CMU Project Rwanda

Teaching after a while becomes an adventure by cmuprojectrwanda
July 7, 2011, 12:12 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Today’s ends with some really good results. After a night full of discussion, we came up with a plan where we do not really know if it works or not. We reached the intended goal for today, Forever loop with a condition and couple of different actions.  It is so amazing the look that the students had , it is like we did such a great job, this fun to do. Although we were disturbed by the noise of “Myo” they were making and keep doing, it was fine. Of course we saw different levels of understanding and different styles of learning we should be accommodate and pay attention to.  I believe the key for being a good teacher, is to be patient. Which I am not to be honest especially with my family or friends, I am not a patient teacher at all. I think this teaching adventure helped a lot learn and understand so many things.

Today we reached our goal, with some difficulties and complexities. Tomorrow is more challenging. The main issue we have is the complexity; personally I was afraid that students will not be able to understand this because it is kind of complicated. Now we are dealing with more complex situation, what is the next complex, fun thing they should be able to do. We still do not have the answer. Hopefully by dinner we have an answer, if not, I am not going to have enough sleep L


Mohammed Al-haddad


Day 3: 8 hours of teaching by cmuprojectrwanda
July 7, 2011, 12:07 pm
Filed under: CMU Project Rwanda 2.0

Today was the second day of teaching and its been quite a long day. We had to teach four classes with a 1 hour break in between, so most of us are very tired and can’t wait to get back to the convent.

We reached the school at around 8 am and started teaching at 8:15 am. The first class went very well today. We started with a game as an icebreaker. We took the students outside the class and made them play the iLike game, and I guess that helped a lot with the rest of the class since all of them had fun and were pretty excited about the class. They stopped being shy and were responding better than yesterday. We introduced them to the Tam Tam Jam interface and taught them about loops in music. They now know how to use the application, and to join musical loops to different musical instruments.

The second class wasn’t as good as the first one. We had the same lesson plan for both the classes, but it didn’t work out well with the second class. Most of them had issues with the laptops since they weren’t making any sound, and so they couldn’t follow what we were saying. Some of the students were playing games and it was quite difficult to tell them to stop doing that. Jimmy told us that when there are many applications open at the same time, the sound for Tam Tam stops working, and we have to close everything and restart Tam Tam. We had to do this for most of the laptops and that took away a lot of our time. So we will have to continue with today’s lesson plan tomorrow.

The third and fourth classes were pretty similar to the classes we had on the first day, except that we finished earlier because the students already knew to drag and move the volume and tempo bars. We played SimonSays with them. They were doing somersaults and push ups, so we had a good work out session with them 😛 At the end, we played games with everyone outside and my legs hurt now. We were playing musical chair, and yes, I fell from the chair 😛

It was a good day overall. We just have one more day of teaching left. We are still planning what to do tomorrow since we want a finale, but we don’t have time for that. So… *fingers crossed* 🙂

– Humaira

DAY 2: TEAM TAM TAM by cmuprojectrwanda
July 6, 2011, 12:59 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

OUR FIRST DAY OF TEACHING IS FINALLY HERE..!! But when we reached there we discovered that the laptops could not be accessed without the Ministry’s permission..(sigh)..!!so there was more WAITING involved..!!Hence, we decided to tour around the school in the meantime. The moment we reached the playground we were mobbed by a dozen school children. For once, I felt like a celebrity..LOL!! The kids were very eager to meet with us & shake hands & literally clung to us. By 10:15 pm, we met with the guy from the ministry who gave permission & we proceeded with checking the laptops with the OLPC people.  We had to start with the afternoon section because it was too late for the morning section where each section had two hours & by the end we swap with the other section. I was very nervous & felt like my first section did not go well. It was quite a large class & the laptops were not distributed in advance. I was a bit disappointed as I had to hurry though & was not sure of the responses from the students. During the swap Abhay gave helpful pointers such as to play more games. Hence I took those pointers & it really turned out fruitful. The kids were more responsive & we were also helped by the OLPC guys. At the end, it was very exhausting but it felt really wonderful to be surrounded by such a friendly atmosphere. Looking forward for the next day..:D!


Nabeeha Fatima Haque

Day 2: First day of classes by cmuprojectrwanda
July 6, 2011, 12:38 pm
Filed under: CMU Project Rwanda 2.0

So finally we went to the school today and had our first day of classes, and it was amazing! 😀

We reached the school at around 8 am and were walking around, and all of a sudden the school bell rang and little children started running out of their classes. They were heading towards us. In the beginning, they just came and greeted us and were shaking hands, but later the younger ones came and started hugging us and it was so sweet!! 😀 We were all surrounded by them. It was their way of welcoming us and it was really nice.

