How is it going?
I write to you from my chilly room on a day when there is a slight dusting of snow on the ground in shady areas. The combination of this and the Christmas decorations at my friend's house have birthed in me an eager anticipation for the Christmas season.
First though, I look forward to spending Thanksgiving in San Diego with my sister and brother-in-law, as well as my parents. Perhaps that burst of sunshine and warm weather will quell the desire for winter. Perhaps it will feed it.
Anyways, today I wanted to share with you a simple and easy "game" I've been using to help my tutoring client with addition and subtraction. Though the general idea is pretty common, I made some new rules for it that have worked out well. They also allow her to practice place value and comparing numbers.
Compose, Compare, Compute (CCC)
To play the game you need a deck of cards and either a paper and pencil or a white board and marker.
1. Draw 2 or more cards (based on how many digits you want in the number)
2. Use the cards to make the greatest number possible. (Students rearrange the numbers in each place value spot. For example, the greatest number that 2, 7, and 5 makes is 752.)
3. Repeat the above steps to make a new number. Arrange the number below the first one.
4. Compare the numbers to decide which is greater.
5. Decide if you should add or subtract. If the greater number is on top, you can add or subtract. If the greater number is on the bottom, you must subtract.
6. Solve the problem.
Super simple concept. Lots of practice. My particular student is in second grade, so she makes 3-digit numbers. I love that she gets to reinforce her understanding of place value, comparing numbers, and addition and subtraction both with and without regrouping. Her mind stays engaged because there are some many different steps. Using the cards is more fun that doing a worksheet. It's a total success for both of us.
Now, it's time for your favorite part of the post. At least it's mine. Hehe. Another entry from my India journal awaits...
Farm Trip Day 1
Morning came early and got busy quickly: breakfast, loading luggage, picking cars for the drive. K, H, and I chose to ride in the back of P’s little red car, so that H could braid our hair as we road. Also, we wanted to protect my toe, which refused to let me wear sneakers. Therefore, S had splinted and taped it with popsicle sticks from the craft supplies. God has such a sense of humor for making me wear only flip flops when I said, “no flip flops” to everyone else.
Once everyone was squished in, we set off for the farm. It was supposed to be a 2 hour drive, but I knew it would be longer. Just as I thought, it got longer even before we left the city. Shortly after leaving, we stopped outside of M and P’s home to pick up their children. Both our driver and the van driver left their vehicles, leaving 14 Americans sitting conspicuously on the street. A few minutes later, a truck driver needed to back his truck through the space in between our vehicles. Finding that he did not have enough room, he decided to get out and to try to get into our van. K, H, and I were freaking out as we watched the man climb into the driver’s side. We had no idea what was about to happen. Fortunately, we did not have to wait to find out. P, M, and the van driver came back just in time and “rescued” the van. The driver quickly moved out of the truck’s way and all was well.
On our way again, I decided it was time to prompt M to share her and P’s story. It’s such a tale of surrendering to God’s plan and coming together to serve. I knew the girls would love hearing it. Sure enough, they did.
By now, we were outside Hyderabad and stopping on the side of desolate roads to let P's son puke. Poor kid was horribly car sick. Further along, we stopped to pick up supplies and were surprised when M treated us with chips. Greasy, crispy goodness.
Closer to the farm, rocky mountains appeared alongside palm trees. Huge boulders jutted out of the sandy landscape prompting K to ask, “How do rocks get that big?” Hehe.
Though laughing on the outside, inwardly, I was nervous. I feared I wouldn’t remember the kids. My “second trip advantage” would be drowned out by the sheer number of kids. I only bonded with a few last year and many of the 50 were likely to be new faces.
Turns out, like most of my trip anxieties, this one came true. The very first moment at the farm involved me rolling down my window and a lanky, teenage boy with a chai-colored complexion asking, “Sister, what’s my name?”
Vague memory of the face, but no name to speak of.
I apologized and he graciously reminded me that it was “G.” Still feeling a bit foolish, I proceeded to call Mh, Rh. Fail.
Fortunately, the boys were all forgiving and our mutual excitement at seeing each other allowed us to move on quickly. My nerves disappeared when V appeared! Upon seeing me, his face lit up just as I felt mine do the same.
