India Global Volunteer Fran employs her creativity and bright personality to motivate primary school students at Christ-King School in Chennai. Using an iPad and a story about a chameleon, she creates a lesson about colors, reason, and sentence structure.
All the way to the school, I kept hoping that the short video of a chameleon changing color would not lose itself on my iPad. Miracles of miracles! It didn’t. I climbed the stairs, there are still 30 of them, to the fifth standard classroom. I look forward to teaching the students in my classroom. Yesterday, a story about a chameleon who didn’t want to change colors seemed to please the children and I wanted to continue that lesson today. Especially after they viewed two photos of chameleons on my iPad. I hoped to be able to continue teaching students in India using this tool.
The greeting that emanates from the room as I reached the open doorway brightened an already lovely day: “Good Morning, Madam!” I then opened my iPad and the video was still available. Now one has to realize that teaching students in Indian classrooms at Christ-King are worlds away from teaching in the Iowa classrooms over 30 years ago. There are no electrical outlets, no fancy desks, no educational equipment and none of the accouterments that I had grown accustomed to. So when my iPad functioned properly, I was overjoyed to be able to teach these children in India. When I cued the children to remember the story that I had read to them the previous day, they remembered the chameleon. I told them to sit quietly on their benches and I would bring the video to them so they could see it in small groups.
The reaction was spectacular as the students marveled at the creature changing its colors (they write colours). I put some questions about the chameleon on the chalk board in English which they answered with enthusiasm. I had their teacher hand out pages of paper with lines on them so that we could write a story. Of course, there was a scramble to make certain each student had a pencil. Meanwhile I told the students that they were going to write a story. I would write the words on the chalk board and they could copy them on their lined paper. I titled it “Our Story” and wrote the first line of the story, “I saw a boy.” Then added, “The …. boy saw ……” The class decided it should be a little boy and that the little boy saw a chameleon. Imagine! The story as they developed places the chameleon being in a mango tree, first sitting on the green leaves and then on a yellow mango. Of course the awesomeness of the story is the fact that the chameleon changes color. Awesome! The class then read the story together in unison before we did a search for nouns and verbs and adjectives in the story. They were able to keep their copy of the story they wrote so they could read it again and again. After we finished with that activity, I asked the teacher if it would be okay for me to video the children singing songs. The children were delighted to sing for me and even more delighted to watch themselves.I had so much fun teaching these students in India – as well did their teachers. I hope the children learned something as well as enjoyed the day.
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