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Life Update!

Hi everyone! Happy April! I hope you all had a wonderful Easter, celebrating Jesus’s amazing sacrifice! Amefufuka! (He is Risen!) This year has been busy to say the least, but it’s been wonderful! I just returned from Nairobi, Kenya with my friends for a fun Easter weekend getaway! I’ll be sharing more pictures and stories in another post, but today I have some updates and news for you!
Best Day Ever - Hanging out with Giraffes!!!

First, I am very excited to announce that I will be returning to Tanzania for YEAR FIVE of teaching at Hope School! When I first came, I didn’t really know how long I’d be here. I let God take care of that, and I made Moshi my (home-away-from) home! I seriously love being here, teaching our amazing students, and developing relationships with my coworkers & friends. It’s been a stretching, beautiful, hard, fruitful four years, and I’m not done yet! (insert happy dance here!)
My class of fourth graders on Career Day!

Next year, however, my position will look a bit different. I’m not even sure exactly what it will entail yet. That really depends on how many awesome teachers come join me! (HINT HINT!!) But, we’re shifting things a little bit. In the past years, there would be a team of two teachers in each classroom: mostly one Western lead teacher and one Tanzanian assistant teacher. It is a joy to co-teach with local teachers and learn from each other. Next year, we want to empower them more, but still back them up. So, the plan is to have two Tanzanian teachers in each classroom, co-teaching. And for every two classrooms (ex: Kindergarten & First) there will be one Western teacher who will be working alongside them, giving them ideas, working on classroom management, lesson planning, etc. I will also be helping with teacher training at the beginning of the year, to get everyone set up and ready to go! We’ll see how God unfolds everything, but I know it’s where I’m supposed to be, and I’m excited for new adventures!!
On the road in Tanzania!!

Second, I’ve been having some health problems with my right eye. I was born with something called Dwayne’s Syndrome. This means that I cannot track my eye out past the center. Also, as I’ve gotten older, it has turned into the center of my face more. God has masterfully created our brains to re-calibrate, so I haven’t had much double-vision, until this year. Currently, I cannot wear any kind of correction for that eye, as it makes my eye see double-vision. It’s turn has also become more pronounced. I am believing and declaring that God will completely heal my eye- that I’ll be able to see clearly, and it will have a full range of motion. Please continue to pray with me!
I spoke to the students in Chapel a couple weeks ago, and shared about my journey and testimony with them. They all laid hands on me and prayed for me too!! SO Powerful!!

But, I also want to take advantage of the opportunity to possibly have surgery to correct it. It will not completely fix the problem, but it can help by turning the eye out, so that the double-vision will go away, and I’ll be able to use glasses/contacts to see clearly. God has opened the doors for me to be able to hopefully have the surgery this summer! I will be leaving Tanzania before school ends to have an appointment with my eye doctor, and we will decide if now is the time, and get the process going. I’m sad I won’t be able to finish out the school year with my Fourth Graders, but my co-teacher, Esther, will be teaching them for the final few weeks. So I will leave around May 11 to fly back to the U.S. and have my appointment May 15. The goal, if surgery is recommended, is to have surgery the beginning of June to give me two months to recover. I will be returning to Tanzania by the end of the first week of August, if all goes well!

I would so appreciate your prayers!! Here are some ways you can pray for me these next few months:
  •         Healing for my eye! I believe God is our Healer- and He will heal my eye, whether it is through the surgery, or before it even happens! His timing is perfect, and I trust Him!!
  •         The next few weeks in Tanzania – I will be working hard to prepare for the rest of the school year, as well as organizing for easy pack-up in June, for my co-teacher and students. Please pray that God gives me wisdom and lots of time to get everything organized and wrapped up!
  •          My travels back to the U.S.
  •          Favor & Wisdom with my eye doctor – if surgery is necessary, that I would have favor in getting a time slot that gives me plenty of recovery time before August.
  •          Surgery – once again, that God would be with the doctor to do exactly what’s needed for my eye, and that my body would do well in and after surgery
  •          Recovery – that the recovery would be quick and painless, that my body would accept the change of my eye, and my brain would quickly re-calibrate to the new placement of my eye
  •          Teachers – that my school would be able to find and sign on great teachers for next school year! If you or anyone you know may be interested in teaching here with me in Tanzania, please contact me! We would love to have you!


