Skip to main content

A decent day teaching

 Today I didn't do terribly in school, which is almost a first. Of course, it wasn't with the intermediate phase, which is always a trial. Today I taught Grade 8 English, using some copied textbooks the Kalahari Experience folks had left here during their stay (good on them for doing that, it's huge help). The story was a pretty simple one about whale-watching--how a whale is different from a fish, how whales have been protected by international treaty, etc. Most of the kids didn't quite get it at first, but as we went through some of the vocabulary and concepts, they got curious.

Of course, none of them had seen a whale before, so I had to do a quick improvised lesson on the difference between whales and fish, how gills work, and how a whale can breathe when its mouth is underwater. They got downright incredulous when I told them about how big a whale is:

ME: See, in paragraph seven, it says this whale is fifty tonnes. Do you know what a tonne is?
ME: A tonne is 1000 kilograms. So how many kilograms is the whale?
PALESA: So...[I can see the gears turning in her head]...fifty, fifty thousand kilograms. Eish!
GOMOLEMO: This whale is fifty thousand kgs? How can he be so big?
ME: The whale eats a lot.
GOMOLEMO: Ee, monna! [general expression of incredulity or surprise]
PALESA: How long is this whale?
ME: At least as long as this school building.

I really enjoyed the lesson. It felt like I was getting something across, and the kids were paying decent attention. Of course, it's probably because there are only twelve students in Grade 8. But still, small victories should be celebrated.
Posted by Picasa


Popular posts from this blog

Why Did Reality Winner Leak to the Intercept?

So Reality Winner, former NSA contractor, is in federal prison for leaking classified information — for five years and three months, the longest sentence of any whistleblower in history. She gave documents on how Russia had attempted to hack vendors of election machinery and software to The Intercept , which completely bungled basic security procedures (according to a recent New York Times piece from Ben Smith, the main fault lay with Matthew Cole and Richard Esposito ), leading to her capture within hours. Winner recently contracted COVID-19 in prison, and is reportedly suffering some lingering aftereffects. Glenn Greenwald has been furiously denying that he had anything at all to do with the Winner clusterfuck, and I recently got in an argument with him about it on Twitter. I read a New York story about Winner, which clearly implies that she was listening to the Intercepted podcast of March 22, 2017 , where Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill expressed skepticism about Russia actually b

Varanus albigularis albigularis

That is the Latin name for the white-throated monitor lizard , a large reptile native to southern Africa that can grow up to two meters long (see pictures of one at the Oakland Zoo here ). In Setswana, it's called a "gopane." I saw one of these in my village yesterday on the way back from my run. Some kids from school found it in the riverbed and tortured it to death, stabbing out its eyes, cutting off its tail, and gutting it which finally killed it. It seemed to be a female as there were a bunch of round white things I can only imagine were eggs amongst the guts. I only arrived after it was already dead, but they described what had happened with much hilarity and re-enactment. When I asked why they killed it, they said it was because it would eat their chickens and eggs, which is probably true, and because it sucks blood from people, which is completely ridiculous. It might bite a person, but not unless threatened. It seems roughly the same as killing wolves tha

Caffeine Is Not a Bioweapon

I got into a discussion with Yves Smith about caffeine here , and somehow my comment got eaten, so I'd like to finish it up here. She said about this Raw Story piece about a girl who allegedly died from drinking two Monster drinks in two days, "The FDA lapse here is terrible. Caffeine is extremely toxic. We just happen to get highly diluted doses in coffee and tea." I commented: Yves, your implication about caffeine is incorrect on several levels. Most Monster drinks have about 10 mg of caffeine per fluid ounce, which is much less than even drip coffee (18 mg/oz) and WAY less than espresso (51 mg/oz). ( Source ) The whole idea of dilution is misguided in any case. The relevant measurement for caffeine intoxication (and most poisoning generally) is the total amount taken, not the concentration. Concentration is something to worry about, as it can make a lethal dose easier to take on, but the main concern there is pure caffeine pills, not energy drinks which are mostl