Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Update: English Camp (week 2 & 3)

I'm in my 3rd week of winter camp. Not much has changed, except that I have fewer students, some of which are just way too hyper! My 5th grade class has only 4 boys and they're all boys. I was teaching them parts of the body - simple things: leg, hand, fingers, arm, neck etc...

I guess boys will be boys regardless of where they're from or their age. They had to label each other with Post It's and for some reason they thought it hilarious to place these labels on their crotch. Sigh...

So I tried another activity with them. I taught them how to speak of ailments when they go to the doctor, like how to say "My arm is sore" or "I have a headache"

I had them do role plays - one was a doctor, while the other was a patient. And I gave them toilet paper to use as 'bandages'.

And then there are students who are just exceptional...like these:

These are my all time favourite 6th grade students. ...love them to bits!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Update: English Camp (week 1)

My first week of English camp is over, and I have to do some damage control.

EFL teachers will agree that lesson plans don't always work out as well as they seem on paper. Many times, I had to think on my feet and alter the lesson plans to suit the class. Also, children vary - I had a mixture of classes...either very lethargic or way too energetic.

Some activities that worked are the ones below. I had various body parts written on Post It's and had the children label a "model". They had fun with this one, although I had trouble trying to keep the 'model' still!

Korean kids love the cartoon character, Spongebob Squarepants so when I taught shapes, I had them draw Spongebob! (That's my drawing on the board...not too bad, eh ^^)

For my 6th graders, I was teaching them adjectives, so in pairs, I had them create their very own cartoon character with 'special powers' and they had to present their new superhero to the class - saying why he/she was so special...

This was by far the most popular. When I taught prepositions to the classes (all grades), I had candy all over the classroom - under the chairs & tables, behind pot plants, on the window, on the mirror, next to the computer etc... The kids had to search for the candy, and come and tell me where they found it. Eg, "The candy was behind the computer"

Saturday, January 12, 2008


from google images

I've been out of the Bollywood scene for a few months, so I'm well aware that Salaam-E-Ishq is "old", but I recently watched it on DVD and now I'm so regretting it.

Films that can boast a star-studded cast tend to do well (example: Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna). Salaam-E-Ishq stars Anil Kapoor, Juhi Chawla, Salman Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Akshaye Khanna, Ayesha Takia, John Abraham, Vidya Balan, Sohail Khan, Isha Koppikar, Govinda and Shannon Esra (who, by the way is a South African actress!)

The film is poor - mainly because there are just too many plots happening at the same time.

I fast-forwarded through almost the entire film...the only story I could bare to watch was the John-Vidya story. They're married and in love when Vidya loses her memory in an accident.

The Anil-Juhi-Anjana story had potential, but it clearly wasn't carried through. It spoke of a real subject... a middle aged man who nearly succumbs to the temptations by a younger girl.

The story between Sohail-Isha are a waste of time, as are Salman-Priyanka's. Even the Govinda-Shanon story was lame... she travels from Canada to India to stop her Indian boyfriend from getting married... and in the interim, falls in love with her cab driver.

Some of the dialogues are just way over the top and cheesy. The only thing that was worth seeing was the song/dance items.

Anyways, that's just my 2cents :)

Fun with froth

Teddy bear face that my friend, Sun Young made from the froth in a Starbucks Green Tea Latte

Friday, January 11, 2008

Mind your language, kids!!!

One of my 4th grade students pointed this to me today.
"Not me," he said. I realized it must have been from the previous class that I had.
"What is it in English?" I asked.
He look at his friend and just said, "Bad word."

So I took a pic of it & asked my Korean friend what it meant.
"Son of a b*tch"

...written by a 3rd grader!

Fun in the snow!!!

This is what I saw when I stepped out my apartment building this morning @ 8am:

The walk to school:

My 4th grade class was so good this week, so we had half of the lesson outside - competition to build snowmen. To make it more English-orientated, they had to tell me parts of the body they were building (in English) like body, head, eyes etc...

Girls in my class

This boy is so cute - always keeping the rest of the class quiet for me!

This boy was crazy not to be wearing gloves!!!

This boy was charging for me with this snowball!!!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

K-Pop: Big Bang & Wonder Girls

K-Pop (Korean Pop) is HUGE! What's the most interesting thing is that the chart-topping artists are sometimes under 21 years old!

Two specific songs have played endlessly in Korea since I arrived. The first one is by a group called Big Bang - a boy band. I'm actually crazy about this song...not quite sure when it'll grow stale with me.

This song's chorus is "Tell Me" - my students go nuts over this song and is sung by a group called Wonder Girls (a group of really young girls)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

P.S. I love you...

I've always been a bit iffy about novel-turned movies. I've read a few good novels that were sooner or later made into films. Most of them did not live up to its written counterpart.

P.S. I love you is the latest film that was made from a novel I read a few years ago (written by Irish novelist, Cecilia Ahern).

It stars Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler in the lead roles. The story revolves around Holly (Swank) who, on her 30th birthday, discovers that her late husband (Butler) has left 10 letters for her. Each letter ends with a "P.S. - I love you" His intention was to ease her pain during the mourning of his death. He surprises Holly with various things, including a trip to Ireland - where the two first met.

