It’s 3:05pm and we’re walking down the hallway of the Julius E. Sprauve School (JESS), heading to class. Our students at the end of the hall can hear our voices and our feet- they come running out of the room, bounding into our arms. There’s a lot of yellow in this school- the walls are yellow, the students’ shirts are yellow. The air conditioner is strong but it still feels like you’re in the tropics because the school is just so colorful.

Today, Wednesday, we’re teaching the kids how to create sketches using the paintbrush tool in Etoys. At JESS we’re making our own fish ponds, showing the kids how you would need to draw your pond and each fish separately so that the fish can “move around” in the water. In Haiti, we were afraid of telling students to do one thing in particular because it made them less imaginative. But sometimes when it comes to learning I think the idea isn’t a bad one to have the students make their own versions of the same thing. By all creating a fish pond, for example (of varying shapes, colors and sizes), the skill of being able to move the fish around in the pond communicates more clearly to each student (versus if the students had each drawn something different). Students also feel more comfortable helping each other because they each understand what the other student is working on.

It’s not perfect, but as you learn with Etoys, nothing is ever truly perfect. It’s just figuring out how to learn from all aspects of your experience- the pros and the cons- that makes the difference.

At the beginning, class is a little bit loud. Kids play music on their computers (the same music that I am accustomed to hearing in Haiti and São Tomé- amazing how this music is so global). But once they get drawing, they grow quiet. They pay very close attention and they listen to their teachers. I watch the mentors interact with the students. They had divided them into five groups (one group for each mentor) around the classroom. Each group faces the projector at front, but they are physically separated so that the mentors can walk in between them and help them out.

Abraham sits in the back. He can’t focus enough to make a fish- he wants to make a big pond with polka dots and then he wants to fill the whole canvas with yellow, and then he wants to put a huge circle on top everything. But if you keep with him, if you give him a minute, you can show him the value of making a pond and then adding a fish later. If you just push him a little bit, he presses “keep” after making the pond, he draws this fish and then he’s *amazed* that you can move the two drawings separately. These are things the kids may not have figured out on their own…but now that they know them, they are all the more powerful for it.

After drawing, the kids talk about their stories in groups. They’re completely engaged with their mentors. It’s a beautiful sight.

Twenty minutes later Abraham is back in his seat (after cruising the classroom for a bit). He’s typing madly away at his computer, a beacon of focus. “The Life of Abraham Browne,” he types, “by Abraham Browne.”

Dinner after school goes quickly as the Columbus girls are prepping for a midnight cruise. Adam Holt and Richard Smith of OLPC arrive a little bit later in the evening, just as dinner is ending. Bernie will be here tomorrow…and the summit crowd is really starting to come together.

Tomorrow is a morning off. I see myself laying on the beach, shooting the breeze, working on my tan, you know the deal. It’s Realness….and it’s Maho.

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