Sunday, July 21, 2013

Connecting Canada and Kenya

Hey everyone, it's Mrs. Braybrook!  I got to spend the first two weeks of July in Kenya travelling with the organization A Better World Canada as part of the "Two Countries/One Voice" teaching tour.  During my time there, I was able to visit different schools, work with the teachers and teach the students.  I wanted to connect my students in Canada with the kids in Kenya so we worked on a few projects in June to do just that.

For the first project, our class made a book to teach the Kenyan students about some of the important things about Canada.  We started by reading "The Important Book" by Margaret Wise Brown and then brainstormed important things about Canada that we wanted to tell the Kenyan kids about.  Each one of our students then picked one of the topics and did some research on it to find out more information.  From there, each student used the same organization as "The Important Book" to write a paragraph on their topic.  Each student also drew and colored a picture to illustrate their topic.  Every student used the computer to type a short paragraph about themselves that was also included as part of their entry.  I then put all of the pages together and bound them into a book, complete with cover that included a class picture taken on our playground.

Before I presented the finished book to the Kenyan kids, I read them "The Important Book".  It was such a lovely afternoon, so I read it to them outside, under a tree.

Then it was time to share our "All About Canada" book--they loved it!  They couldn't wait for me to turn the page to find out what they were going to learn about next and who wrote it.

The other project involved having all of the students make bookmarks for the Kenyan kids.  I knew I would be spending a few days at Segera and that they had about 200 kids.  My goal was to have a bookmark to give every student at this Kindergarten to grade 4 school.  Our class made 2 different kinds of bookmarks and there were a number of other classes from our school that made bookmarks as well.  In this picture, you can see me handing out the bookmarks to each student.  They also received a pencil, toothbrush and other goodies from our team.

I had the chance to spend a lot of time in Susan's grade three classroom.  I did a lesson on "Wangari's Trees of Peace" by Jeanette Winter with the grade three students.  (I have also done the same activities with my grade three students in Canada for the last couple of years.)  This is a true story about a Kenyan woman who started planting trees and created the Green Belt Movement.  After reading the book, they had to work with a partner (which was pretty new for them) to put the story in order.
Then I did an art project with them.  (It's also one I do with my Canadian students.)  First, they had to draw shapes in different spaces on their paper with wax crayon.

Then, they had to paint each space with watercolor paints. 

When I do this with my Canadian students, we talk about the dove being a symbol of peace and so we place a dove on the page.  In Africa, the tree is a symbol of peace, so each student then drew a tree to finish off their masterpiece.

They were so pleased to see their completed art work up on the wall of their classroom!

A friend of mine from Music Together in Edmonton donated some instruments for me to give the students.  Although the Kenyan people are very musical, these students had not seen or tried many of these instruments before but loved experimenting with them.  They sang a couple of songs while trying them out.  (In the picture below, you can see their teacher, Susan, putting out the instruments.)

My time at Segera was incredible.  The kids were fantastic--I had so much fun with them and the teachers were so eager to learn about other ways to teach.  I've left a part of my heart with the people of Segera as it was truly an unforgettable experience.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing!!!! It was so exciting to see our book in Kenya and even more exciting to scan the bags for my own book mark!!! It's hard to believe they traveled so far, we feel so lucky to be able to be a part of the experience. It's really neat how similar their art projects turned out. Maybe next trip you could take your students instead of bookmarks ;). It must have been so hard to leave.

    1. Hey Averill! Thanks for leaving a comment. I can't believe that in all of those bookmarks (I took over 200) that you were able to pick out the one you made! The Kenyan kids did a great job of the art project. For many of them it was their first time using crayons and paint. Do you remember when we did that art project how we put a dove in the middle? In African culture, the tree is a symbol of peace so the students drew their own tree to put on their project. I think it's a great idea to take students instead of bookmarks...we'll have to work on that plan!

  2. Dear Mrs. Braybrook, I loved reading about your journey to Africa! The Important Book is one of my favorites and I loved being reminded of how many ways you can use it! It was so wonderful that our class was able to participate in sharing your visit! What a great way to spend part do your summer! Thank you.

    1. Hi Mrs. Grosfield, Thanks for your comment. I agree that The Important Book is such a great book -- for so many reasons! This trip was definitely the highlight of my summer and I'm so glad that you enjoyed hearing about it.

      Mrs. Braybrook

  3. Dear Mrs. Braybrook
    I like all the pictures you put on the blog.
    My favorite was you reading to the kids.
    Thank you for starting this blog.
    I love being in your class.
    from Taya

  4. Hi Taya,
    I'm glad you are enjoying the pictures. I think I have to say that reading stories to ALL kids is one of my favourite things to do too. I will be reading the same book to our class this year and doing some of these same activities as well. I'm glad you are enjoying the blog and being in my class--I'm enjoying you and our entire group!

    Mrs. Braybrook


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