Tuesday, September 9, 2014

More Academic Updates

Global Studies

Big Blue with previous group
What is Global Studies? It's the 'umbrella over the bucket' class, the course that is overarching. It encompasses site-visits and guest lecturers, and the processing and debriefs that occur after each academic activity. So far students have learned basic Chichewa, the language of Southern Malawi, and asked probing questions about the nature of service. They have written journal reflections on their preconceived notions of the African continent, and read articles on the invisibility of Africa. Recently the group interviewed their hiking guides on Mt. Mulanje and learned about the illegal cedar logging on the mountain. Today we met Ngwenya, our driver, Samuconge, our cook, and ‘Big Blue', our truck, which means we will need to learn Shona greetings (a language of Zimbabwe) quickly to show proper respect! Everyone is excited to set off tomorrow and get into the groove of 'truck life'. Global Studies will continue with language lessons, article-reading, question-asking, and intense discussions.


Physical Education

The girls of TTS are off to a roaring start for this semester's PE class. By the end of the semester our students will be leading the class, becoming teachers themselves. In the meantime, during these two short weeks we've completed early morning exercises, afternoon swims, and even climbed one of Sub-Saharan Africa's highest mountains!

Our first class was a series of circuits that helped warm us up in the chilly morning, starting us out for the day ahead. Mary Reid led our students through a combination of sit-ups, jumping jacks, squats and push-ups to help strengthen our core for the coming months.  Later in the week Katie and TTS's first overseas teaching intern Quinn had the girls swimming in the pool for some water aerobics. While the water wasn't the warmest, the girls braved the cold and joined in on the team-building activity. The students ended the week with an early morning run in the midst of switching between push-ups, planks, tree stances, superman balancing poses, and much more!

However, our most exciting workout so far has been climbing Mount Mulanje over the past few days. Our group hiked to 2,200 meters in one day to reach our cabin in the woods. The next day we hiked through the rain to a lookout point that we fondly called 'the end of the world'. From the high cloud coverage we weren't able to see as much as we liked, however, the misty atmosphere was still enjoyed by the group. We now know from experience what the inside of a cloud is like. Our hike down from the mountain included much nicer weather, and we were able to enjoy the beauty of the mountain. Even though our legs may have been tired, we all thoroughly enjoyed the journey and the accomplishment we were able to complete as a group.

Travel Journalism

Our TTS students have been getting busy the past two weeks with writing, photography, and even practice interviewing. We started off the course with writing an 'About Me' article and learning how to edit and peer review with other students in the class. Later in the week we dove into photography and completed portrait photo-shoots in the beauty of the nature reserve. The students then had a gallery walk to showcase their work and have the opportunity to share some of their photography techniques with the rest of the class.

Most recently students completed a diagram of their cameras and are in the process of making their very own camera manuals which they will continue to work on for the rest of the semester. This is a great way for them to become familiar with their own camera and learn how to adjust the settings in order to make the most of their photographs. Moving forward, students are beginning to build their interview skills and have started practicing with other students in the class. A few have even started interviewing and writing about the people we have worked with from our local accommodation, visit to the orphanage, and guides from our hike up Mount Mulanje. Stay tuned for updates coming from our budding journalists here at The Traveling School!

Algebra 2

Our TTS Algebra 2 class has been off to a good start by reviewing real, rational, and irrational numbers, as well as commutative, distributive, associative, and identity properties. Our lessons have included classes at our accommodation's picnic table, as well as moments up in a tree house with markers and a white board. They have covered how to divide, multiply, subtract, and add exponents and have been able to solve equations using by working with interval notation and set-builders.

However we are most impressed by the students' camaraderie and helpfulness towards one another in order to collectively succeed. During study hall the students have been sitting with one another to help each other work through the problems. Before leaving for Mount Mulanje, Algebra 2 students shared an intense study session then completed their first quiz. It is great seeing how positive and motivated the students are and how much they want each other to learn.

Katie Ryan (Travel Journalism teacher; Algebra 2 & PE co-teacher)

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