March 4, 2004 - Eureka Reporter: Solomon Islands RPCV Paul Rickard Mixes Up Academics, Fun At South Bay

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Solomon Islands: Peace Corps Solomon Islands : The Peace Corps in the Solomon Islands: March 4, 2004 - Eureka Reporter: Solomon Islands RPCV Paul Rickard Mixes Up Academics, Fun At South Bay

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Solomon Islands RPCV Paul Rickard Mixes Up Academics, Fun At South Bay

Solomon Islands RPCV Paul Rickard Mixes Up Academics, Fun At South Bay

Resource Teacher Mixes Up
Academics, Fun At South Bay
by Leann Whitten
The Eureka Reporter
Paul Rickard is South Bay Elementary’s resource teacher — and his resources, both in the classroom and from his wealth of teaching experience, are aplenty.

Rickard has taught in the South Bay Elementary Union School District for the past 16 years; it’s his seventh at South Bay as resource teacher.

“It’s a wonderful place to work,” Rickard said because of the staff and “wonderful giving community.”

In his nine years at Pine Hill Elementary — the other school of the small district — he taught kindergarten and first grade mainly; he taught a sixth-grade class one year.

And the resume goes on. Rickard’s experience also includes time at a Yurok Indian reservation elementary school and two years teaching through the Peace Corps on the Solomon Islands.

While a majority of Rickard’s time at South Bay is spent with students needing extra help in academic subjects, he works with the entire student body on projects, mainly science — at the school’s on-campus wetlands — and nutrition.

This past Thursday, Rickard’s 9:15 a.m. group of fourth- through sixth-graders completed another step in their Egypt history lesson. They carefully wrapped salted Cornish hens in gauze and duct tape.

Rickard urged the students to respect the hens as much as Egyptians respected their dead. Although a few faces were made, students stayed calm through the exercise.

“Expect the unexpected with teaching,” Rickard said is one of his mottos. And his calm teaching style never shows surprise.

In the coming weeks, students will paper mache their hens and Rickard will lacquer and paint them.

Then students will get to decorate their “mummies” with hieroglyphics and Egyptian art.

There is a life-size sarcophagus in the classroom, but students will place their mummies in a smaller one along with other items they select to create a time capsule of sorts, Rickard said. He said they will bury the sarcophagus at an undisclosed location.

Finally, the students will write about their experience.

“Our first concern is academics, and then after that any enrichment we can tie in,” Rickard said.

After the hens were done for the day, the students gathered around to read the dough recipe they’ve been using in the classroom’s bakery for a while. Rickard said he changes the recipe, on Thursday by doubling it, so students can get different lessons, not just a reading and cooking lesson out of the activity.

There’s also the science aspect, Rickard said, of the bakery – yeast.

Additionally, the cooking gives the class a chance to build camaraderie.

“They’re really helpful to each other,” Rickard said.

And what’s exciting about it for the children?

“We get to cook,” said sixth-grader Marina Gonzales.

After the pizza is complete, which if done correctly students get to eat, students get a math lesson in fractions cutting the pizza up.

“If it doesn’t turn out, we talk about it,” Rickard said. “It’s sort of like a chemistry lesson.”

“It’s OK to mess up,” is one of his rules Rickard said.

“The bakery” has been a component of Rickard’s curriculum since Pine Hill.

“I actually trained kindergarteners and first-graders to use the bakery,” Rickard said, although it took a lot of practice.

Rickard has even managed to get this 7-member class excited about cleaning up. If they do it in less than a minute, “as a group they have to caucus on who is going to represent them.”

Then the selected representatives shoot a foam ball into a basketball hoop across the room, and if they make the shot, which Rickard said is rare, the whole class gets a treat.

“It’s about one out of 100 (shots),” Rickard said.

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Story Source: Eureka Reporter

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Solomon Islands; Secondary Education



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