Unfortunately Accra, Ghana has very little green space and few places for people to find balance and be social beyond the classroom.  Our family looked for ways to build community to foster the values best learned when enjoying sports and activities. A colorful life requires fun!  Here are the ways the projects we've begun to work on in our first year here and continue to facilitate now.
Our daughters are the first female and first foreign members of the Accra Tesano Tennis team.  Their game improves while they grow more adaptable and globally-minded by making friends they wouldn't be able to meet otherwise.  This team has introduced us to Tennis in Africa and we're happy to volunteer our time to create opportunities to spread the game of tennis in our region.
My husband, Mark, is a longtime coach, so for him offering workshop, organizing tournaments, and putting together some friendly games is a rewarding way to inspire his players and tap into his passion.  He has learned a great deal from the DUNK coaches about the game and made some new friends.
CORNHOLE is an easy going game that people of any age can learn quickly and enjoy together.  We constructed and painted Cornhole boards to make recesses and breaks more social and less screen time!  An unconventional way to share our art, but certainly appreciated.  Student share responsibility for self-managing the games and bean bags and teach their peers to respect the game so that it can continued to be enjoyed by all.


My fifth grade daughter, Hayden, learned this on Pinterest and asked me to help her start a recycling campaign.  MS and ES teamed up to host a Saturday workshop to make the ropes that got kids at DUNK and Lincoln moving.
We've been inspired by the Queen of Katwe, the first female chess champ of Uganda.  Chess teaches us to be present, adaptable thinkers.  Since last spring we've been making chess boards from recycled object and sharing the game with each other and our friends at DUNK in Jamestown.

As an art teacher, I love that this unit uses creativity and craft to connect us in a new way.  From a standard and benchmarks perspective, I got to cover a huge variety of skills and techniques in the process.  From color theory in acrylics, to sculpting with armature wire, to exploring the properties of media and adhesives.  It's not often that I repeat a unit, but this one is a keeper!  Student motivation was off the charts.  Tinkering and tools roped in even the most reluctant artists and we all could take turns learning from one another. Form meets function and then the fun continues.

DECEMBER 8, 2018