Before really engaging with the kids, those of us from the small car joined those from the van where they were meeting the pastors. Pastor S puts together many training programs for pastors all over the city. The pastors smiled big as we greeted them and were thankful to have us pray.
Then, it was time to unleash the children. Picking out rooms interrupting the initial greetings, but did not take long. As each teammate mingled with the throngs, I paired up with V. Of course, he began reciting Telugu and quizzing me on it. Last year, he had been my personal Telugu teacher and it appeared that he would be this year as well.
Little hands reached out for big hands and little feet began leading big feet out to the fields for a tour. Though my toe hurt, I was determined to go. There is nothing like the wide open sky, the mountain speckled landscape, and the wet green rice paddies. The place exudes peace and quiet, even with 50 children milling about.
The walk got eventful when a bull decided to charge me and then chase T. V had to run it off with a stick. P asked me why I did not listen when he said to run. To be honest, I had not heard him at all because of listening to V. Guess I shouldn’t have worn red.
Back at the main area, lunch was set up. It was not truly Indian, but really good meat and cabbage with rice. I opted for some of the spicy curry and for a cup of Thumb’s Up. So weird how I never drink soda in the U.S., but in India, I love it. Sweet and fizzy cuts through spicy and dense.
The team headed over to Father’s Farm for playtime. The courtyard between the homes was sweltering in the direct sunlight.
Cricket bats and balls came out. The guys immediately started hitting, throwing, and running as they learned the game. I tried briefly and actually hit the ball twice! The bounces on the pitches helped a lot. Unfortunately, R caught the second hit and got me out.
Over in the shade of an under-construction home, I talked with P, Vi’s new wife. He is 24. She is 19. Together they care for the orphan girls on the farm. Hard to believe just last year, he was still living with his father and finishing his degree. Though both of them are so young, they have already stepped up to care for orphans. No need to sew wild oats first.
For the rest of the time, I tried to play and talk with V and some other kids. This year just doesn’t feel the same at all. I am not a singer, a dancer, or athlete. Others are better at crafts and good at skits. K and Ki are recording names. T and Ki have photography covered.
What’s my role?
I know I am a team leader, but I also want to be a team member. I don’t feel like a strong leader and all my sweets spots from last year are taken and better filled by others. The time is too short to know new kids and to hear stories.
Why are we here?
To play with kids is fun and special to them, but what are we leaving behind?
Stuff. A few memories.
I trust the Lord has His purposes, perhaps to spark a beautiful long term investment through church partnership. At least that is my hope and prayer.
As evening neared, P needed help with the barbecue. He sent me ahead though because of my toe. Others carried long poles of wood for the bonfire, while I snapped photos. It felt good to be behind the camera for a bit. A chance to escape.
Before dinner, some of us sat and chatted in the dusky light. We also applied the natural mosquito cream that M so generously provided. Darkness kicked in and with no power in the buildings, it was pitch black. T and I used my flashlight and camera to create light paintings. Cool.
Soon, the grills were covered in small chunks of freshly killed chicken and turkey. Rice, green beans, and chicken soup were served. Though the meat was stiff and bony, it had good flavor. Later, the team marveled at how different modified American meat and bananas look from real, fresh food.
After dinner we attempted One Word Stories at my suggestion. When they did not work so well, someone suggested Telephone and Broken Telephone. Funny.
We moved over to the tall bonfire, but N and I had to change spots immediately because the wind was blowing sparks straight towards us. Then, we all ended up moving back tons more to escape the sweltering heat.
Though initially impressive, the fire soon collapse. Meanwhile, I went over plans with M before announcing them to the group. Some went to bed, but others stayed out for a while.
I talked with four boys about the gospel, prayer, and memory verses. They recited some for me in Telugu. Talking to them about the Lord helped lift my mood a bit. Then, K, N, and I headed to the bed in the new guest house.
Though new, the guest house is anything but luxurious. Cement floors. Western toilet (nice), but bucket flush only. Loud fan. Mosquito nets. Bugs. Lizards. Etc.
Home sweet, Indian home.
I slept like the dead.