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November Update

November 2011

Dear Matènwa supporters,

The year has begun with much enthusiasm as we embark on “Joining Education and Agriculture” in 11 schools. The teachers from these pilot classrooms came to Matènwa  to witness how LKM teachers work with students in and out of the classroom. This learning group has begun to be led through our Reflection Circles and Education Is A Conversation: Child Rights modules.

 

Teachers are also learning how to make lessons more concrete and hands on.

 

 

   
Officially Haitian schools opened in October.  LKM teachers handed out materials to Parents who signed contracts to take responsibility for school books on loan to their children. 

 

 

Sincerely,

Chris W. Low Executvie Director Friends of Matènwa

Anes Batisma Librarian Lek`øl Kominotè Matènwa (at MCLC)

December Update

Dear MCLC Supporters,

We thank you for our dedication to the vital work happening in the Matènwa Community.  Haggerty School (Cambridge, Massachusetts) librarian, Karen Kosko, connected us to FACES children’s magazine.  We have been working on two projects: one featuring 10 students between the ages of 9 – 14 and one longer photo interview of a junior high student for FACES’ Fall 2011 publication.

 

 

My name is Peter-Frantz. I am eleven years old. I was born and raised in Haiti. I live in Nan Jozen, La Gonave. My school has a library where I can do research. I like Haiti very much because it has a beautiful culture and a beautiful language: Creole. I like to drink coffee because the Haitian coffee is the number one coffee in the world. In my country people have lots of respect for others regardless of where you are from. I am proud to be Haitian.

MIT linguist professor, Michel DeGraff, has a grant this year to work on technology-enhanced and Kreyòl-based education.  He is currently at the stage of working with an evolving team of educators and programmers to produce a suite of Kreyòl and computer-based games for the teaching of 4th grade math.  He has been working with the MCLC teachers this year, having made four visits to the site so far to brainstorm and plan a controlled experiment to evaluate the effects of such games.

You can see an excerpt that’s currently being translated (with voice-over) on plate tectonics, along with another video on photosynthesis at http://haiti.mit.edu/2010/10/22/blossoms-video-with-kreyo/ . The original videos are at http://blossoms.mit.edu/video/adam.html and http://blossoms.mit.edu/video/vandiver.html.  Also in the works: subtitles for a calculus video from MIT’s OpenCourseWare: http://haiti.mit.edu/2010/10/13/mit-ocw-videos-with-creole/

Michel is still looking for more programmers with knowledge of Kreyòl and 4th grade math, further down the road we’ll need help from researchers familiar with Haiti, educational technology and experience in assessing educational interventions.

Sincerely,

Chris Low, Executive Director

November Update

Dear Supporters,

A picture tells a thousand words.  With all the disheartening news one can get very discouraged and feel that contributing to Haiti is like throwing money into a hole in the ground.  The Matènwa community assures you that your contributions are making our land fertile and the growth of the children’s accomplishments in their social and  academic lives tangible. They are making holes in the ground to plant trees, fruits, and vegetables.

When you feel that Haiti is caught in an endless cycle of despair remember MCLC’s school cycle and discussion circles. Each annual cycle shows progress, their circles encourage critical thinking skills and self-determination.

The MCLC teachers’ work is vital to a successful collaborative model.

Please share these pictures to tell the positive story.

 

 

 

 

 

Preschoolers in the Garden

 

 

 

 

 

Whole School Weekly Meeting

 

 

 

 

 

Story Time in the Library

 

Every dollar counts. Thank you for remembering us each month.

Sincerely,

Chris Low in behalf of MCLC

August Update

Hats off to you!

After the earthquake it was very difficult for a majority of schools to continue, but with your support we were able to run our programs and help the greater community.  School finished at the end of July.

 

Anes and Marsha

Marsha, a teacher from Vermont, is training Anes to insert pictures into his Mother Tongue Book template.

During July we had several visitors come and help us in our library. We thank teachers Dena and Sarah from Chicago. Dena catalogued and shelved many books and trained a couple new teachers on how to keep it organized. Sarah participated on all levels from administrative meetings to translating trainings sessions. We thank Marsha from Vermont and Ingleed from Fayerweather Street School in Cambridge for helping us in the computer lab to develop the Mother Tongue Books Project with our staff and for giving lessons to Anes who has moved from fourth grade to the computer lab. Anes is replacing Benaja Antoine who has moved on to a job with Haiti Partners. We will miss Benaja, but are happy to announce that in this new position he will be spreading some of the same educational methods that MCLC has been promoting for the past 15 years to other parts of Haiti.

 

Ingleed, Marsha and Juliette, travelling back to the Ansagale, Lagonav dock. Here they are having the classic common "flat tire experience". Never a dull moment!

With a grant from Rotary International, MCLC has started a year long project to train several teachers from MCLC and other schools in our network how to produce Mother Tongue Books with their students. The MCLC computer lab is the center for this activity.  Many schools will benefit, receiving locally authored stories in Creole.

Sincerely,

Chris Low & Abner Sauveur, Co-directors
Millienne Angervil, Secretary

November Update

Dear MCLC Friends,

We are very excited, as always, to share some recent news from Matènwa.

The library expansion is underway. As we prepare to write books for our Library II project we are pleased that our computer classes are going well. The fourth and fifth graders are focusing on learning how to type, the sixth and seventh graders are learning to use Word, and the seventh and eighth and ninth graders are working on Excel.

Being a model school, the staff has decided to have internal refresher courses in all of the methods that we are asking other schools to come observe in order to implement into their school curricula. We spent 3 afternoons going over our bookmaking method. Next we will be going over the Reflection Circle method. We have reinstalled bucket drip irrigation systems, which we had not used for a few years. We want to make sure that we can all give quality seminars to our Haitian teacher visitors.

One of our dreams is finally materializing: to have at least one person from each family be an artist that uses local materials to make functional art. Thanks to a grant from the Episcopal Women to Women’s group and proceeds from our Starfish Fund (endowment), we have been running an adult class and a student class for weaving a variety of products. Hats, food covers, pencils holders, and wastebaskets are some of the items being made. This not only helps bring money into a family but reduces plastic waste and promotes the planting of latanye and bamboo.

Sincerely,

Directors Chris and Abner, and Secretary Millienne

September Update

Dear Friends of MCLC,

The staff met the last week of August to prepare their classrooms and set their goals for the year. September is noclip_image002w here and students are returning to school. The grounds have opened with an exciting library addition going up. Some classrooms now have a cement roof, which is actually the second floor’s floor for three new spaces: one indoor and one outdoor classroom for book production and teacher training as well as a community bookstore.  So far the Commonwealth School Interact Clubs, Rotary Club of Skidaway Island and Rotary Club of San Juan have jointly raised $17,450 for this Library II Project. We will need approximately $20,000 more to complete all the rooms and make furniture.
Construction for an “Arts Village” on campus has also begun with funds from the estate of artist Jocelyn Ruth Edelston. The small cottages will house the Local Arts Initiative. Seed money for these cottage art industries came from the National Episcopal Church Women.

DSCF1262
Owen Thomas, a Lesley College student, has returned to Cambridge, MA, after 3 months of living with a host family and volunteering at MCLC. He achieved his goal to become bilingual! He helped a group of youth learn to record their hip-hop songs using a program called Garage Band on our Library’s Mac laptops. Owen plans to continue working with the group during his vacations and collaborate with other youth to organize and develop other activities of their choice.

Sincerely,

Chris and Abner, directors; Millienne Angervil, secretary
Contact Chris at christinewlow@gmail.com if you would like to do your own fundraiser for the school.