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 😀

Big News in the Life of Me

Ladies and Gentlemen…I have wifi in my apartment for the first time in my life.

Ok, so maybe not that big of news…but still pretty fantabulous.

In my apartments prior to this one (in the US), I’ve had a desktop computer (from 2005-2012ish) and then I got my laptop for when I moved overseas.  I have had internet but never got the wifi setup.  I thought it involved calling the internet guys to come back out and set something up, which would be more of a hassle than just dealing with the cords.  (Wifi/internet guys aren’t included in my Korean 1 textbook).  heh.

Apparently, wifi routers are plug and play/use here (directions and setup are all in Korean though).  Anyway, I had a bit of difficulty with one of the steps because it kept asking me for a password that I didn’t have.  I tried about 15 combinations and messaged one of the guys from the Korea (Expat) MacPC guys’ group on Facebook and one guy got me sorted with all the Korean menus.  Annnnd here we are!

Two main things I’m excited about:
1. NO CORD THROUGH THE MIDDLE OF MY BEDROOM…seriously.  I could do a jig I’m so happy.  The guy who set up my internet originally had the internet cord right next to my desk and then he moved it into the kitchen (two room apartment).  The problem with that was that the cord wasn’t long enough to reach to my desk without cutting straight through my bedroom.
I got used to it, but it was one of those things that sort of rubbed me the wrong way each time I looked at it…for about a year.  So…it’s gone and the cords are all nicely tucked away and I’m not at risk for tripping anymore.  More dance space, too!  Hoorah!

2.  Being able to look at recipes on my computer…in the kitchen.  😀  Hellllllloooooo baking with ease!

Anyway…what a happy end to my night 😀  I’m beyond thrilled to have that sorted finally.

Let’s see, also I wanted to do a mini work update/vent (not a real vent, just talking out loud).
So, I’m one of two teachers that do my curriculum at my school and they’ve asked the both of us twice to make sure our schedules are the same.  The first time we saw that we did the same things and trimmed some things out to make it more cohesive.  The second time they said to make sure our schedules are EXACTLY the same.  Yes, exactly.
So, we planned out an hour-by-hour weekly schedule and made sure we do the same activities on the same days.
We gave that to the newer lady that asked for it.  She was brought in to help our directors/school/parents get more organized and on the same page.
Then, I just heard today that our director is going to come to both of us again asking for us to make our classes the same.  I’m getting a wee bit annoyed because I’m not sure how much more our classes can be the same.  We use the same books and workbooks.  The only things that would be different are the way that we teach the material and we use different grammar worksheets.  Aside from that, it’s pretty much a copy.

So, I understand wanting to make the classes the same or similar because there are siblings in each of the different classes and parents want to make sure they are getting the same thing.  I get that.  I’m just getting annoyed with them asking for us to “make it the same” again and again.  I’d rather them be more direct if there is something we’re not doing that they would like us to be doing.
I also do not want to make my class a mirror copy of someone else’s class.  I make my grammar worksheets based on my own student’s needs and what I see that my students have problems with.  As does he.  I’m not going to be doing my students any favors if I just blindly follow a syllabus and don’t address the needs that they have.  Everything is nearly the same except for the things that we’re able to personalize.  Sometimes it’s nice to just let the class flow in a certain direction if the students are enjoying a particular topic and it’s more enjoyable for me if the class has more freedom, but ah well.
Anyway, the classes are pretty much the exact same except for teaching styles and some worksheet differences (teacher preferences).  I dunno.  Just wanted to get that out so it feels like someone is listening.

I also really want to make music CDs for my kids with the 10 or so songs that we’ve done in class so they can listen to them at home.  Howeveerrrr, with this same class thing, I don’t think I’ll be doing it because I don’t want to force the other teacher to do it as well.
That also means no caramel apples, no special candy or treats when they do really well.  OI.

