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Blog: Team Chaos at Maanu Mbwami!!


Aug 2010

Team Chaos at Maanu Mbwami!!

Posted by / in The Book Bus /

The holidays have begun. We spent the first week at Maanu Mbwami community school and we had one of the best weeks since the Bookbus began! Monday we arrived at school not knowing what to expect. How many kids would turn up? What kind of reception would we get? How much chaos would be waiting to greet us and would there be teachers there as promised?

The turnout was amazing! Children from all grades from 1 to 7 were waiting for the bus and greeted us by running along side, waving and cheering! All 7 teachers were there too and were keen to get involved in our activities! We divided the younger children into 2 groups, grades 1, 2 & 3 together (which numbered 70!! This group become known as team chaos!) and the 4’s and 5’s together! (about 35) These sessions lasted for an hour and three quarters and we did a mixture of reading, colouring, games, songs and craft activities! The longer the week went on the more settled our routine became! Trying to teach 70 kids “what’s the time Mr Lion” (the Bookbus altered version of what’s the “what’s the time Mr Wolf?!!”) took a long time but now they love it! They also taught us one of their songs and laugh at our attempts to follow their moves. We based our team Chaos sessions on the alphabet doing 5 letters each day. We read books like Going on a Bear hunt, Elmer and the Rainbow, The Nickel Nackle Tree, Handa’s hen and Giraffes Can’t Dance and the silence in the room and the concentration on the children’s faces was amazing!

One of our favourite activities was making posters of whatever we were teaching that day, colours, shapes etc and then standing in a big circle and getting the kids to run to the thing we shouted out! They loved it, especially when the teachers joined in! The teachers have been amazing this week, all turning up everyday and getting stuck into everything we are doing!
The grades 4 and 5 made a book during the course of the week also based on the alphabet but more advanced, they had to think of as many words as they knew beginning with certain letters and put then into their books. At the end of the week they got to take their books home, which thrilled them!

Then we had the grades 6 and 7 for an hour and three quarters. About 50 students turned up. They are having revision lessons whilst we are teaching the younger ones. The headteacher told me that he tried to get the pupils to come for revision last year but few turned up but because of the lure of the Bookbus many more have come this year! The volunteers have had the same small groups of children each day and have therefore built up close relationships with the kids! And you can see the improvement in performance, concentration and confidence the longer you are with the same group. We based our activities on the world, so did topics ranging from Africa to Polar regions, from oceans to China! The children have learnt a lot but had fun whilst doing so!

Just before we left on Friday we had a huge group sing-song/dance outside which attracted a lot of attention from passing locals, some nearby builders and the police who are supervising voter registration in one of the school classrooms. You could see on their faces a look of surprise at these crazy yellow clad “m’zungos” but everyone was smiling and having a great time!

In fact we had such a fantastic time and we feel like we have made such progress that we have decided to come back for a second week starting on Monday. The teachers and the children were overjoyed! So as I write, Team Chaos plus new arrivals are spending their Sunday planning lessons for the pupils at Maanu Mbwami!

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