Saturday, May 31, 2008

Hakuna Matata

Hakuna Matata, made popular by its prominence as a full length song in "The Lion King" is in fact swahili for no worries. Rafiki, the name of the medicine man monkey, is the word for friend. And simba is...the word for lion. Who knew we already knew so much...that Disney Machine teaches one more lesson. Pumba - a little more elusive, means ball. Shenzi, one of the hyenas, is a name with many meanings: barbarous, uncivilized, uncouth, heathen, ill-mannered, pagan, and savage. Sarabi, which I might have thought would mean mother really means this some sort of irony to the name? And with that, I leave you with...Hakuna Matata.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Kichwa, Mabega, Goti, Kidole Cha Mguu

While looking for head, shoulders, knees, and toes pictures, I stumbled across a great site! It is called ESL Kid Stuff and is listed on the right. There I found pictures to go with the words (isn't it great when a lesson you thought was original already exists and has been perfected!). There are also resources for counting songs and color songs, so I'll have to tell my classmates about this one. Asante (Thank You) ESL Kid Stuff! We practiced singing the Swahili version in class today. I'm going to try to have my students perfect it and we'll either videotape or at least podcast the results to share with the students in Tanzania when I get there.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Jambo means hello in Swahili. The students in my class learned some common phrases today in Swahili like hello, good - bye, thank you, you're welcome and excuse me. Tomorrow we'll learn good job - an ever important phrase to show good game manners on field day (this Friday!!). I'll post pictures of our completed flag's progress as it's been collaged. It's really coming along. And I'll soon share my lesson for learning the Swahili words for body parts...head, shoulders, knees, and toes anyone? Well, actually the Swahili word for toes is really long, so I'm changing the song to heads, shoulders, knees, and doesn't have quite the same ring, but at least we're learning words! Kwa heri (good-bye) for now!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Masai Picture on iGoogle

My iGoogle page features "Places to See Before You Die" and this picture / place was listed... Check!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Proverb Comparison

African Proverb similar to American Proverb

By the time the fool has learned the game, the players have dispersed.
Ashanti of Ghana

All men are fools, but all fools are not men.
Source: (American)

African Proverb different from an American Proverb

Do not call the forest that shelters you a jungle.
Ashanti of Ghana

PS - I LOVE reading proverbs African, American, whatever...

Some more favorites...
Move your neck according to the music.
One camel does not make fun of the other camel's hump.
Do not tell the man who is carrying you that he stinks.
Sierra Leone

Map Work

Tonight, we looked at two different maps of the world. One was terribly distorted due to the stretching of the North and South poles in an effort to make a flat map. Not only did this map make Greenland appear HUGE, it also decentralized Africa. The other map was rounded and oval shaped in an effort to more truly represent the world and its contents. We did a Map Quest to identify Tanzania's boundaries, the EAC (East African Community), features such as Lake Victoria, the Nile river, and Mount Kilamanjaro. We also discussed our trip and our preparations for the trip. I have my tickets in hand and I can't wait! Tanzania is exactly 1 month away...

African Proverbs

My assignment for next Tuesday's class is to find two African proverbs - one that is similar to an American/Western proverb and one that is different. I'm linking a site to the right with African proverbs to peruse for ideas.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Tanzania's Field Day Flag

This Tuesday, I start my class during which I'll be learning about the culture of East Africa, how to work more effectively with English Language Learner students, and traveling to Tanzania. In an effort to learn more and for my students to learn more about this country, we have selected to represent it in our field day Olympics this year. We'll be constructing Tanzania's flag to represent our team by collaging with the colors green, blue, yellow and black. Once we have created our collage flag, I will take a picture and post that as well. Let me know if you think it resembles the "real" flag well. Soon, I'll be fluent (well - a girl can dream) in Swahili and my students will be able to speak the phrases for hello, good-bye, good luck and good job in Swahili. Check out the Arusha Wiki link listed to the right to learn more about the class, including the syllabus. I'm excited for this once in a lifetime opportunity - both to travel and to learn more about how to help students in my class.

Free Library of Philadelphia Author Events

The Free Library of Philadelphia has a number of author events - many of them free to the public with some big names. On May 3rd, my mother and I had the opportunity to attend one such event with author Augusten Burroughs of "Running with Scissors" fame. I had already read Running with Scissors and Dry and since that evening, I have now read his newest memoir A Wolf at the Table and am in the process of listening to Possible Side Effects in the car. On Augsten Burrough's blog, he requested fan pictures from author events for his website - so you may see this very picture there some time in the near future. Now, while Mr. Burroughs may not be for everyone, there are many more author events coming up in the future with great variety amongst them. Unfortunately one day too late, I've realized that Judith Byron Schachner was there yesterday. She is the children's author of the Skippyjon Jones books and she visited our school a few years ago. To sum up, check out Philadelphia Free Library's website to check if there is an author event to suit your needs and take in some of our great city's cultural offerings as well!