If you made it to the end of this post, thank you!! Thank you for your love and support. Thank you for your prayers!! I so appreciate you. If you have any questions, feel free to comment or reach out to me!! I’m blessed to be serving God in beautiful Tanzania, and am excited to continue doing so after taking care of me this summer!!

Educate, Engage, Enrich, and Enjoy your Math Block!

Teaching a new grade is always a new adventure...one that I welcomed with open arms this year!! After getting the opportunity to be in several different elementary classrooms in college, I felt like my "sweet spot" was teaching 2nd-4th grade. Fast forward to getting my first teaching job- in Tanzania, East Africa! I spent three years teaching Kinder and 1st Grade. I loved the experience, and using my creativity to come up with engaging, hands-on activities, etc. It was GREAT! But, after a couple of years, I wanted a change. This year, I had the opportunity to move to fourth grade...and I'm seriously in LOVE!! It has confirmed my love for the middle elementary grades, and it makes me so happy! I love that they still respect me as their teacher and love school, but we can have deeper conversations and learning moments. It's always challenging to try something new, but this year has been so rewarding!!


I mentioned in an earlier post that I've also been helping some of the new teachers at my school, and planning for and helping with art class for K-6, and planning for another ESL class. It's stretched me, and been really fun to share my knowledge with the other teachers, but it's also made me busier than ever before! Teaching a new grade on top of all that...it's been a bit CRAY!!!


But God is faithful, and I'm ever so thankful for His never-ending waterfall of GRACE.There's been a lot of learning and growing. And I finally feel, now at the end of the first semester, that I'm getting my groove back. This means that I'm no longer just trying to get by with the lessons from the curriculum, I'm trying to add in more meaningful activities that will help what my students are learning STICK...especially in math!! So I thought I'd share some of those things with you all today, if you need some fresh ideas and resources for your math block!!


The first thing I want to share has been a GAME CHANGER!! It is a YouTube Channel called Numberock. They have tons of amazing animated song videos with math content!! My students and I seriously LOVE THEM. Click HERE to discover the awesomeness, and check out the video below too!


I also use actions for EVERYTHING! We're currently wrapping up our geometry unity, and we've gotten up and moving for angles, shape transformations, lines, and more!! For an inside scoop on this, go follow me in Instagram!! I'll be posting videos of these actions soon, as we'll be reviewing for our upcoming test! The original idea came from Rebecca at Create Teach Share. Here's her pin that I found, if you're looking for INCREDIBLE hands-on geometry activities!

ANCHOR CHARTS are my best friend!! I know this is not a new idea for you, but I have a twist I've been working on! Not only do I try to find relevant and exciting anchor charts on Pinterest to recreate with my fourth graders, I've been working on creating versions for THEM to put in their math notebooks!! This is similar to interactive notebooks, but not quite as time-consuming. I create a similar printable to what I'll be making during the lesson, and they will follow along by filling in blanks or adding elements during the lesson.


I have a freebie in my TpT store that you can check out below, if you're interested! It is perfect for your lesson on Quadrilaterals!! They are called Note-able Anchor Charts!!! And, the Shape Transformations one above is coming SOON!


My last way I'm refreshing my math block is through early finisher activities. I usually allow my students who finish early to read, do a puzzle, work on unfinished work, etc. But I've started adding some math games and task cards to my classroom so my "high fliers" will continue reviewing and practicing the important concepts! This week I tried out the Shape Memory from this awesome Shape Classification resource from Fifth is my JAM on TpT!! The kids matched the shape names to their definitions/attributes. It was a great way for them to distinguish between the shapes and angles we had learned about!!


I also am using Teaching with a Mountain View's amazing Geometry Task Cards to review this week!! I can't wait to try out this task card trick I found on Instagram! 

I also LOVE SCOOT for Math practice and review! Sometimes we'll grab our clipboards and head out to the basketball court! (And, little friends will join us!)


I hope you got some fresh ideas for your math block!! I love sharing what I do with you, and would love to hear what works best for YOU in the comments!! Don't forget to enjoy the moments, even when your students don't understand, or you have twenty seconds to prep your lesson...you've got this!! If you'd like to pin this post for later, here's an image for you!

