Cook Islands: Students from Takitumu School

Photos from Catherine Basaraba, Toronto, Canada Pop-Ups by students of the Takitumu Elementary School, Rarotonga, Cook Islands Email: catherinebasaraba@hotmail.com "I spent a month volunteering in the Cook Islands (in the south Pacific four hours northeast of New Zealand). My main work was with grade four students at a lovely elementary school. The school has one class of about 25 students for each grade. The kids are of course very bright and articulate, and speak English from birth, but grade four is the first year that they learn to read and write in English. (Their first language is Cook Islands Maori, a subset of NZ Maori.) So the volunteers work with the individual kids who are having trouble keeping pace. I was helping eight of these children, and wanted to do something with them to make them feel special. There is a computer in the principal's office which I used to download your popup pattern for a flower, copied it onto some sheets of construction paper and demonstrated how to make the popup. They loved the demonstration but wanted to try something simpler. Coincidentally it was September 1st when we started, and in their country Father's Day is the first Sunday of September. I asked them if they'd like to make a Father's Day card. They had glue sticks and some art supplies that former volunteers had either brought or sent, so we decided to give it a try. I went back to the web site and reviewed the simplest pattern, a basic "mouth," so that they could create a favourite animal as their popup. I asked them to think of their Dad's, stepdad's or even their own favourite, if they didn't have a dad. The wonderful thing for me was that the animals were so unexpected: a pet eagle, a rooster, a lion and bear they'd seen in a book, as well as the regular pet dog. I worked with two kids at a time, not giving too much direction, but helping with a bit of the cutting and asking them to choose the outside paper according to what colour they wanted the inside of the mouth to be. They took off as if they'd been doing this forever. The kids in the grade four class all wanted to learn, so they next day my eight kids taught them how to make their own. That way everybody had a card by Sunday. The next day they all brought them back to have an exhibit for the rest of the school. It was really something they could be proud of, and since it all started with your web site, I wanted you to know about it." Note: All photos on this page are (c) Catherine Basaraba, Toronto, Canada. Do not use without permission! Back to the International Pop-Up Gallery

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