Elizabeth V Roach Blog

Hello and Welcome. My name is Elizabeth. I have served children in Bolivia, Peru, Panama and the United States. A graduate of Universidad Santa Maria in Arequipa, Peru, I taught on many levels: pre-school to adult Ed; ESL and Biology/Chemistry, but my favorite is still First Grade. Today, I write for children, and do author visits to schools by SKYPE. Thank you for visiting.
© 2013 Elizabeth V Roach All rights reserved. photos and stories

Thursday, October 3, 2013

My First Skype in the Classroom Author Visit

Elizabeth V Roach
 My First SKYPE Visit
Yesterday, I did my first author visit by SKYPE to a kindergarten class at St. Francis de Sales Catholic School in Newark, OH. What a delight!
Beforehand I had done a test visit to check connections. Then, yesterday, I connected with the class. The teacher immediately advised me the children were very excited about this event.  And they truly were. I introduced myself and greeted the children and their teacher.
I did a little motivation for a story, then read from my book SEVEN STORIES. The book contains seven stories and I read one of them, The Pharaoh and His Toothbrush to the children.  They were so attentive. When I finished I asked a few questions and the teacher asked where I got my ideas for stories.
The children were so responsive. Every question I asked, they gave me a great, "YES!"
Now another class in the same school wants to hear the story, too.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Skype in the Classroom

                               Photo by Shirley King

To see a video of characters in my books, click on link below


This blog began as a collections of stories about how children make peace. I am still collecting such stories. However, from now on, I will be posting experiences with Skype in The Classroom.  This is a website that coordinates visits to classrooms all over the world by using SKYPE for video calls. 

I joined it recently because when I read about it in one of my writers groups. I didn't know anything about SKYPE except that it was a way of communicating over the internet.

I uploaded the program. Then, I learned my laptop needed a microphone/camera gadget.  For about the last five years, laptops have included that hardware, but my mine is older. Happily,  a friend had one I could attach. Set up for SKYPE, I canvassed Maryknoll Sisters to see who uses this program.   When I found a few users, the next step was to practice.

After the first fright of seeing myself online, I discovered settings that allow me to change the lighting and contrast. A light directly behind me gives the background a pink cast. A lamp at a distance makes it blue.

I thought I was all set until I noticed that the background needed a little decor. I am still rehearsing and discovering new details about SKYPE, but I am almost ready to publish my first lesson. After that I just wait until a teacher who wants an author visit contacts me.  

Of course, I am also open to invitations from others, The visit is geared to children 3 to 5, but also for older children in ESL (English as Second Language) groups. How about one in your area?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

How Children Teach us Peace

Children as Teachers of Peace

Children are such wonderful, innocent, loving, trusting members of the human familiy. Yes, I know they can be naughty, too, but a lot of my mission experience was with children. I want to call on those experiences, that I'm sure you have had, too.

Children taught me a lot about God's Love.
Watch them play sometime. They engage with other children. They can quarrel and make up and move on with much more facility than adults. Have you ever stopped a fight on the playground and been surprised to see the two protagonists arm in arm a few minutes later, as if nothing ever happened.

Children taught me a lot about myself, too.
Sometimes, I felt they were like the Holy Spirit. They are like a whisper. You won't hear a thing, if you don't listen carefully. Sometimes, I had to be so gentle, because even a look would inhibit the spontaneity of some children. Teachers need to be so gentle. A severe "school teacher" look can stop a child who was only exploring a new way of doing something.

I learned from children that everybody blossoms with praise. Maybe a First Grader has only managed to make a few letters without going off the line, but he will keep on trying, if you show him he has made even one letter beautiful.

They are trusting and expect fairness, too. Not long ago, I was sitting at a table with a child and her aunt. The child wanted to go and play, but she hadn't eaten very much. Auntie said, "Take two more bites. Then you can go."

Bravely, the little girl picked up the spoon, and took a bite, then another. She waited. When auntie didn't say anything, the child said. "I took two more bites."

