I’ve been lacking in photos lately, I know. There are a few reasons for that.
1. There isn’t much to take pictures of that I haven’t already photographed, and my computer is already quite full of photos.
2. I really like to write sometimes too, and hope that you all will read the words and enjoy them just as much as the pictures, although I do know that sometimes photos do a better job of showing you just what’s going on.
3. This is just recent: Someone dropped my camera and it dented the lens and it won’t open well. I’m a bit nervous about trying it again and am actually avoiding the situation which I’ll have to eventually confront. I take perfect care of my belongings and to think that someone carelessly knocked it off of what it was sitting irks me. Probably because I hadn’t thought to secure the bag it was in. But I digress….
Here are some pictures I DO have from the first week of English Camp. After last semester’s constant asking whether I could do an English club of some sort, the school has finally asked me to do one on Friday afternoons, a time that I had previously had nothing. Of course I agreed, and it is turning out to be a great outlet for me to implement lessons and things I’ve wanted to try in the classroom but couldn’t because of curriculum restraints. Such is the teaching life, eh?
Without further ado, here is our English Club, session one!
Oh dear. The stretched picture thing is going to happen again. I almost don’t want to add pictures.
On Fridays I go to English Village from 8-12, then I take the 12:03 bus to school, which takes about 45 minutes, then our English Club goes from 1:45-3:45, then I take the same bus back home. So Fridays are essentially a regular day.
The kids arrive and put their bags at the back of the classroom. Then I check them in. This is the first class where I’ve really (almost) gotten the names down, because I teach 300 kids so that’s a lot of names to memorize. No excuses though I guess.
I have, by this point, made them little notebooks with pockets for worksheets and a pocket for their name cards.
I usually read a story at some point during the class. This week it was ‘If You Give a Pig a Pancake’ because I was also going to read it the next day at the local Library where I do storytelling every month.
Teaching in a jacket. So classic Taiwan winter.
I love reading aloud. It is probably one of my favorite things to do and I cannot wait to have my own classroom where I can read chapter books, knowing that the students will understand what I am saying. One of the keys to helping EFL kids have fun with books they might not understand is using a lot of vocal intonation and movements. I half act out the book, just so they know what’s going on.
Preteaching vocab is also key. I like to pick about 8 to 10 salient words that I will teach and have them look for in the story as I’m telling it. I usually also tell the story twice, so they really understand what’s going on.
Although I’m no artist, I find that illustrating what I am explaining really helps.
After the story this week, I had the kids draw their own pigs. They could basically do whatever they wanted and boy, did they come up with some cute pictures!
I couldn’t get enough of Diamond’s. He drew a whole turkey!
The kids get stickers when they do drawing or worksheet or just because I like to give stickers. Since they are some awesome American stickers my Mother sent from the US, I like to explain the words on them like, ‘Great!’ and ‘Wow!’ The kids take ages to choose a sticker, even though some of the sheets are the same just different background colors. I might have to start choosing for them….
One of my favorite times of the class is giving the kids stickers is getting to look at the work they’ve done. It’s always so different!
Another thing I love about English club is that it’s a class that I teach by myself, so I get to plan the lessons and really get to know these kids a lot better than only seeing them once or twice a week.
One of the negative sides, however, is that I have a big gap in ages and grades and abilities. I have a whole bunch of 1st graders, and a few 3rd and 4th graders, so tailoring activities and content is a bit of a challenge.
When the older students are finished in a flash, the younger students frequently cannot even conceptualize the task. What younger students find engaging, older students may find stupid or dull. I’m still working this out. Suggestions?
But mostly they all have fun.
And so do I!
Another great thing is that I get to make them snacks every week. I never anticipate how much they’ll enjoy them. The first week I made pancakes to go with the story. An interesting experience, making pancakes on our Taiwan stove- it is obviously not made for cooking anything but stir fries on high heat. I ended up with more than a few slightly charred ones, but the kids scarfed them down all the same and clamored for seconds and thirds. I should have bought two boxes of pancake mix!
Last week I did PB&J which they loved. Again, I only bought one loaf of bread so I could only give each kid 1/4 of a sandwich (I have 18 students) and had to turn them away when they asked for more. Still, it’s only a snack and a ‘taste’ of American culture.
Any thoughts or ideas what I could or should do? I have another lesson coming up this friday- so quickly!
ps: I’ll be home in 88 days! June 20th is my flight and I can hardly wait. It’s going to pass like a flash, I just know it. I’ve got a running list of things to accomplish before I leave, which I will perhaps share.