Day 5: The One with Neighborhoods and Ken Ken

Week One is done. To some extent, it feels much longer than a week – I’m already calling and texting home and I’m pretty sure I’ve written more referrals to our Wellness Center (for students who need extra emotional support) this week than my previous two years combined. That being said, I also made it out most days by around 6pm. Benefits of re-teaching a class, I guess.

Photo: Ken Ken and NeighborhoodsKen Ken and NeighborhoodsToday was chill and I should note as much in the comments on our Google Doc lesson plans so that I remember that next time we teach the lesson. We had students think and talk about their neighborhoods in their countries, with some assistance from clip art, which I don’t think I use quite enough of. Interestingly enough, some students seemed fixated on the idea of having the “right” picture (the intent was to give them ways to talk and think about their neighborhoods without restricting their thoughts). They also struggled with picking people from the “race” clip art, as most students felt they couldn’t identify themselves in the somewhat-but-not-really diverse group of faces. There isn’t much in the way of diverse looking clip art, sadly. (Ask me why my Google search history contains “sad ethnic people on the phone”)

We also played Ken Ken, which is a Japanese number puzzle game similar to Sudoko. The kiddos who were at our school last year remembered it and most of them even remember how to play it (or if they never really understood it, which a few of them admitted. Oops). There are 3 rules to Ken Ken and I often use though to structure conversations with students who are stuck. That being said, having them work in groups has proved to be super useful as well. Even kiddos who claim to not understand Ken Ken will generally try it. Plus the idea of not being right and being able to erase it and fix it is cool (huzzah persistence and Math Standards Practices!)

Also, we have a new student in this particular class. This student speaks Nepali and is the lone Nepali student on our team (the other team has a Nepali student. We should proooobably put them on the same team?). One of the other students (who declared in the last 5 minutes of class: “I’m not doing any work until next month” – pretty sure he meant week. I decided not to fight him on it.) wanted him to write something in Nepali. Learning Togther and Acting With Empathy (2 of our school values) in action.

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