By Marion Dear, Lower School Teacher
July 31, 2013
Today we assessed reading levels with a vengeance. At the morning faculty workshop, student Deb Wood helped me demonstrate a leveling assessment. She read a story about the Blitz during World War II. Fortunately, Deb is also a high school history teacher. Later during reading class, I started leveling each individual student. The first girl clearly understood level M, so we continued on to try level N. The story for this level was called, “The Big Snow”, not the best context for a kid in West Africa. I expected disastrous results, but my student assured me that she knew about snow, and, therefore, I carried on stubbornly with the assessment. Even though this level was harder, and she read about a boy walking home from school in the snow storm, in Chicago no less, it was clear that her comprehension was quite strong. The last question was, “Have you ever experienced anything like this?” I laughed as I asked her the question. She replied, “Yes, I have!” Go figure. I was thrilled to hear her story about slogging home through mud during a rainstorm. Now I know to beware of level N and its Chicago snowstorm. We’ll see how the other kids in the class handle this story.
At the end of the day, a senior, named Godsway Anderson (and the star of the Rise and Shine film), gave a tour of his permaculture garden on campus. He worked with student leaders to grow food for the school lunches. The garden includes mangoes, tomatoes, soybeans, basil, papaya, cabbage, eggplant, watermelon, and something called moringa. He explained that this last vegetable is nicknamed “green gold” because it is so useful. Moringa is high in protein and nutrients, it has medicinal properties, and it grows fast. Attached is a photo of Godsway peeking out from behind a moringa. You can see Kester Hall, the new high school, in the background. As Godsway showed me the different types of beds and produce, he told me that “farming is the backbone of Africa.” Godsway is proud of his garden, and he should be. I hope he studies agriculture in college.