Reading with my local group of students, on Zoom yesterday, my colleague decided to begin with a riddle.
One of the children read it aloud, this sparked them all up. I was glad to see a screen full of lively, passionate children, each of whom wanted to share their solution.
Of course they had similar answers, some of them thought deeply and came up with more complicated combinations of ideas to solve the riddle.
The very quiet, passive students popped up, very animated and had the hands up reaction on.
This has never happened before, with so many students wanting to share at the same time. Siblings prodding each other and having their own discussions before unmuting.
As an observer, I was excited to notice the interest the children showed in trying to find solutions.
Could it be because the riddle had a familiar subject, animals and something they have experienced before?
We question and reflect, especially when the response to our delivery causes a different reaction. Before sharing the answer with the students, my colleague mentioned the examples that were closest to the right answer.
I took the opportunity to share with the students how I solve such problems: by drawing the steps, I explained. I pretend the story is a movie and draw it to help me process what is happening. My colleague said she also visualises the story.
We concluded by stating that all the methods help readers monitor their understanding of any text, especially when the story or text is long or complicated just like our riddle.
A deleted WhatsApp message refreshed our friendship!
My friend Jo did not know which Julie it was. She told me later she was sending a message to another friend called Julie and realised she had sent it to me by mistake and deleted it, quickly.
Well, that was how our one hour conversation started when she phoned later.
I met Jo for the first time a couple of years ago at a seminar. I had watched her on a local Television program and thought what a dynamic lady she was.
Jo was one of the leaders at the seminar.
At the end of the meeting, on the windy morning, she saw me off. It gave us the opportunity to stand outside and enjoy the breeze. We stood chatting for over an hour. We have a lot in common and conversed moving from topic to topic.
The phone conversation was just like the previous time we met. She indicated she had thought about me recently.
Our conversation went on and on and was like a junction with many turnings. We drew from each other, sharing ideas, topics and solutions.
That was a real treat and welcome reunion, for my morning, (although we were miles apart).
I met them and since that day, I visit most days. My love for plants has grown immensely.
Now I find so much joy in being around plants. Almost a year ago I wrote about my Mothers’s love for plants and that passion which my sister R inherited. R’s garden is heavenly, a public space that is evolving.
I steal time after work most days, convince myself I’m going to see R, but end up visiting my friends. They look quaint and the assortment just engulfs me. It’s a serene and beautiful space, which is rare in these parts.
I take walks through the garden, visiting, exploring and trying to spot new addition. Recently I told my friends it is my therapy. The attractive mini-lawns , the lone plantain tree which found its way in the flower pot and many more. The summer hut that is adorned by the hanging plants and many more engrosses you in their mainly green beauty.
Maturity delivers many gifts. I have never been green fingered but now I want to be surrounded by plants. I notice the beautiful flora everywhere I go. I’m glad to say this will surely be added to my pension duties.
Many interested ‘house proud’ young adults are drawn to the “Loading” sign. The sign symbolizing or better still advertising the new garden.
I take many photographs as soon as I visit and hoping my therapy touches others I send them to. My sister in law , in another continent is also entranced by the plants. I gift her the photographs I take she is always extremely grateful.
A whiff on our early morning drive to the mountains one weekend, reminded us of our childhood days, when we spent our holiday with Auntie Rose.
The morning aroma of breakfast being cooked on a coal pot, the smell of the charred wood mixed with the caramelized smell of our local rice porridge, wafted through the air.
As soon as I mentioned the aroma, R (my sister) turned towards me and replied,
“This smell is just like when we were at Auntie Rose’s house in Kumasi.”
I nodded and smiled as that was exactly what the whiff reminded me of.
We were very young when we spent part of our long vacation with her, but that sweet aroma stayed with us.
Auntie Rose lived in a large storey building. It was a communal house where the young ladies would cook a large pot of ‘rice water’ as we called it.
We would line up with their bowls and be spooned thick blobs of the porridge. In those days, we did not think about using sugar sparingly. We would douse the porridge with creamy, canned, concentrated milk adding many cubes of sugar.
It was delicious, very much like a rice pudding and we would eat it with buttery rolls of freshly baked buns. Breakfast was a meal we looked forward to.
I’m remembering many tiny memories as I write the #MinuteMemoirs with TeachWrite members in my notebook.
A very long hall with approximately two hundred students sitting in long rows, in their stiff, purple and white uniforms.
All four of us, contestants, stood in line facing our house members. In front of me I could see four columns with students sitting in fours for each column. I was a champion at spelling and was not going to let my house down. We had been given twelve words on the Monday to memorize for this Wednesday morning’s ‘Spelling Bee’.
I stood there, Mrs Amissah the elderly Nursery Teacher and then Elementary Deputy Principal called my name:
“Juliette,” my heart skipped a beat. My heart was pounding and I broke out in tiny beads of sweat.
“Your word today is , sophisticated.” I had a photographic memory, then.
I could visualize the word written in front of me, I spelt the word.
” Sophisticated, s o ph is ti ca ted, sophisticated”
A loud burst of applause hit my ears, my green house members started jumping up and down. Of course we had won again. I was their “sure banker,” I’m not sure where that phrase came from, but they knew that if I was there they would surely get the points they needed to win. I was shaken, the beads of sweat turned into bigger beads and my armpit was getting sweaty. It stained the edge of the armhole of my school uniform, but I was not embarrassed, I had caused a win! I mopped the sweat on my forehead with my ever present white handkerchief and walked with a sashay proudly to my seat. I knew I would do it again. This was why I got so popular at school.