A New Year

It begins again!

One recent development, which I hope to fully establish by September, is the Urbiztondo Beach Library. Faced with the great success of the library at my school, I decided to create a portable library for the children who live by our beach. For now, I borrowed the books from the school, but as additional book donations come in, I will be able to create a permanent inventory for the beach. I enlisted parents and community members interested in volunteering their time to facilitate the borrowing, and I trained all the children in proper book care. By the end of the summer, 36 children had received library cards, and there were even 2 adults who would borrow some of our chapter books! Check out the photos below to see the Saturday Book Club activities:

I can’t wait to get it started again!

There’s something else I’m looking forward to: YEAR TWO AT URBIZTONDO ELEMENTARY BEGINS ON TUESDAY!

Needless to say, I am very excited! I spent too much money on school supplies when I visited the States, but I was much more efficient. I know what costs more in the Philippines (used books, 3-hole punch, construction paper, dry-erase markers), what doesn’t exist in the Philippines (pocket folders?!), what is higher quality there (everything), and what will actually be useful. Thanks to the donors, as always, for making this possible.

I have 36 students in my Grade 6 English class this year – down from 49 last year – a much more manageable number. Even so, I am going to try to conduct 2 of the 3 classes per week in their homeroom class, as I definitely cannot accommodate 36 students in my library class. Thursdays should work out fine in the library, as that is the day I intend to conduct the literacy stations. I am a little nervous about trying to teach using only portable materials. I will have to see if I can manage to bring a “word wall” to the other end of the school every day.

Most exciting is my pending sustainable approach to reading interventions. This Wednesday, I will conduct my first training with the teachers on how to integrate small group reading interventions in each of their classrooms. In order to garner greater support, I will be preparing and paying for all necessary materials. After I train the teachers, give them the materials and lesson plans, I will serve as the coordinator and support personnel for ongoing maintenance and trouble-shooting. This will reduce my time “on-campus,” as the number of teacher trainings throughout the Philippines will increase. At the same time, if it is successful, the teaching capacity of the entire school will be forever improved!

There will be challenges. I will be working with teachers of varying levels of experience, which will require some flexibility in the ways the small reading groups are implemented. The greatest challenge will be adapting the reading intervention for Ilokano (the native language) and Tagalog (the National language). This will require the expertise of teachers in the lower grades, as I am unqualified to adapt it myself.

Any suggestions on how I can make this more likely to succeed?

PS: I have discovered that I am terrible at maintaining a website. My sincere apologies. The demands of teaching and travelling to conduct teacher trainings has proven difficult, but I will do my best to update more frequently this year.

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