Love, Allie

2017 in Pictures

Wow! This has been a full year, and I can't believe we're already wrapping it up! I'm sorry I've neglected my blog- it's been quite the busy season of life, but I'm excited to share and recap the year through pictures! I hope you've had a wonderful holiday season and are looking forward to what is ahead! 

January




I love visiting churches around the city where I live (Moshi). We went to a village church soon after the new year and got to love on lots of kiddos, and God did amazing miracles! I love being part of His miraculous handiwork!


I introduced labeling to my Kinders also, and they got to label the teacher!! We giggled and had fun, but also got to work on some beginning literacy skills! You can read more about it in THIS blog post!












February

February started off so great!! I got to celebrate this little one and welcome her into the world! I can't believe she is almost one now...it's amazing how fast time flies!
I introduced my label and color resources to my students in February, and they learned how to stretch out the sounds they hear and write them down! Click to see all of these resources and get them for your classroom! 

                 
 

 I witnessed Battle of the Bands: Tanzania Church Choir edition!! It was so much fun seeing all these choirs come and sing/dance in one church! There must have been at least 12-15 choirs there!


  I took my students on a field trip to the greenhouses in February, too!! They got to see the stages of the life cycle, pick Carnation seedlings, and more! I love these hands-on opportunities!  

March


     
We learned about Ancient Egypt in March!! We became Pharoahs with our headdresses and collars. We read along the "Nile River" and also mummified each other in toilet paper!! It was so much fun!




The students learned the game of baseball in P.E.! We taught them the rules and how to play, as most of them hadn't played before! It was a lot of fun, and they loved it.






Of course we had to take some silly selfies too! I love these kiddos and seeing their personalities shine! :)

April





I learned how to make one of my FAVORITE Tanzanian foods - Chapati! It's a lot of work, but it makes delicious flatbread, that's kind of like a combination between a tortilla and naan. SO GOOD!




Kili was showing off on my early morning bus ride to Nairobi, Kenya, where I met up with my friend, Sarah, for a couple of days! She lives there as a missionary as well, and I went to visit her over my Easter break!
We went on a hike in a forest. It was so fun to spend time together - we were really good friends in high school, and reconnected before I left for Tanzania the first year! I love that God has brought us together, both working as missionaries in East Africa!













While in Nairobi, Sarah took me to the Elephant Orphanage, and a beautiful bead shop where the ladies handmake the beads out of clay! It is quite the amazing process.


















I spent Easter with my missionary family back in Moshi. We had church together, a potluck lunch, and did some fun Easter activities with the kids! It was so much fun to celebrate Christ's amazing sacrifice with them.







May

 









In the larger city a couple hours away, there's this beautiful shop called the Shanga Shop. They employ people with handicaps to create beautiful things - hand-blown glass, woven scarves, and all kinds of things for the home. It's always so fun to visit and see what they create!

We also had a Field Day at the school- complete with games, races, and of course FREEZE DANCE! We love having fun!
            

June

 School ended in June, and I packed up for the summer! These lovely friends sent me off at the airport, as I made my way back home for the summer!

















I had the opportunity to make a quick stop in Amsterdam, and traveled into the city center for a few hours! It was my first time, and a beautiful morning. I meandered through the streets, stopped at a corner cafe for coffee and a croissant, and made my way back to the airport through the train station!




I am always so overjoyed to be reunited with my family! My mom welcomed me home with a sign and balloons, and we spent time as a family celebrating my dad's birthday with Shakespeare on the Green. NOT pictured: the unfortunate hailstorm that came later that night during our stop for ice cream!


















July

 I spent time with my grandparents! We went to a fun local bakery and took a trip down memory lane with my grandparents on my dad's side.

Then, I went to a beautiful glass chapel with my grandma on my mom's side! It's right off the main interstate outside of Omaha, and it's absolutely stunning!
I got to spend some time with my besties, and celebrate my friend Emily by throwing her a bridal shower! 


We went on our annual family lake trip too!! It's always awesome to take some time away to relax, refresh, and spend time together! Boat rides, reading on the dock, and enjoying meals as a family are some of my favorite things to do at the lake!





