“I am a writer!’ stated Marissa Proctor, a middle school teacher from the Punahou School. Within minutes the Wamunyu teachers, Kenya Connect staff and colleague teachers from Punahou were all repeating this phrase. This set the tone for an interactive workshop for all participants. The workshop was focused on writing stories from the heart. After discussing the challenges of teaching writing, the participants learned how to create a “heart map” to provide topics and inspiration for writing.
Maps and ideas were shared and the writing began. Everyone wrote. We were instructed to let the words flow using descriptions to write the moving picture in our head. As we wrote, we consulted with a writing partner to edit and refine our work. Did we provide enough descriptor words? Was the organization clear? Would the reader see the picture we were painting? Writing from a personal experience allowed us to write from the heart.
Each participant shared a “golden sentence.” This sentence was a favorite line written. As each teacher from Punahou and Wamunyu and the Kenya Connect Staff shared their work, there was a desire to hear more. The group had written powerful and interesting stories.
The Punahou teachers shared additional strategies and provided a notebook, pen and writing workshop materials to the participants. Christina Torres, one of the participating teachers, wrote an article for EdWeek about her experience. Here’s an excerpt:
What I realized as I watched the teachers in that writing workshop was that Kenya is a place full of vibrant, colorful, magic—yet, it appears that its people have been taught that its magic had no place in its schools and with its students. After teaching a group of students to make an acrostic poem with their names, one of Kenya Connect’s university interns, Cornelius, encouraged teachers to use this idea more. “No one ever told me I could make a poem. I don’t think I wrote one until today,” he shared with the teachers and with us. See the full article HERE.
In addition to conducting the Writing Workshops, the talented Punahou Team visited primary and secondary schools providing lessons in the classrooms and participating in the Space Book Enrichment Days. It was especially heartwarming for them to begin each meeting with the schools singing the song, Lei Manoa, a chant asking permission to enter the space and completed the visit with Oli Mahalo offering thanks for the welcome and hospitality (Watch the songs HERE). During the visits, some groups of students also learned the Hula. The Kenyan children and teachers were especially excited to hear that President Barack Obama attended the Punahou School.
Visiting teachers bring new ideas, best practices, and enrichment to our community. We are grateful to Robyn, Katie, Jerusha, Taylor, John, Ashley, Christina, and Marissa for becoming part of the Kenya Connect family.