Oh!!  Also, more photos from the Daejeombie Runpocalpse 5K were released!
Our photographer was Phil from Phil Photography (www.philwphotography.com)
I’m madly in love with these photos!!

zombie1 zombie2 zombie3 zombie4

I also (man, I need a thesaurus…my teachers would rip this blog apart, haha) made a Powerpoint to show my kiddos about Halloween.
HALLOWEEN ppt

Feel free to check it out 😀
I shared it with the other teachers at our school (3 others) so we can keep the…sameness.

Bye!

A Day in the Life of an ESL Hagwon (Private Academy) Teacher

I found this post and loved it, although her life seems a bit more…put together and structured than mine.  I thought it would be fun to write down how a “typical” day goes.

9:30 AM: My alarm goes off and I got out of bed.  I popped some oatmeal in the microwave and checked my email and Facebook.  I had some water, oatmeal and an apple and perused some new books on my Kindle.

10:15 AM: I got ready for work and went to an art store to pick up some white paper for my Halloween door (see the previous post).  (I use this time as my time for errands/work prep/laundry/cleaning/etc.)

11:30 AM: I returned home and started working on my door decor.  I cleaned up my apartment and finished the door.

12:30 PM: I made lunch for myself–spaghetti with leftover cooked chicken from last night.

1:10 PM: I put some apples, oranges, peanut butter and caramel in a bag and left for work–about a 10-15 minute walk.  I had a bag of about 8 oranges and things seem to mold very quickly around here, so I bring snacks in for my kiddos.  I also told my kiddos that they could try out apples with peanut butter and caramel yesterday.

1:20 PM:  I arrive at work, turn on the lights, unload all of my bags and turn on my computer.  (I write the date, the daily schedule and get things set up for the next day before I leave at night).

1:30 PM:  Organized the snacks, drew little pumpkin faces on the orange skin to surprise the kids and started working on correcting some student journals (Kids arrive around 1:50…usually…)  I also fill up my water bottle and get in a quick trip to the bathroom.  (I try to have as many of my materials pre-prepped before the day starts, so my mornings are usually pretty smooth.)

1:40 PM–Greet one of my students and chat to her a bit; grade journals; double check that I printed enough copies for today

1:50 PM–Students start to arrive and I remind them to get water, get out their homework and go to the bathroom.  I write the homework on the board.

2:00 PM–I close the door, remind students that it’s now class-time and to take out their homework. The students put their homework (English notebook and homework folder) on their desk and I check both and make sure they’re keeping their stuff organized.  Each kid takes home two reading books from their level home each night and they record it in their “Book Log” at the start of class.

2:15 PM: Reading time comes to a close and students use one of the four tablets in the room to take a reading test over one of their books.  They can do this by themselves, so I finish checking homework and take attendance.  I bring the attendance log to the front desk (conveniently right outside my door–small school).  I double-check the students test score (typically 3-5 questions) and write it down in their log.  Depending on their score (I take the general flow of the scores into account), I’ll bump them up a reading level, keep them at the same one or drop them down by one.  If they generally do well and bombed this particular test, I might have them take the books home again.
When students finished their book test (and got new reading books from the shelf and copied their homework), I gave them the next assignment for today which was multiple choice and matching grammar worksheet.  (Tuesday/Wednesday work)

2:30 PM: The stragglers are usually all here by now and I try to have all the testing/homework corrections and checking/etc all finished by this time.  I check that the students have copied the homework (again, all routine so they’re pretty good at this now).  If we get a new kid, I partner them up with someone else for about a week (or two…) until they learn the routine and feel comfortable.

2:30-2:50 PM: Everyone is working on their grammar and I check through it when they finish.  I use a different colored pen each time I check it.  I make the grammar sheets myself and try to put things that I know they have trouble with or things that I see they have issues with when they write in their diary/journal.

