Out of This World Literacy : I'm in Africa Working with Teachers!! Find Out Why!
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I'm in Africa Working with Teachers!! Find Out Why!

Hello friends!

I wanted to let you all know that I will be in Uganda from December 6- December 18.  I will not be available to answer any questions during this time.

You may be asking yourself, so why in the world are you going to Africa!?  Over the past few months, I have begun writing curriculum for the schools in Uganda and South Sudan.

None of this would even be possible if it were not for Teachers pay Teachers.  Because of TpT, I was able to stay home this year and focus on my family.  Little did I know at the time that God had bigger plans for me.  I never dreamed I would be going to Africa!!

Teachers pay Teachers got the ball rolling.  And here is how the rest of events happened that led me to the other side of the world...

Major Events that Have Led to Me Writing Curriculum for Africa:

1.  My family moved from WI to AL this summer

2.  Within the first month of being in AL our pastor announced to the church that we would be supporting a missionary couple in Uganda.  He said that if anyone was an educational author, teacher, or knew publishers to contact the church.  I felt like he was talking right to me!

3.  I contacted the church and began talking with Lisa, the missionary in Uganda.

4.  The mission of her and her husband was to create a curriculum for the children of Uganda and South Sudan.

5.  After just a few weeks of communication, Lisa felt strongly that she should come to America and work on beginning to write the curriculum with me.

6.  Lisa arrived in the United States at the beginning of October.

7.  We have been working together almost daily since then.  So far, we have created a framework for the curriculum and have written some early year lessons.

8.  We began discussing the importance of training the teachers on the new curriculum.  We knew that if the teachers were not on board, the education would never reach the millions of children we are trying to teach.

9.  So, we decided I would travel to Uganda and host a week-long training session for teachers on the new curriculum.  Most teachers in Uganda have the equivalent cognitive levels of a freshman in high school.  So, the curriculum needs to be very scripted.  They do not know how to comprehend text or think critically.  These are of course major skills that will be included in the curriculum.  So, in order for teachers to be able to teach reading comprehension and critical thinking, they need to learn it themselves.

10. The training will take place the week of December 6-13, with approximately 60 teachers present and some government officials.

The Major Challenges With Writing Curriculum for Uganda and South Sudan:

1. It needs to be bilingual.  English is the national language in both South Sudan and Uganda.  But, in both countries there are over 50 different mother tongue languages spoken at home.  So, kids come to school with no English.

2. It needs to be taught with little to no resources.  In most schools, the only available resources are pencils
and thin paper.  That's it.  No crayons, markers, posters, math manipulatives, scissors, glue, etc, etc, etc.  There is no ability to make copies or purchase workbooks.

3. Teachers with a 9th grade educational level need to be able to understand and effectively teach the lessons.

4. All the curriculum needs to maintain and African perspective.  Our goal is not to 'Americanize' the next generation of Ugandan children.  We want to build a generation of critical thinkers, who value the written word, are able to reason, and can develop morals and beliefs that will positively affect every aspect of their lives.

If you would like to know more about the work we are doing, you can view this informational video featuring my friend Lisa and her school in Uganda.

Again, thank you all for your patience while I am out of the country.  I will be sure to update you with pictures, video, and all the amazing adventures when I return to the United States.

Best wishes to you all!

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  1. WOW Amazing work! I hope it all goes well for you!

  2. I am truly in awe! Wishing you an amazing trip!

  3. Wow!!! I loved reading about the journey you have been on so far! I hope you have an amazing trip! Prepare to come back with many changed views-- I had American culture shock after coming back from Ghana! Can't wait to hear more about your trip!

    EduKate and Inspire

  4. I am so excited for you and inspired by you! I can't wait to read all about your journey when you get back! Have the most amazing trip ever!

    One Lesson at a Time

  5. This is truly incredible! I'm so glad He set this opportunity in front of you! Have a safe, wonderful trip!

  6. What an amazing ministry! I will be praying for you as you go on this amazing journey!

    Teaching Fourth

  7. Jen,
    I am so excited for you. What an amazing opportunity He has given you! I can't wait to hear about your adventures!

  8. Hi Jen- I stumbled across your blog on Pinterest. I tutor kids at an orphanage in Benin (West Africa) and have the same struggles with curriculum development, or in my case, simply trying to find/take culturally appropriate resources when I travel there each summer. We don't have a school (yet) but I usually try to supplement where the kids are and give ideas to the teachers who are connected to our organization. I would love to hear more about the curriculum you all have made. Have you considered making it available, on your TpT website, or elsewhere on the web? If so, I would definitely be interested. Here is a website for Arbre de Vie, the organization I volunteer for: treeoflifeusa.org
    Praying for this great opportunity and adventure that you're on!


    1. Hi Betsy,

      Thanks for reaching out to me. I would love to talk more about your time in Africa and share some of the things we have so far with you. Feel free to email me at malaya711jb@gmail.com
      Many blessings to you!

  9. Wow Jen! this is so awesome of you to give so much of yourself! Safe travels on your journeys!

    Lcie aka thebeezyteacher

    1. Thank you so much. And I would LOVE to visit Germany on my way through Europe to Africa one day!! :)

  10. I also would love to have access to any curriculum that you've created. I'm headed to Africa in the future and have lots of experience with teaching overseas in different settings, and it's so hard to find good curriculum. Could you share it or sell it on Tpt?

    1. Hello there,

      Thanks for asking me about this. The curriculum is in the very early stages but I would be more than happy to share with you what we have so far. Feel free to email me at malaya711jb@gmail.com

      Best wishes!