By PCV Roberta Connors
After returning from Stomp Boot Camp X in June, I was inspired to do a project that was taught to us by Peace Corps Uganda. “Big Books” are teaching aids made out of rice sacks. The best part about them is that you can make any topic into a big book! I decided to start out by making the “Beware of Mrs. Mosquito” book that was available to me on the Stomp Google Drive. I followed the template and made my book in a few hours. It was actually really fun because my husband was at a meeting so I had the afternoon to myself.
The first day I used the book at school was really great. I had the book next to my stuff in the teacher’s room and whenever teachers saw it they became curious and asked about it. Once I explained what it was, they were amazed that I was so creative and asked about how they could make some too. One thing I have learned over the past year is that kids also love when I use teaching aids. I use magazines, comic books, and music with my lessons on a regular basis. When I brought the book to class they were very interested and excited. I created some reading comprehension questions to go with the book as well as some new vocabulary words for their notebooks. We read the book as a class, each kid reading a sentence out loud and afterward discussed the comprehension questions as a class.
My lesson was more of a reading lesson with a malaria message than anything else but some great things came out of it! Because my kids know I am on Stomp, they always come to me when they have a malaria related question or concern. Beyond that, some of my younger students were inspired to create storybooks of their own in English. What can I say, my kids are fabulous!
Next year I am hoping to start the Connors Comic Book Competition where students can submit a comic book they have written in English and compete against their peers. Maybe when I judge, I can tell them they get a few extra points if their comic book is malaria themed. If it all works out, I want the prize for the competition to be money for paying their school fees for the next term.
I would also love to get my book translated into the local language so I can read it to the primary students at my school. I know that they would really get a kick out of it. Overall, the Big Book project is quick, easy, and fun! Kids and adults alike are interested and it can be used in many different types of lessons. So go buy some rice sacks and make your own Big Book today!!