  Here's what I received:

I then took the paper, and raised it up asking "what is this you guys?" "I gave you the simple shapes needed to draw a house. Why do you not have a simple house that looks like mine?"
Their responses included: you didn't specify enough; the directions weren't clear; etc. Great! Then, we broke down what just happened. I made an observation that our drawings were not the same. I then asked why our drawings were not the same, even though we followed the same basic directions. The students then hypothesized it was because I did not give specific enough directions. This then led into our discussion on procedures, which are an important component of any experiment.

I asked all students to individually write a procedure for drawing this simple house. I also asked them to share with a partner what they wrote, comparing some characteristics of their procedures. We listed some characteristics of good procedures including detailed, specific, ordered, and easily followed by a reader. 

We then wrapped up what science was and the first four basic components of the scientific method. 1. Observation 2. Question 3. Hypothesis 4. Experiment (procedure).

In addition to my fellow WorldTeach volunteers in our mock classroom, we had one local high school student participating. His name was David, a student from Tafuna High School (where I will be teaching). After our session with 5 lessons in my room, we had some pizza with the students who came, and I also met Tauesi (another student from Tafuna). I chatted with both of them a bit and am excited to see them around campus when I start teaching there. David is a great student and really fun to talk with, both of them were. I even got the boys to take a photo with me. My first photo with Samoan students :-) David is in the middle and Tauesi on the right. 

Before dinner I noticed the moon was full and really bright above the ocean and decided to take a few photos. It is really pretty tonight.

After eating our Chinese take-out that our Field Director ordered tonight, I went back out with my tripod and captured a few shots of the moon and the moonlight shimmering on the water. I thought it was a nice sight. Also, just for fun I'm going to throw this in... I know some may laugh, but my good friends will appreciate this. I found myself thinking about Breaking Dawn tonight. haha The moon shining off the ocean off the coast of Isle Esme. Oh the Twilight series. 

A reference to Indiana Jones and Twilight in the same post... yep, I'm definitely a bit of a nerd. Proud of it. haha I'm an adventurous and fun loving nerd :-) That is where I will leave this post.

1 comment:

  1. I love how your experiment turned out! I want one of those bracelets :) Those are cool!!! Oh the things you are and will continue to experience....I am so very proud of you Jess....but you already knew that. Your not a nerd BTW just someone who is opened minded to so many things!!!! xoxoxo