Friday, May 16, 2008

YouTube as a Teaching Tool for Teachers

I found this video on YouTube that illustrates classroom guided reading using legos. There are many more instructional videos out there to educate educators on methods they may not be entirely familiar and/or comfortable with in their own teaching. Utilizing video links like this for teachers empowers teachers to take matters into their own hands. Instead of observing one another (which is an invaluable experience in and of itself) teachers can observe through technology available at our fingertips. Using videos such as this to illustrate instructional practice would also be helpful to novice teachers who are just starting in the district and may not be familiar with the jargon being used in schools. I like the use of legos for the creativity and entertaining aspects as well as the non-use of real students. I certainly think we learn most from working with our students and there were a number of videos available with "real" students, but I worry about posting video of our young learners doing just that: learning. Learning is a very personal process and while our students these days are more willing to "broadcast" themselves, I think this is an area where we need to take great care in protecting their identity as well. In setting up this post, I also successfully embedded my first YouTube video (wahoo).

Web Cam = Dangerous

Last night I purchased a web cam to complete my skype-ability. And I think I've converted a few more people. Now I am fully prepared to be completely in touch with home (unless I can't bring any of these things) when I go to Tanzania. I also now have my syllabus in hand (or on screen to be more realistic) and a link to a new wiki devoted to the course. I'll add it to "Links to Love." During my shopping spree, I also became the proud new owner of an iPod nano. Look out!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I've invited everyone I know to Skype...though I've found that I'm terribly unavailable to actually Skype synchronously, though if it's a planned event - for example my sister going to a foreign country very very soon, then perhaps I could plan for it and be there!! Skype is a free resource (I do love free) to communicate via the internet. You can treat Skype just as you would a phone, use it to instant message, or video-conference. Skype also delivers your messages later if your recipient is not currently online - genius! Go to to learn more.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Co-Teaching and Collaboration

I recently took a course through St. Joseph's University on Co-Teaching and Collaboration. I've added some links to some co-teaching resources as well as a rubric generator that I found through the co-teaching website. A colleague and I are planning and executing a co-taught science unit. I'm excited for the collaborative direction in which our teaching is moving.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Final Posting...Just Kidding!

Well, as my two classes for which this blog was created have been completed, I've been thinking about how best to utilize this space for the future and...oh, next class "International Literacy" will be traveling to Arusha, Tanzania to work with children in a community center, visit a Masai village, and go on safari. I suppose that what I'm learning in that class may also be worthwhile for some blog posting. What do you think? Perhaps my wee mee will change into some safari togs. I also plan to continue to learn more about technology and its incorporation into the classroom as well as help to educate educators about these possibilities. I am teaching three 1/2 day workshops this summer on technology integrations: Scanning, Blogging, and Podcasting. I am planning to create wiki pathfinders for each to help participants find resources both during the workshop and beyond. And...finally, I will also change my template tonight, so welcome to the new and improved Reflections!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Week 15 - ED 566E.1

We presented our website tonight: . Check it out! We also heard presentations from the other groups. Some ideas that I came away with in addition to what we already created in our paper are included here. From our own web page, I'd like to include wee mee avatars to show dress for the week to help students remember to bring an umbrella or wear a heavy coat dependent on the forecast weather. I think this would be yet one more way to pull in parents to the site - possibly on a daily basis! We also created a wiki to compile our paper and I found this to be a great way to collaborate and I see uses for wikis for students as well as teachers and parents.
Read our paper here:
This group incorporated a directions widget which I think was a great idea and one that I would plan to include. There were also links to the ALA page of Award Winners which I think is a great way to showcase these. I had planned to create a Library Thing for each different award winner, which is still a possibility, but when these sites already exist, there's no need to re-invent the wheel. Pictures of the inside of the library really helps those who can't physically come to the library to know where their children are reading and learning each day. Teacher reference links are so important to attract the teachers to the site and create a central location for information. Homework Spot was also a website that I had never utilized before, so I'm happy to have discovered it through this presentation.
This group created a website focused on a high school age. They included library hours, which I think would be really helpful to include this, especially if your library is open during the evenings, after school, or in the summer. Page Flakes looked really neat - I'd like to learn more about that! Including AskHerePA was also helpful for someone who has a question late at night - and to utilize the public library resources. College website information would be helpful for high school graduates and I was thinking that summer camp and activity information would be helpful for my age group. I liked the foot note that was included on each page as well: "We're here to help you!"

Overall, I feel this project really helped me to find "real world" application for the applications we learned about. Weaving them together into one product was helpful and it was really helpful to see everyone else's products as well. I was pleased with the visual presentation of the web page and I am excited to incorporate some elements (as I already have begun to do) into my class web page. I feel confident in my ability to integrate technology into the library as it is an integral part of what the library has to offer.