Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Useful Tools for Bookless Classrooms

Most Liberian schools do not have libraries or supplies of textbooks and students have little opportunity for using books either as classroom texts or reference. Lessons are taught by teachers using blackboard and chalk and a single textbook while students take careful notes in their notebooks. The notebook serves as textbook and students study and do homework from the handwritten notes. Internet access is out of the question in Liberian schools - no electricity available and no computers.

LOEP has been working to find ways to help our Liberian colleagues use effective teaching techniques without books and computers. Although there is no real substitute for books (even the Internet is no substitute for books!), we have found some items to supplement blackboard lessons fairly well, and they are easy/cheap to pack and ship.
Wall posters, maps, charts are all great visuals accessible to the whole class at once. Some are quick reference guides that pack loads of information on one big, easy to read surface. The picture above is the Teacher section of our small, local Dollar Tree Store.  We find loads of posters, wall charts, room borders and other visual refrence aids for posting on classroom walls right here. Also a great source of teacher materials such as stickers, certificates, award bookmarks, etc. Can't beat the price, either!
Plenty of wall space for posters here:
Reference guides like the ones found here: http://www.barcharts.com/ are a wonderful classroom tool when books are not available. Used as a desk reference for individual students to borrow in the classroom, as a reference for a small working group of students, and for the teacher to use as a reference for blackboard notes, these reference guides pack loads of information. Already laminated, they hold up well to heavy use and Liberian humidity and, important to our limited LOEP budget, they stack, pack and ship VERY well taking up little space relative to the amount of information they hold.  Some are fold-outs with up to as many as six pages - a mini-textbook!
Last year Target carried laminated reference guides (love that Dollar Bin!). If you see them this year remember bookless Liberian classrooms.  Stuff a USPS Flat Rate Mailing Envelope full and mail to LOEP for less than $5 postage!  We do the rest to get them into Liberian classrooms.
More to come on Back to School for Liberia

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