Friday, August 14, 2009

영어 캠프! (Vignettes from English Camp)

영어 캠프 7.21.09-7.27.09
On the last day of English Camp, as a review, I gave the kids a bunch of letter posters (I printed PowerPoint slides with the letters of the alphabet in different fonts) and let them decorate them.

Sarah arrived on Friday, but my vacation didn't start until Tuesday. On Monday, I had to go into school and teach my last day of English Camp. My first English camp was with the first and second graders and we studied the alphabet. I'm not sure how effective it was; half the kids clearly already knew the alphabet from their hogwons and the other half were floundering because trying to cover the entire alphabet is a lot for one week. Due to construction (all the classrooms are getting new floors, hopefully ones that don't give people splinters) class was held in the library. It's a nice library, very modern, but it was also full of crazy Korean robot children who spend their summer vacation studying in the school library. Every time I did something that was even remotely noisy, like play a game or speak in a slightly raised voice, I would have an instant audience of forty or fifty kids, only half of whom were my camp students.

영어 캠프 7.21.09-7.27.09
I had some alphabet letters that had originally been bought for the English room. They were meant to be used on a felt board, but we just glued then on the letter posters.

I gave all the students English names on the first day of camp. I wasn't planning on it, but everyone seemed to assume they would get English names out of the deal and it certainly did make it easier to learn the kids' names. Coming up with a list of English names off the top of your head is surprisingly hard, so I used a website that randomly selected three popular English names and let the kids pick which one they liked best. The list was based on the most popular names in America for 2007 and wow, people name their kids some weird and gender-ambiguous names. There were a few traditional names like Jack and Amy, but there was also an Ashlyn, a Brayden, a Riley (boy) and a Kennedy (girl).

영어 캠프 7.21.09-7.27.09
The idea was that the kids were suppose to decorate the posters with things that started with the letter. Some kids did better than others. Steven glued random letters onto his R poster. It ended up spelling ROJ.

To make each class a little more fun, I found a bunch of alphabet clips from Sesame Street and played them as we started. The kids loved them, and a few of the more outgoing boys would come up to the stage and dance to the music. My mother (of four children) always swore that Sesame Street was a really fun show, but I never believed her until now. I ended up spending a lot of time going through the archives on the Sesame Street website and wow, there are some really funny skits and some really talented musical guests, like Anderson Cooper reporting live from GNN or Tilly and the Wall singing the ABCs.

영어 캠프 7.21.09-7.27.09
Audrey just drew some flowers and a heart around her (upside-down) Ss. I didn't have the heart to tell her the poster was upside-down.

I taught the kids to fist bump me when they did a good job or finished an assignment and they loved it. My siblings and I have been fist bumping each other and shouting, "Pound it!" for years, so it only seemed right to teach my students to do it too. The kiddos were *very* enthusiastic about the fist bumps and I spent the rest of the week nursing sore knuckles.

영어 캠프 7.21.09-7.27.09
Caroline, on the other hand, did very well. Not only did she draw a glass (one of the examples from the textbook) and grapes (not one of the examples, she's just that smart), she wrote both words out phonetically in Hangul. She also wrote out G phonetically in Hangul (지 = gee). Gee is the name of a popular Kpop song that came out this spring. When we learned the letter G, half my students immediately started singing the song. I always appreciate it when Kpop helps with my lessons.

Sarah came with me to school on Monday and sat in on the class. The principal quickly learned that there were two - count them, two - foreigners in the building and came to the library to meet Sarah. The first time he stopped by we were in the middle of class so, after some mutual bowing, he left, but the second time he came by during a break, so I was able to introduce Sarah, my 미국인 친구 (American friend). Then he came back a third time, this time with a camera, and took a few pictures of me and Sarah. I imagine the photos will show up on the school website soon. What a great promotional picture to show the parents - look! we have TWO American teachers at our school, at least for a day. My kids were also fascinated by Sarah. When they first saw her, they hid behind me and asked, "Teacher! Who dat?" One of my second graders, Audrey, likes to tell me what color things are. "Teacher," she says, pointing at my shirt, "green! Brown (my skirt), red (my glasses), pink (her dress), blue (another student's shirt)." On Monday, she marched right up to me and Sarah and started telling me the colors. "Teacher, green (my pants), black (my shirt), purple (my glasses), red (Sarah's shirt)." Then she pointed at Sarah's blonde hair and said, "Teacher, yellow hair!" "Yes," I told her, "that is yellow hair." Sarah and I laughed about it for the rest of the trip.

영어 캠프 7.21.09-7.27.09
It was a good activity, even if most of the kids didn't really grasp the whole point. Happy students are happy!

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