Children seem to understand peacemaking. I wish adults could learn how children make peace. I'm sure many of you have seen a child make peace, with a sibling, with an adult who is impatient, or with a teacher who wants perfection.

Let's share our stories. Maybe we can gather some right here.

Monday, June 17, 2013

How Children Make Peace

Salvadoran Children Choose World's Seven Wonders
Excerpt from La SalvadoreƱa Newsletter, July 2007

In 2007, as the world was waiting for the new listing of "Seven Wonders of the World" to be revealed, a group of children at The Children`s Peace Library (Biblioteca de La Paz) in Soyapango, El Salvador. were asked what they would consider to be the Wonders of the world. After some quiet reflection and occasional laughter and giggles, the following are what they named as the world’s WONDERS.

to sing, to pardon, to smile,
to play, friendship, to laugh,
to make peace

Monday, June 3, 2013

How Kamau Made Peace

Kamau was a boy in Kenya.
After his father died, Kamau and his mother were often hungry, until she married a man who became Kamau’s foster father. The foster father worked hard and he sent Kamau to school. The couple had five other children.

When Kamau was in Third Grade, Kamau’s father had been good to him, but now he couldn’t send him to school. He put him to work caring for the animals –the goats and cows. Kamau was angry. He didn’t want to care for the animals. One day he ran away to Nairobi, the capital city.

In Nairobi, he lived on the streets. He got into fights. He learned to steal. He felt alone. Sometimes he was hungry and afraid. One day,a boy told him about Peace House (name changed for privacy). He learned that to go there you had to:
1. agree to change.
2. go to school, and
3. and get along with others.

Kamau found it great for about a month. He went to school with the other boys and came right home every day. But on the street, when he stole something, he sold it to buy fried chicken. He wanted some fried chicken. One day, he said he was sick and stayed home from school.

He took the blankets from the other children’s cots. He slipped out of the house and sold the blankets. When the children came home, they were angry. The counselor advised them to come together to talk about it. They had different opinions:

- some said “good riddance”
- others said, “we have to make him know he is one of us.”
- “we don’t want fights” ( Kamau had fought on the street).
- “but his family doesn’t want him. And we are his only family.”
- “we are all cold now without our blankets. What he does, affects all of us.”

After the discussion, the boys decided to look for him and tell him he could come home. They would forgive him, but he really had to change. Before Kamau had come to Peace House, he had stolen some watches. Now the police tracked the theft to someone at Peace House. When the counselor didn't give information, the counselor was arrested and beaten.

When the boys found Kamau, they told him he could return, but he would have to listen to what they had to say. Kamau sat in a circle with them. They told him how they felt. He was one of them. And they wanted him to stay, but he had to agree to change.

The boys said he had to do something to make up for what he had done. They decided he should care for the counselor who was recovering from the beating. Kamau agreed to this. Every day until the counselor was well, Kamau carried food to him, helped him sit up, did what he could.

Kamau began to understand. He was ashamed of what he had done. He learned he was forgiven and welcome in the group. He did change. He went to school and studied hard. And one day his foster father,who had been looking for him, found him. Kamau was glad to go home. He knew his family needed him. From his friends at Peace House, he had learned what it means to belong to a family.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

How "Billy" Makes Peace

How "Billy" Thinks about Things

Eight-year-old "Billy" suffers from ADHD Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. He is on medication. He is also very intelligent. His mother has just gotten out of prison. His parents are fighting over his custody.

When he seemed overcome with drowsiness in my tutoring session with him, I asked if he hadn't slept. He told me his mother had taken him for the weekend. They went to a party on Sunday evening where he played video games most of the night. The party was far from school, so they began to drive back at five AM.

I asked if he slept in the car.

"No," he said. "My mother was playing loud music all the way."

When I told him he could nap, he put his head down, but didn't sleep. He sat up and commented on a variety of subjects. How caterpillars grow to be butterflies, how he would like to grow up and be able to drive. "No one in my family is a good driver. When we turned off the bridge, my mother hit a rock."

Billy is only eight years old, but he is thinking about how to make his world a safer one. As his parents battle for his custody, he ponders many things.