2:50-2:55 PM–5 minute break (not usually for me, unless I’m super quick)
They can have a small snack, work on the puzzle (I got a cheap one from the dollar store so they don’t run amok in the room) or work on a Halloween paper chain that I started up.  They can also finish copying homework and chat with their friends in Korean.  I remind them to use the  bathroom and get water.  (We have a bathroom pass so there’s only one out at a time).
Sometimes I’ll put a funny video or an English TV show clip on via Youtube and the Smartboard (Lucky us!)

3 PM (ish): Put away all of their class folders, pencils, etc.  We read our class book together with “Popcorn Reading”–the students say “Pop!” and pick who will read next.  We started this particular book already so it goes a bit faster today.

3:10-3:30PM–Work on parts of the workbook together

3:30-3:45 PM–They finish the workbook by themselves

3:45-3:50 PM–Cleanup: straighten the bookshelves, put away pencils, class folders (“yellow folders”) and I call them to the door to line up (based on how good they were today) and dismiss around 3:55.

The next class is lined up outside the door and they come in after the first class leaves.

Class 2 starts at 4PM

4-4:30 PM: Same as the first class

4:30-5:05 PM–Read their class reading book and start on their workbook (which is longer and more difficult)

5:05-5:10 PM–Break

5:15-5:45 PM–We finished the workbook for today(not all the way finished–on purpose because I have some kids that are MWF and I don’t want them to be too far behind tomorrow) and then did the grammar worksheet.  The 4PM and 6PM class have a longer worksheet than the first class (except two kids in the first class who are *nearly* strong enough to handle it, so I give the difficult one to them as a challenge).

5:45-6PM–Cleanup, Line-up and the last class comes in

I had two stragglers today and T/TH is a really small class so they got started around 6:10.  I chatted with the first kids as they got their stuff out.

6-6:20 PM (faster…usually)–These kids are older and my most advance (*my* most advanced, not *the* most advanced)
Book tests were finished then we popcorn read their book til about 6:55 then break.

7-7:15 PM–Worked on their workbook–We didn’t do a whole lot in it today because of the whole MWF//T/TH thing and missing students.  Gave them their grammar worksheet and they worked on it til 7:50 (nearly finished)

7:45-7:50 PM: Cleanup: straighten tables, desks, folders and the bookshelf (etc…) and dismiss around 7:55

Sometimes they help write tomorrow’s date on the board and change out the “Today is ______”/ “Tomorrow will be _________” velcro strips but we were running out of time, so we skipped it today.

I tidied up the room (cleaned the desks, straightened the bookshelf again), cleaned off my desk and shut off my computer.
I left around 8:10PM and came home to make dinner.

9:00-10:30 PM–Made a Powerpoint on Halloween traditions for Friday’s class, checked my email, looked at new pictures from the photographer for the Zombie Race, researched teaching certifications

11-12:15 AM (now)–Working on the blog then I’ll clean up from dinner, feed my hamster and get ready for bed

I usually work out in the evenings after dinner (around 10), but I wanted to get this Powerpoint finished.

With my classes, they’re roughly on a similar schedule:
Mondays:
New Vocab
Tuesday:
Grammar + New Book 1 + start on the workbook
Wednesday:
Wrap-up stuff from Tuesday + Book 1 + Workbook
Thursday:
Read Book 2 + Workbook
Friday:
Spelling Game and Tests + Finish Workbooks + Journaling/Movie/Wrap-up

Oh and the kids really liked the apple and PB//apple and caramel combos! 😀  I have a “you must try a bite” rule when I bring stuff in.  I say it’s ok if they hate it, but I want them to try it.  They gave me concerned looks when I spooned the peanut butter and the caramel blobs onto their plate, but nearly everyone finished.
I only had enough apples for the first class (which is who I promised it to), but they were a big hit, so I’m going to get more apples for the later classes too.

Annnnd good night!

