Headmaster Thomas Visits ThinkFun and Swanson
by Elisa Joseph Anders
On April 30th, REACH Headmaster Thomas and I visited ThinkFun (makers of Math Dice, Rush Hour, and other mind-challenging games). We spoke with Founders Bill Ritichie and Andrea Barthello and curriculum specialist Charlotte Fixler about ways to work together to help REACH students develop critical thinking and math skills. They made excellent suggestions about games and logic puzzles that REACH can work into the curriculum. Thomas will return to Uganda with lots of ideas that he can discuss with the teachers and implement in and outside of the classroom. We appreciate ThinkFun’s enthusiastic support of our program and are pleased to further our partnership. Our relationship started last year, when ThinkFun donated 100 sets of Math Dice to REACH. (Read our post about Math Dice in Uganda on ThinkFun’s blog.)
The following week, Thomas and I visited Swanson Middle School for a day of sharing and learning. Principal Chrystal Forrester and Assistant Principal Bridget Loft were wonderful hosts. Bridget had arranged for Thomas to visit classrooms, meet with teachers, students, and counselors, and even listen to a few bands. The 8th grade World Geography classes had watched From One Village in December. Some of these students met with Thomas during lunch and asked him many questions about life and education in Uganda. Families of several of the students in this group sponsor students at REACH; one student’s family sponsors four REACH students! Thomas was very impressed and grateful for the opportunity to see various types of learning and student engagement at the middle school level. Thomas will take a Swanson mug and backpack back to Uganda with him – and many ideas and memories from his special day at an outstanding US middle school. Many thanks to Chrys, Bridget, and the Swanson teachers and students who made time to share with Thomas.