Teaching Third-Graders to Gamble

September 13, 2013

  Poor Lomodro and Merlynn!  It's Monday afternoon, school is over and the rest of their friends are off playing.  But not them.  No, they have to sit with their Auntie and do more school, practicing math and learning English.  That's right, I have some new students.  The WAM (Waan Aelon en Majel) canoe program hasn't started up a new class here on Ebeye yet, so instead of teaching 20 young men how to get a job, I'm teaching two third graders: my son's older brother and his cousin.
  In some ways, teaching Lomodro and Merlynn is a lot more challenging than teaching to the big WAM class.  The kids don't want to be there and are too little to see any incentive to do more studying after school.  And they speak almost no English, and my Marshallese isn't even close to being up for the task.  We're muddling through, and doing okay so far though.
  There is a lot of rote learning the Marshallese educational system (the class sizes are huge so there's not much else they can do), and I want to try to engage them and make it interesting.  At the end of our class last week, I brought out a pack of dice and a box of poker chips and taught the kids and Bubu to play "Ship, Captain, Crew", a gambling dice game (counting, numbers, memory skills, English communication- hurray for learning through games!).  The object of the game is to roll five dice and get a 6 (the ship), a 5 (the captain), and a 4 (the crew), in that order, in three rolls.  The other two dice are the "point" and the one with the highest "point" wins the round.  Everyone pays one chip each round to play and the one with the most chips at the end wins.  Bubu won last time but I think there's going to be some fierce competition this week!

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