  August






It was so special to support Emily on her special day, and be a bridesmaid in her wedding!! She scheduled the wedding day so I could be there - and I was so glad to be a part of it. The whole day was BEAUTIFUL! I'm so thankful for her friendship! :)















I was able to celebrate my birthday with my family before taking off for Tanzania again! It is always special to spend time with them, no matter what we're doing! 


I jumped right back into the swing of things when I arrived back to my second home of Moshi, Tanzania! We spent the first week back at school getting to know the new staff and bonding through team building activities, worship, and more!

I also found out that I would be teaching fourth grade, and got to set up my classroom and prepare for my students. School started the last week of August!














September










We spent a lot of time reading the first month of school! I especially love the time after lunch I've carved out to read aloud to them each day. My fourth graders LOVE it when we read outside too!! Even more so when the power is off because it is HOT in our classroom (especially with sweaty kids!).

 
We LOVE visiting the Maasai Market in Arusha, a larger city a couple hours away from Moshi. There are endless Tanzanian treasures there, and I love bartering to get the best bang for my buck! We find so many beautiful things there. 

I have the opportunity to help teach art class at our school this year, and I LOVE it!! It is totally up my alley, and I love encouraging the students to let their creativity come out! We made masks with construction paper one week, and every mask was unique and fun!
 We LOVE playing games too! We visited some friends one weekend and played Heads Up. So much fun and lots of laughter!











October

My class LOVES science experiments...we had fun seeing how yeast reacts with sugar!
My friends and I took a fun day trip up to a place called Simba Farm - a couple hours away from Moshi. We stopped for a breathtaking view of Mount Kilimanjaro. I seriously can never get enough of this beauty!










The farm grows organic produce, and houses many animals too. We went on a walk around the farm before eating a delicious farm-to-table meal together!











Here's our group! It is an amazingly beautiful and serene place that I will definitely be returning to! You can even stay there overnight! I love finding these hidden gems while traveling.












Unfortunately my dear friend and our school director, Kara, left Moshi in October. It was scheduled, and we have great new directors, but I was so sad to see her go! She is an amazing friend, fantastic director, and wonderful woman of God. I hope to see her this summer! :)

















We started working out after school with the women (teachers, cooks, etc.) at our school on Tuesdays, and it has been a lot of fun! We've been teaching them the correct way to do squats, push ups, and more. We usually download a YouTube video to project on the wall. Friends who sweat together stay together! :)






 Each month we have a dress-up day at the end of the month at school. October was Book Character Day! I dressed up as Fern from Charlotte's Web, and my co-teacher, Esther, was Mary Poppins!! So much fun!



November 





 One of the BEST parts of my year was becoming an AUNTIE!! We welcomed my sweet nephew, Theodore Wallace, into the world on November 3rd! He is absolutely PERFECT. I was so sad to miss his birth, but ecstatic to be able to see him during Christmas break!



I was honored to be the Hope School employee of the month in November, voted by the other staff members. I love these people and am so glad I get to work alongside them each day!! They make life so much fun and my heart so full!
 The Jacaranda trees bloom in November, and drop their beautiful purple blooms all over. It looks like purple snow!! It makes landscapes in town even more stunning.

December





As the dry season starts, Kili is seen more often! I took a lovely Sunday morning walk and captured this beauty. God's creation never ceases to amaze me!
 We presented our Hope School Christmas play this month! I organized it, once again, but each teacher was responsible for their class's part! My students were the shepherds!! It was so much fun, and we loved seeing the uniqueness of each class, but coming together to share the Christmas story with our students' families and friends was so special too!









Animal Day is always a highlight! Our students are so creative!














The absolute BEST part of the month, and maybe the year, was coming home to the US for Christmas! Not only did I get a break from "eternal summer" as I like to call it, and enjoy Christmas with family and friends, I got to meet, spend time with, and snuggle my sweet nephew!! He is such a sweet boy, and he is our little Teddy bear!! Time with him makes it even harder to go back to Tanzania, even though I know that's where I'm supposed to be. I'm so thankful for the time I got to spend with him and my family this Christmas. It was refreshing, relaxing, and made my heart so happy! 

I hope you had a WONDERFUL 2017 and are looking forward to all that 2018 holds! I wish you a Happy New Year!!