Classroom Update

This is my latest classroom video update 🙂

https://fbcdn-video-d-a.akamaihd.net/hvideo-ak-xpf1/v/t43.1792-2/10387281_10102510212990000_1127990701_n.mp4?oh=97220d9a24a4f182ef247d06d058972c&oe=5415CC1A&__gda__=1410713671_97fb97c78f84d492ee863da31dbfa7a1

I changed a few things since the last video a month or so ago.

I didn’t speak during the video because it was after school hours and I felt weird chatting away to myself in the quiet school when others were working…but anyway, I’ll give you a written tour 😀

0-20 seconds: My latest work 🙂
I found this on Pinterest–it’s called Tired Words and I thought it was an awesome way to get kids to use different words.
I hear “It is delicious.”  “No delicious” so many times a day…drives me crazy.
I also just moved the bookshelf again and I think it’s going to stay like this.  I like that it creates more of a reading nook than the way I had it before (flush against the wall).  I actually just bought two pillows (chair cushions turned pillows) at the dollar store (3,000W or about $3/each) and I had two pillows that I bought when I first arrived for whenever I got around to buying a futon, but that still hasn’t happened, so I’m bringing them to my room to get some use out of them.  Those will be added to that corner tomorrow.
Each student also has a good behavior sticker chart–good behavior only–and I have different colors for whenever they finish one.  I give them little prizes from Daiso (basically a dollar store) when they finish their chart.  The first one is cheap chocolate, one is a pencil with a fun animal eraser on top, another is a thing of bubbles (I found a bunch on sale in a bundle).  Anyway, I spend money, but it’s not much and it helps keep my sanity in the classroom and the kids get into it.  They like the stickers and seeing who has the most stickers and what color will be next.

:30–Another new thing I added on Friday.  This is a fake window in our classroom and I’ve decided to do a “Break Time Challenge” with fall vocab words that I found on Teachers Pay Teachers…for FREE.
I printed and laminated them and hope to change them out every few days so the kids get exposure to more words and get practice with ABC order.  In a fun way.  Heh…so sneaky.  🙂

Around :35 is basically the student station.  Kind of a catchy name that I just made up, but this area doesn’t have a real name.  The student’s work folders are here and extra pencils and erasers for students that forget (so I’m not driven crazy by the sounds of “I don’t have a pencil today” and me wondering why students leave the house without supplies.)  They all know to just grab a pencil when they need one.  We’re working on only sharpening pencils before class and at breaktime with some of the newer kids, but overall, this is pretty effective.  Kleenex/Tissue and hand sanitizer are also here.

Next up are the careers.  At the beginning of class, a student from each class chooses the next career and three photos to go with it.  I talked about this in the last post though.  I do this on Mondays and the students rotate.

I added the ordinal numbers on Friday and my desk is around :56.  Birthday wall is around :58.  Part of me wants to do something special for the kid’s birthdays, but then again…I dunno.  Maybe just a little certificate or something?  Still thinking…

Around 1:00 you can see the “Today is”, “Yesterday was” and “Tomorrow will be” section.  The kids in my last class help me change these out and they seem to enjoy helping.
Word Wall at 1:15…also new!  I love having this because it’s nice to have an organized place to put all the frequently asked spellings and that massive black shelf is finally gone.  Wahoo!  I also added these fall words to the word wall.

1:30–You can see the area where we have story time (sometimes…could be more, but the kids don’t seem to pay attention as much when they sit on the mat).  The red chair is also used for time-out.  I rarely do time-outs, but sometimes I just need to remove a kid from the situation and this is an easy way to do it.  We also have a magnet board with the abc letters.  I picked up the alphabet letters at Daiso for about 3000W (about $3) about a year ago and the kids love it.  My school bought the magnet board for us.  🙂
The colored bags under the long table in the back are for recycling.  The paper needs to go out…oi.  Not looking forward to that.

Anyway, that’s that!  🙂  Hope you enjoyed my (somewhat blurry) tour of my/our room!
Halloween decor to come in October!  Yay!

Side note:  I made a direct link to one of my main classroom Pinterest pages over there on the right >>