Wow! Camp has come and gone in what feels like the blink of an eye. However, I can say I'm pleased with that reality. Camp this time around (compared to last summer) was a bit easier. I think it is because I had the higher level class, although at times they started to test me.
I picked up this game from working at public Elementary schools. One of my Korean coteachers introduced me to this board game called, "Omok". The game is similar to tic-tac-toe or 5-in-a-row. Basically the students take turns picking squares. They practice whatever they see in the square by speaking or working out a problem. If correct they get to claim that square and their goal is to get 5 in a row.
There is one week left and on next Friday the parents come to see their presentations. Then I've got one week vacation for the Lunar New Year. I'll just close my eyes and soon it will be February and before you know it I'll be visiting my family in Florida.
Other than this there isn't much to report. Still working on my lesson plans but slowly, as I have been trying to get materials made.
Things have been running smoothly in camp land. Although, I can already feel myself and the students starting to get tired of each other. But I have been trying to spice things up with extra games I have lying around and let them have extended free time. It makes me wonder as next year they will cut camp down to 2 weeks. Things will definitely fly by then!
This Winter Camp I have the high level kids and on the one hand it is a relief they aren't as wacky as the low levels, but on the other they argue with me about everything. "Teacher, but I answered the question so give me a sticker!" "No, teacher you are wrong!" (That last one gets spit out quite often.)
After three days into this year's Winter Camp I have finally found the time to come home after classes and get back to lesson plan creation. I have now started on the 2nd semester for next year. Given the first week of planning wasn't too bad as that will just be fluff stuff till we start the book again.
I'm currently on my Christmas vacation that will last till the New Year. To give the kids something special we (the English teachers) dressed up in a Santa outfit, played songs and handed out presents. The kids had a splendid time, except for a few that were displeased with their presents. Hey! It's not my fault kid! The presents were brought in by other students and randomly put into a bag.
A lot of emphasis in Elementary school (especially the younger ones) seems to be that everything has to be the same and fair. I explained the rules before they put in their numbers and so they should have understood. What was good, I think, was that some classes had a group of all the same close numbers. So I let them play rock, scissors, paper to sort it out.
The kids did pretty well guessing close to the number of jelly beans in each of their jars. As for a class assignment I think it was a lot of fun and helped them make a big connection to the word, "estimate." The fall back was that many students were disappointed they didn't win. I suppose I could have given out the jelly beans evenly to the class and let the winner just feel good. But I sometimes feel that things can't always be "even" for these kids.
One of the chapter's coming up in the student's book is "Estimation." For this week of estimating fun I decided to have all the classes take part in a Jelly Bean guessing contest. There are eight groups and each one will get to see a jar semi-full with jelly beans and make a guess as to how many.
A worksheet will accompany this activity and the winner will receive the jar of beans to take home.
Camp, as mentioned earlier, wasn't planned very well even though the planning committee did do hard work. I want to step up for winter camp and plan some new stuff for them, but am trying to lay-low so not to seem like a pushy person.
There are just three more days of camp and thank goodness! Although, tiring and often mind-boggling strange, the camp has been going pretty well. I have learned what the low-levels need and how better to pace myself for them. They take time to process the English and I try to give it to them in a slow yet understandable manner. But mostly they want to learn through games, crafts and activities. I guess that is true for all first-graders.
My one week vacation ended this morning as Tom nudged me awake at 6:30. I know not to wake up immediately because of this, but when I did wake up I knew that three weeks of camp were ahead of me.
Things I've Learned:
First graders do require a lot of energy, but you don't have to put on a show all the time. They like games and things for them to do that can keep their minds and hands busy. Teaching at a private elementary school has a lot of benefits when compared to my previous job. I have enjoyed the lack of coteaching and love being in control of my own classroom. However, I have not escaped the Korean workplace and still encounter many snafus related to this. I've learned that patience is the key and one can be strict with the students but not take it emotionally.
My gosh did it go so fast! I am really pleased that this semester has come to an end. Of course, kind of not looking forward to three weeks of camp with the same group of kids. But, in essence the toils and trials of everyday work will not come to me again till September.