I felt like the character's weren't established enough. Viewer's are just left speculating about the couple's marriage before his untimely death based on flashbacks now and again.

The supporting cast include Lisa Kudrow, Kathy Bates and Jeffery Dean Morgan - whose character seemed intriguing, but turned out to be rather bland.

The film seemed rushed. Various characters were introduced to us and disappeared after a few scenes. After thoroughly enjoying the novel, I was interested to see how the film turned out, but I wasn't impressed. Sub-plots either needed to be cut, or the film needed to be extended (with an intermission).

Maybe it won't be too long before there's a Bollywood adaptation of it!

No one turns the water works on better than a child

from google images

Today, in my last class of the day I caught one of my students playing one of the many electronic games they have here. I was about to confiscate it, but he quickly put it away. So I just gave him a warning.

Then, when I was giving instructions for an activity he wasn't listening so I took the game away from him.

One of the rules in my classes - when the teacher is talking, pay attention! And - I don't want anything non-English on the desks.

So I confiscated it from him and told him he'd get it back tomorrow. He pleaded with me, but I had to stand my ground because I'm usually very nice and soft towards my students and never punish them.

And then the waterworks started. Oh man! In a split second, the roles changed and he had authority over me, because he had tears in his eyes.

So I said, "Here....take it, but I don't want to see it in class tomorrow, ok?"

Maybe some teachers will say I shouldn't have given the game back to him, but I didn't want issues. What if he complained about me? I'm teaching alone and have no co-teacher to deal with the discipline of the children during the winter camp classes. And students know they'll be let off the hook with the foreign teacher!

But seriously, I constantly think of my days at school where things were run fairly strictly. If a teacher told me to move from one desk to another, there was no way in hell I'd refuse - unless I wanted a note sent to my parents or a one way ticket to the principals office. My students have guts to shake their heads at me when I ask them to do something.

*Sigh* I really have a new found respect for teachers...!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Dead Sea Scrolls - the birth of Christianity

On Saturday, I went to the War Memorial of Korea to see the Dead Sea Scrolls display. They are said to be the most important archaeological find of the 20th century and consist of over 800 documents - some of which are complete and incomplete. The scrolls are mostly made of dried animal skins on which Hebrew & Greek texts were written The scrolls were discovered in caves along the shores of the Dead Sea between 1947 and 1956.

The scrolls are considered to be vitally important as they are apparently the oldest copies of the Bible. There are many other artifacts on display, including gold jewelry, coins and items used in temples that are believed to have been used during Jesus' period.

It was awesome seeing everything, except that all the captions & explanations were in Hangul.

Friday, January 4, 2008

East Sea Part 1 – Breakfast @ the rest stop

Yesterday, I went on a road trip with dear Mr Lee (a 4th grade homeroom teacher), his friend, Mrs Kim and one of my co-teachers / friend, Jin. We started our journey at 8:30am and traveled across the country to the East Sea.

...With Mr Lee & Mrs Kim

The journey wasnt boring as we stopped at various resting places first for breakfast and then snacks. And every few minutes, Mr Lee would say, HellooooMiss Makhan, here is He was the perfect tour guide!

The resting places here are pretty neat many food stalls to choose from. Its all so clean and everything smells really good. We had potatoes and noodles with tofu. And coffee to warm up.

East Sea Part 2 – Snow pics at Lee Seung-bok Memorial

I was told that eastern South Korea is mountainous, and I got very excited when I saw snow-capped mountains. We arrived in Gangwon Province and stopped at the Lee Seung-bok Memorial grounds. Here are a few snow pics:

East Sea Part 3 - Who is Lee Seung-bok?

10-year-old Lee Seung-bok and four family members were murdered by North Korean commandos on December 9, 1968 after the boy said, "I hate the Communist Party." A memorial has been established to commemorate him.

Jin & me in front of a portrait of Lee Seung-bok

A painting depicting a scene at Lee Seung-bok's funeral

This is his elementary school:

This is a model of the home in which Lee Seung-bok once lived:

East Sea Part 4 - The Museum of Natural Learning

Basically this was a room showing various animals that can be found in Korea. I took photos of most of the animals, except the snakes. I didnt even walk past the display cabinet thats how bad I am!

My feet were numb from walking in the snow. Jin and I bought coffee to warm ourselves up, but it didnt help much.

East Sea Part 5 – Gangneung

We left what seemed like a fairy tale setting and made our way to Gangneung. This is a popular tourist destination and also the birth place of Yul-gok. Who is Yul-gok? He is the man whose face appears on the 5,000 Won note.

from google images

There is also a statue of Sin Saim-dang Yul-goks mother who was a renowned artist in her days.

We had lunch at a quaint tofu restaurant.

East Sea Part 6 – Gyeongpo Beach

At this stage I thought we were going to be on our way back home, but we went to Gyeongpo Beach. This was the most awesome day ever in one day, we were freezing but having fun in the snow AND we went to the beach!

I didn
t realize how happy Id be seeing the beach since August when I left South Africa. There were many snack stalls around and we bought candy, nuts and candy floss cant remember when last I had that!

East Sea Part 7 – Snacks

Ok now I thought we were heading home, but we stopped for more snacks and had a number of delicious things to eat hotteok, potato-filled rice cakes and sweet potato fries