Max, Mark, and I had our first class at Bonnytoun today. We were given 20 boys from Mars 2, and we worked with all of them together, just trying to get to know them and get an idea of their literacy levels. We played a few games, did an ice-breaker or two, and then broke up into three groups to read (similar to the extra-curricular literacy program). I worked with six boys, and again read a Dr. Seuss book. Of the six, two were good readers, one was an okay reader, and one tried to read, but couldn’t. He only got one work right on the page. The other two boys said they couldn’t read either. I suspect that they actually can, and I pushed them a little to try… but they weren’t having it. I especially liked Bradley in my group. He was one of the best readers, but didn’t try to dominate the reading like the other top reader in the group (I had to stop him to get him to pass the book on). Bradley was especially attentive, and a little shy, but very polite. He had exceptionally good handwriting, which made me wonder if he’s had more schooling than other boys in the group. I don’t know what we’re going to plan out specifically for future classes, but we certainly need to try to divide the boys by academic ability.
After class, we played red light-green for a while with the boys, and then Max, Mark, and I walked down the street and had some lunch before coming back to Bonnytoun to do a soccer program with another group, Mars 1, who I worked with last Thursday. Sabelo wasn’t there, but Siyanda was. He recognized me, and I think he was impressed that I remembered his name. I joined in the soccer game, but was definitely the weakest player. It was pretty fun, and a couple of the boys on my team would always make a point to pass me the ball. When the ball came toward me, they were encouraging ("Lisa! Lisa!")... of course I’d just kick it away to someone as quickly as possible. Overall I had fun (with the exception of Max heading the ball straight into my face!). It was good to see the boys so engaged in the game. A few were really exceptional ball handlers. I hope to bring my camera in sometime, after working at Bonnytoun for a while, to take pictures of the boys in action.