December Plans

So, I have three teaching weeks in December before break and I wanted to write out my holiday plans for the kids.
First off, Christmas is my favvvvvvorite holiday so I’m hoping to spread some holiday cheer with them.

I’ve nearly finished a Powerpoint presentation on the three main winter holidays in the Western world, or at least as far as I’m aware.  I’m going to break up the Powerpoint and talk about Hanukkah the first week, Christmas the second week and Kwanzaa the third week.  That’s the order they fall in this year, so it works out nicely.  Christmas decorations have recently started to become more of a thing where I’m living, so I’m hoping to tell them about the spirit of giving and family, and not only Santa and presents.  I don’t celebrate Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, but I’m hoping to at least make them aware of the different holidays that are going on this time of year.  Lots of Googling going on these days.
Note: if you celebrate Kwanzaa and want to make sure I include something important, feel free to send me a message!  I’m just going off what I find online.

I’m also super grateful that my classes are fairly flexible and that the parents seem to be ok with whatever I do with the kids.
I’m thinking about having a cookie-making contest with my 2 youngest classes and making a gingerbread house from graham crackers (or cookies) with the last/oldest class.  I only have so many graham crackers, and the last class is a bit older and smaller, so it might be a bit more manageable.
I just thought up the cookie-making contest the other day and I think it would be good fun.  I only have 8-9 kids in my first two classes (yay for the after-school academies!), so I’d like to make copies of the directions, teach basic words and then put them into teams.  They could try and make the same recipe and see how they turn out at the end.  Maybe do this the day before break.
1. Learning a new skill
2. Everyone loves holiday cookies!
3. All in English
4. Kids love competition 🙂

Anyway, those are my current plans 🙂

Oooooh!!  Maybe I could even put together a little holiday cookie recipe book!  How fun!

Ya know, sometimes I wish I could shut my brain off and just go through life like a normal person…

I was also thinking of doing a small holiday craft related to the “holiday of the week” so they can get more into it.  I’ve seen a few easy Hanukkah-related activities already and they seem fairly simple.

Anyway…my favorite time of year is upon us and I’m stuffed to the brim from my Thanksgiving dinner.  Life is good.  Just need to find another sub for my class (last one was rejected because apparently she has the wrong sort of visa…oi.)…aside from that stress, things are good.  🙂

Also, why am I thinking of more pumpkin pie when I’m still full?

Easy cookie recipes for future reference (for me):
http://www.food.com/recipe/eloises-easy-sugar-cookies-82945

http://www.food.com/recipe/soft-snickerdoodle-cookies-97496

Mayyybe these depending on the students (allergy)
http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/classic-peanut-butter-blossom-cookies/a3563f6e-96b0-443f-ae0a-53cef4be6db6

I’d also looooove to do these because they’re amazing:
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/chocolate-crinkles-ii/

But I can’t find a recipe at the moment that doesn’t involve putting them into the fridge for x amount of hours…
Anyway, fun (and delicious) times await 😀

Advertisements

Lots of Love :)

I just wanted to share some of the things my kiddos have made for me in the past few weeks 🙂

love1
love2
love3

love4

The first one was just the front and back of a sheet of paper.  I was making something for a display before class and they took the scrap and wrote on it in “secret” and then gave it to me when they were finished.  🙂  They did it in pencil so it’s pretty light; you might have to click on them to view them properly.
Another girl gave me a bracelet too 😀  It’s made out of those plastic beads that link together.  Cute cute cute!

The last two are from a student that had his last day on Friday.  He’s moving to a new city and gave me the present at the end of class.  I wasn’t expecting anything and it was so sweet.  I loved the letter and I have it hanging on my refrigerator.  🙂

Anyway, I’ve been keeping busy over here.  The penpal letters are finished (minus one student that left his at home and keeps forgetting it…which is delaying me sending the package..oi.) and I’m going to send them off on Monday.
I have 3 envelopes going out.  One for the younger students to a group of kids in Illinois and one to my second cousin (I think that’s the proper name for her) who is the same age as my students.  She’s going to be paired up with one of my kiddos.  Then I’ll mail out the second one on Tuesday I guess because of that last kid.  If he doesn’t bring his letter on Monday, then I’ll have him write a new one.  Can’t have 50 other students waiting for one kid to get organized.

Also, I’m going to a Thanksgiving party in just a bit.  It’s a bit delayed, but as Thanksgiving isn’t a holiday here, our group moved it to the weekend so we all have time and can meet up properly for it instead of having it super late at night.

Annnd lastly, I put up my Christmas decorations yesterday 😀

christmas1christmas2

Busy Busy…

Yesterday, I started day one of including Powerpoint presentations into my class with my oldest students.  I needed something to get them off their butts because they have the most difficult workbooks and the longest books of the classes I teach.
I took them down to the library and we’re working on making Powerpoints on what they’re thankful for.  I wanted to start with a fairly easy topic while they get used to it.  Some kids have already used the software before so that’s pretty helpful (except when they get too focused on changing the different aspects of the slides and not enough on the writing…) Ah well.

When they’re finished, I’m planning to incorporate presentations into our Monday schedules, so, should be interesting.  I want to teach them about a Works Cited/plagiarism as well because it’s a rampant problem here.  That and I think if they’re going to learn how to do a presentation, we might as well cover all of the bases.
This is also kind of a test-run because I might want to use it with my new “high level” students when we switch the classes around in January.

