Category Archives: Students

Volcano Geography Question for Miss Laura’s Rohingya Class

Ciao Rohingya ragazzi! We traveled to southern Italy last week and I recorded a video so I could ask you few questions about one particular place we visited.

When you return from summer break, please research this region and reply with a video response!

P.S. Miss Kim tells me that some of you (eh hem Rashid) love to embarrass people by pointing out when they’ve “passed gas”, proudly adding that “Miss Laura told us that.” Uh, you’re welcome? Understanding the broad reach of this topic, here are a few other terms you might consider rotating into your vocabulary:

  • “rip one” or “ripped one off”
  • “broke wind” (past tense) or “breaking wind”  (present tense gerund)
  • “toot” or “foof”
  • “cut the cheese”
  • “an eruption of evil vapors”

(note – ‘eruption’ is what a volcano does when it explodes with lava and ash and smoke. Kind of like the gasses that pass when people toot!)

By the way I LOVED YOUR LAST VIDEO REPLY! I’m looking forward to your next one.

Love you guys, – Miss Laura

RohingyaFund Is Now a 501c3 Public Charity!

On September 1, we received what we’d worked so hard for: a letter from the IRS approving our public charity 501c3 status.


Now, all donations are tax-deductible for US Federal income taxes. So, if you were thinking of  donating – now’s the time.

The goal $60k by end of September:

  • $30,000 for 2017 operations (teachers salaries / tuition).
  • $30,000 for the endowment fund.
Donate Any Amount For Tuition, Administrative or Endowment Fund.
(You can specify your wishes and we’ll do our best to honor them):

… or, select from various donating options.

This is me with the Director of the Peace Learning, Karina Dewi.
This is me with the Director of the Peace Learning, Karina Dewi.

Positive Discipline in the Classroom

Last week, the ‘Positive Discipline in the Classroom’ materials arrived. A group of teachers and volunteers at the school of Peace are going to meet on the 12th and go through the first DVD of instruction.

I’m very hopeful that these methods will allow us all to unify on disciplinary policies, and inspire the kids to be internally motivated.

I originally encountered Positive Discipline at Village School, in Campbell, California. My son attended this charter school, and, as parents, we were required to attend about 14 hours of training in Positive Discipline. Within the first hour, I was sold. The philosophy is respectful and treats kids humanely. The goal is to teach kids how to be healthy, happy, responsible, self-motivated adults.

From :

The tools and concepts of Positive Discipline include:

  • Mutual respect. Adults model firmness by respecting themselves and the needs of the situation, and kindness by respecting the needs of the child.
  • Identifying the belief behind the behavior. Effective discipline recognizes the reasons kids do what they do and works to change those beliefs, rather than merely attempting to change behavior.
  • Effective communication and problem solving skills.
  • Discipline that teaches (and is neither permissive nor punitive).
  • Focusing on solutions instead of punishment.
  • Encouragement (instead of praise). Encouragement notices effort and improvement, not just success, and builds long-term self-esteem and empowerment.

Discipline Hands

Free and lawless learning. Sounds like fun… but in the classroom? Disaster. That was last week: mayhem, disruptions, disorder.

So this week, I laid down the law; we started with clear rules, and I reminded the students of the rules through the day. We followed a system, whereby rule followers would earn points. Lastly, a prize: whoever earned 25 points got to take a unicycle home for the day.


The Rules:
Raise hand for permission to speak or leave
Strive to make your teacher happy
Wait to talk to each other after class
Keep hands to selves
Discipline hands (shoulders back, back straight, face forward, hands folded over each other on the table)

Rukiyah won the day. She raised her hand, participated, and held discipline hands nearly the entire time.

Three new kids, who know very little English, wanted to join the class. I let them in on one condition: they follow the rules. Guess who were my most attentive students?


Settlers of Catan and SORRY!

After the kids demonstrated they could read quietly for eight whole minutes straight, without a single peep, we did slow breathing exercises, complimented each other, then got down to the English grammar lesson: singular and plural nouns. Then we played games to practice using both kinds of nouns.

SettlersHere’s Rukiah and Kopinur, setting up a second game of Settlers of Catan. Kopinur spanked us on the first round. She built the longest road, assembled the largest army, and seemed unstoppable constructing roads, settlements and cities.

That’s Faisal, dropping a photo-bomb in the background. He grew tired of playing Sorry! at the other table, so I had him write a singular and plural nouns on the white board. He did very well. When the student helpers from Minnesota showed up, they helped him come up with more.

The Khan is Strong with this One

Last week, I drove to Sumayyah’s apartment at least four times – each time debugging something that had gone wrong with her laptop.  Examples:

  • passwords on Khan weren’t working
  • Windows 8 clock wouldn’t synchronize, as such, https certificates failed authentication (end result: no Khan Academy access)
  • one month pre-paid wifi sim card ran out of data, 2 weeks early

So much driving, so much time at digi wireless help desk, so much time sitting in traffic on Jalan Scottland. Okay, I’ll stop being a complainy-pants now. At long last, a few days ago, we had her set up properly. With a 6 month pre-paid sim card allowing twice the data per month, she now has unfettered access to Khan Academy.


From what I can tell, she’s knocking her lessons out of the park. Check out this activity graph. She’s earned badges every day since she got back on track five days ago.

From my Khan Academy dashboard, I see her activity and progress.  It took a while, but it seems she’s finally set up. And working hard. I’m proud of her.