Education Team Summary: Abigail Butscher Primary School – June, 2014

The Education Team worked directly in the school from June 24-27, with a partial day on June 30th. Activities included direct instruction, co-teaching with the ABPS faculty, collaboration with ABPS administration and faculty, play initiatives during recess time, one-on-one remedial instruction with targeted students, and professional development workshops. Additional efforts were conducted after school hours in terms of planning, organization of materials, purchasing identified educational supplies, and lesson planning for reading activities. All reading activities were implemented with leveled reading materials purchased from Lee and Lowe Publishers (New York) through fundraising activities and at a significant discount from the company. These books were transported to Sierra Leone and delivered by the team.

On-site activities during school hours:

  • Direct group reading lesson with grades 1 and 2 (The Goat Goes to Town). Strategies of prior knowledge, vocabulary development, making connections, accessing picture clues, and choral reading were implemented. This was conducted in collaboration with Mrs. Thompson and Ms. Mornya, the grade 1 and 2 teachers.
  •  4th grade Reading lesson conducted with Mr. Monserey using African Dance. The reading lesson format taught during professional development workshop was followed. Prior knowledge of African dancing was discussed, and there were some student demonstrations. New vocabulary was covered then the book was read. The comprehension check required students to give the main idea and important details from the book.
  • Phonics lesson teaching the suffixes –s, -ing, and –ed with the grade 4 class using Fundations phonics program and the book, African Dance. Chalkboard folders were utilized to provide individual student feedback and assessment. Students also wrote the correct answers on the class chalkboard to reinforce the concept and to maintain a student-centered lesson. This was conducted in collaboration with Mr. Monserey, the grade 4 teacher.
  • Reading of the book, First Come the Zebra with the fourth grade class. Discussion with the class as to how the book related to them personally. Also discussed the differences that people in different parts of Africa experience with their animals, agriculture, etc. in contrast with Sierra Leone, and how sometimes those people groups that have traditionally been taught not to befriend can end up becoming good friends and working together.
  • Phonics lesson teaching the consonant digraph –sh with the grade 3 class using Fundations phonics program . Chalkboard folders were utilized to provide individual student feedback and assessment. This was conducted in collaboration with Miss Koroma, the grade 3 teacher.
  • Individual phonemic awareness activities were conducted with grade 1 students, as identified by their teacher as needing additional support, using iPad programs. Three donated first generation iPads were downloaded with instructional apps prior to our trip. Student learning and improvement was noteworthy.
  • A phonics learning game, focused on initial consonant sounds, was conducted with grade 1 and 2 students. The game involved using paper bags with letter symbols written on the front and students tossed a ball in the correct corresponding bag when the letter sound was articulated. Students were very enthusiastic to this interactive learning.

Reading and writing lesson done with 1st and 2nd grade. Big Cat, Little Cat was read. The sentence patterns were discussed with the children filling in blanks with their own