Oh, and I’m working on a second music CD–this time for the older kids.  I think it was pretty fun for the kids and useful as I have some of my students coming in singing some of the songs (or lines from the songs) when they come in.  It’s not very many students, but I think it’s another great way to bring real-life English a few steps closer to them, in a less intimidating way and it’s really not that much work.  The hardest part of the whole endeavor was finding the bags to put everything in.

Anyway, busy as always.
30 days til vacation 😛

Still trying to find a hamster-sitter to watch Munch while I’m away :-/

*Dance Dance*

I was a bit concerned about my youngest kids and this penpal project because we’re matching the kids up with 5th graders and I didn’t know if (1) they would have much to talk about with the age gap (my youngest: 1 kindy and some 1st graders) and (2) ability level.
So, I did some poking around and I got another class (THANK YOU MATT!!!!!!!!!) that is interested in writing to my youngest babies.  They’re kindergarten, but apparently fairly advanced.  Either way, that would be great practice for them.

Yay!  😀 😀
Still awaiting a confirmation email on the second school from the teacher herself, but I’m feeling good.  Happy week 😀

More Excitement :D

This is a tiny post but I can’t contain my excitement to combine it with something else, so here we are.

I have been toying with the idea of organizing a penpal project for my students for awhile (just brewing in the back of my mind) and I mentioned it to my boss today and got it approved!
I wrote out a message to all of my teacher friends in the US and UK asking if they would like to write to my kids and participate and I just got someone who was as excited as I am.  Less than 3 hours later.  😀 😀 😀

I did a mini-penpal thing a few months back where my kids wrote to “a book character” (me) and I wrote a custom letter back to each of them.  It was a ton of work though (20+ custom letters).  We did it back and forth twice and they got excited about the letters, but I think this will be more exciting.  They’ll have real kids their own age and they can practice writing in a real sense…not just in a workbook or for a test.
Maybe even form some long-term friendships??

Anyway, I had long day Friday and was ready to leave, but now with this new little project, I’m excited for Monday to get here 😀

The Sooneung Exam

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/24642646″>ExamiNation: a short documentary</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/judysuh”>Judy Suh</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

http://vimeo.com/24642646

This was a short documentary on the Sooneung Exam, or college entrance exam here in Korea.

—-
For a long while, I would hear about these exams and just think to myself “Well, if you’re so stressed, then just take a few days off and go do something else.”
I still feel that way to an extent because I don’t think life should be about memorizing facts for one exam and that one person simply can’t retain information after studying for days and days, or years and years at a time.  You need rest, proper exercise and good food.

BUT…I do understand where they are coming from.  If you’re the one friend that is off playing or wandering around, I think you’d soon be labeled as lazy and that you didn’t care about your future.  If everyone you know is studying like this, then it starts to become the norm.  “You get used to it” as she said in the video.  It makes me incredibly glad for the type of high school I attended, where both social and academics were important.  A balance between the two.

I hope that the Korean government and the schools are able to come up with a new sort of exam, or one that isn’t so stressful.  One exam to dictate the path of one’s future.  I definitely don’t envy them, but videos like this help to educate those who are not living in Korea as to what it’s like as a student here.
I’ve heard that elementary school is more relaxed here but typically once middle school begins, then the preparation for this exam also begins.
The scores on this exam dictate what kind of schools they’re able to get into and what sorts of jobs they’ll be able to apply for.  The types of schools and jobs then create a path for the type of person they’re likely to meet and marry.
Just a tad bit stressful.
However, they’re over now for this year’s seniors, so they’re finally free.  🙂

Hurrah! Hurrah!

These last two weeks have been killer.  Last week dragged on like none other but this one went quickly but I’m feeling worn for whatever reason.  Either way, that brings me closer to the holidays, so it’s alright 🙂

Speaking of holidays, my friend’s friend owns a bar here and for Thanksgiving he’s closing down the bar and having a private get together.  So I’m going with my friend and some others and we’ll have our own Thanksgiving, complete with all or mostly-all of the “fixins'” as they say.  Pumpkin pie, turkey and anything else people can whip up.

The actual reason I came on here to post was that, well even with all my trips and things, I’ve become fairly good at saving money.  I wasn’t able to do it before I came here so it’s nice to finally be able to put money away.
I remember being at home while working my last job 40+ hours a week and barely able to make ends meet, with my $400/month student loan payments, car payments, insurance, rent, basic phone bill, gas…etc. etc.
Anyway, I have my bank account and then I’ve also been pulling extra money from my Korean account and my own wallet at times to throw at my savings and I’ve just passed the $1000 mark.  This has been going for awhile and I’m planning on using it during my trip back home.  $1000 from just odds and ends.  Heck yes.  I feel…liberated.
I want to use it as my spending money while I’m back and to deposit anything I don’t spend.  I’m assuming the bank tellers won’t freak out if I make a larger deposit in cash?  Is that weird?  I’ve never had enough money to have to worry about it before.

Also, my grandma recently just had open-heart surgery (last week) and she just left the hospital, so there’s good news there as well.  I’ve got a small little gift box headed her way…hopefully I can make it to the post office tomorrow…

Anyway, Happy Friday! (to those on this side of the globe) and Happy Friday Eve to those elsewhere 🙂