After that, we had a meeting with the Headmaster of the school and the Ministry of Education, where we told them about our project, and they said we could start from today. And there was a slight change of plans, like we can only teach for 3 days, but for 8 hours (4 classes, 2 hours each) on the last 2 days. We taught for 4 hours today (2 classes) and are very tired, so I can’t even think how the next two days are going to be like. But at the end of the day, it feels great when you know the children are enjoying  your classes, I mean it encourages us more to come back the next day and spend more time with them.

I can’t wait to see the kids again tomorrow. We will be deciding our lesson plans for tomorrow after this.

– Humaira

Not just another day by cmuprojectrwanda
July 6, 2011, 11:58 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Today was not ordinary as everyday of this trip in Rwanda, although it had so many difficulties, we chose to make an awesome day and we did. Today was the time for starting the business “teaching”. Not as I thought teaching is not an easy task, it is challenging but it has so much fun.  I would say my highlight for today was interacting with these students. There is so much more than what I expected. Everyday my expectations are always changing. I think the only thing that I would, and should expect, is to be ready for anything. Today was a big start and a very strong start for us. Today is just the beginning of our mini teaching experience, and it is big start of our learning experience.  One of the things that kind of made this day more challenging, not difficult, is the fact that it is hard sometimes to differentiate  between boys and girls.

One thing that shocked me and kind of made my day was when all the kids came around us saying Hi , How are you and giving us hugs. Sometimes it is really good to feel popular : P, it is was amazing, you kind of get a sense of what super stars and important people go through. Another thing that made my day was the fact that (I am considered to be a white) there is word that these school kinds always say when the see us, which means white.

I would end up my post for Today with this fact, Africa is not that bad after all, to be honest it is amazing. Is this my last trip to Africa, no I did not think so, it is just the beginning 😀

Mohammed Al-haddad

Day 1: Meeting with OLPC & Ministry Of Education Officials by cmuprojectrwanda
July 5, 2011, 1:16 pm
Filed under: CMU Project Rwanda 2.0

After a really hectic day & NOT ENOUGH SLEEP, we finally headed our way to the OLPC offices after having breakfast in the convent. I was a bit surprised by the warm welcome I received from the OLPC offices from Jimmy, Jean Claude, Pedro and Desire’s(pardon moi french); I quickly realized how greatly they appreciated our presence. We also got to the newer version of the XO (version 1.5) which was not very different from the previous version; hence it was quite easy to use the interface. Since OLPC is now coordinated with the Government of Rwanda; we were facing issues regarding the school to teach; the students that would be taught and getting other requirements such as getting translators, projectors etc. We also had to wait for the call from the Ministry of Education to approve our plans.While waiting for the call (which was about 5 hours), Abhay, Humaira and Hammad came up with the lesson plans for the Tam Tam Session which we were assigned to & Kevin and Haddad were planning out the lessons for the Scratch session. Then, we went over it with Pedro who was giving us suggestions so as to improve the lesson plans and about the necessary changes that should be made. Abhay was also explaining about what was done last year with the lesson plans for Scratch and Tam Tam session. We met three adorable kids hanging around in the OLPC office for laptops.They were hanging around trying out the different applications in the one XO that was left.  It was also cute to see how they eagerly bonded with Kevin and were all smiles, not at all shy. By 2:30 pm, since we were all pretty tired, Kevin and Abhay volunteered to stay behind in the OLPC office and the remaining people headed back to the convent.

By 3:30 pm (finally!) the OLPC guys  finally got the call from the Ministry and Abhay and Kevin had to go through the public van which is a big van for like 10 people and apparently there were 15 people (that must be quite an experience) & then they explained our plans to the Ministry .

We have a major change right now; we wont be teaching the school that was taught last year; instead it will be an English speaking school.

After a fruitful day, there is one thing that’s on my mind…THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING & i m way too excited for tomorrow…!!!

Nabeeha Fatima Haque

Day 1: Waking up by cmuprojectrwanda
July 5, 2011, 1:12 pm
Filed under: CMU Project Rwanda 2.0

After the long yet enjoyable journey, we just got to sleep for around 6 hours (no worries, its part of the experience!!), because we had to be there for breakfast at the convent canteen exactly at 8 am. In spite of not getting enough sleep, everyone was on time for breakfast and were pretty excited about their first day in Rwanda. There were other people at the table too, who came from a service. We were served bread slices, omelet, tea and coffee for breakfast. We also ordered a few bottles of water, and then had a hard time figuring out how to pay for them since 1 USD = 600 RWF, and one bottle was 300 RWF, and all of us had notes of 2000s and 5000s.

After breakfast, we called Jimmy to get us cabs since we had to meet with the OLPC group to discuss the timing of the workshops and the lesson plans for Scratch and Tam Tam. The cabs arrived in around 10-15 minutes, and we got out of our rooms. That was the first time we got to see the convent from outside (since it was dark when we arrived at the convent the day before) and it looked amazing with all the greenery around (pictures will be posted soon!! :D). The weather here is pretty good too.

So we got into our cabs, and headed to the World Relief center where we got to meet with the OLPC members.

– Humaira