24 March 2013

Highlight from a Reading Log

One of the homework tasks I require of my 4th grade students is 15 minutes of independent or shared reading, followed by a comment in their Reading Log. They have a choice of the 11 response starters below and each week they must choose 4 different starters.

A.  The main idea of what I read was ...
B.  My favourite part was ___________________.
I like this part because ...
C.  My favourite sentence was _______________.
I like this sentence because ...
D.  This reminds me of ...
E.  I did not like the part when ______________.
I did not like this part because ...
F.  A question I have is ____________________?
I think the answer to my question is ...
G.  I wonder why _________________(character’s name) said or did ...
H.  I love the way the author ________________.
I like this because ...
I.   What I think will happen next is ...
J.  I agree (or disagree) with _________________ _______________, because ...
K.  I didn’t understand the part when ...

Yesterday I was busy reviewing the Reading Logs when I came across this gem:

"I love the way the author make new words for me. I like this because if I know alot of new words and how to spell them I would get my spelling test right every Thursday or I could be smarter than Miss Karen."

You can't help loving this student's thinking! This student is stretching himself with fairly advanced Chapter Books, and comments like this help me know he's thinking about what he's reading. Awesome. I love it when my kids use the strategies I teach them to take their own learning to the next level.

18 March 2013

Road Safety

Those who have known me for some time, and who receive my prayer letters will know that one prayer request that appears almost every time is for safety on the roads.

The Phnom Penh Post recently reported on a WHO report on Road Safety. The situation is not good, although Cambodia does appear to fare a little better than some other Asian countries.

For now, let's just compare Cambodia and Australia

Cambodia has 39,618km of roads, of which just 2,492km are paved.
Australia has 823,217km of roads, of which 356,343km are paved.

Cambodia has a population of about 15,000,000.
Australia has a population of about 22,000,000.

Cambodia has 1 372 525 registered 2 & 3 wheeled motorised vehicles.
Australia has 660 107 vehicles in the same category.

Cambodia has just 244 267 cars and 4-wheeled light vehicles.
Australia has 14 729 973 vehicles in the same category.

In Cambodia, motorbike helmets are mandatory for drivers but not passengers. The facts are that about 65% of drivers wear helmets and only 9% of passengers!
In Australia, helmets are compulsory for both driver and passenger and 99% of drivers wear them!

Sadly, the 2010 road tolls for both countries are not good. In Australia there were 1363 reported road fatalities, which is about 6/100,000 people, which is down from 9/100,000 people ten years ago. In Cambodia, there were 1816 report road fatalities, which is about 12/100,000 people, up from 4/100,000 people that it was ten years ago.

There are more and more motos and cars on the streets of Phnom Penh every day, and I frequently see more powerful bikes (250cc up) where previously most were 100cc!

In Australia >75% of seriously injured persons are transported by ambulance.
In Cambodia that figure is somewhere between 11% and 49%.

So where does that leave me? Well, it leaves me with a healthy respect for life when I get on my motorbike. I wear a helmet everytime I get on the bike, or even on someone else's bike. I never use my phone while riding. I am conscious that as I ride, I need to be constantly aware of the other road users. And most of all, I cover prayer for my safety as I travel on the roads.

I'm glad that I now live a short walk from school, so don't use the moto on the daily basis that I used to, but I do still use it regularly. For those who read this post, please continue to pray for safety on Cambodia's roads, both for me and my friends and colleagues. Pray that we will be safe and alert riders, and that God will continue to guard our safety as we seek to serve Him in this land.