Thursday, July 25, 2013

Short Story: Broken Love (Unhappy Holiday)

Before I can get into the following assignment itself, I feel I should explain a little how my school day works. Korean schools have regular classes only in the morning and maybe early afternoon. My school, for example, starts at 9 AM and goes until 12:10. Then lunch. Then one or two grades might have one last class at 1 PM, depending on the day. These are the classes all students must attend. Then there's the optional ones. In Korea, they do extra schooling throughout the rest of the day. A lot of students end up going to what's called a Hagwon, which is basically a business-run facility run in the afternoon and evening for students to learn even more. Some schools, like mine, also offer afternoon programs. With these afternoon classes, parents pay for their kids to attend to help better their English skills. The classes are much smaller than a regular class and are much more focused on workbook-based teaching. We categorize these classes by "L" (for Level) and the number (which, for all intents and purposes, is the grade they're in, except for L7, which is advanced kids). So I personally have L1, L2, L3, L4, and L6.

As the semester began winding down and summer break began to poke its smiling face towards us, my afternoon co-teacher declared that, for the last 2 weeks worth of classes for L6, we couldn't move on to the next story (L6 is a reading-based class). So I got the bright idea to do a creative writing assignment. I would take 10 vocabulary words--1 word/phrase from each of the past 10 stories--and they would have to work together to make their own short story. And it was a relatively popular idea with the kids, despite my other co-teachers showing reservations about it when I first brought it up.

So, all of that being said, after 5 classes and much discussion, we finally finished the story. And it turned out pretty decent! So this story is from the collective minds of roughly 7-10 preteens (mostly girls, but a few boys) and a little guidance on my part. And keep in mind, they tried to make this story go a lot darker in places, particularly from the boys (I will say at different points a shotgun and cannibalism were suggested quite loudly). Anyway, here it is.

(NOTE: Raccoon is the name of the main character they chose. And if you don't know what or where Jeju is, click here. The highlighted words were their vocabulary.)


Broken Love (Unhappy Holiday)

     Raccoon visits Jeju every summer. He goes scuba diving with his girlfriend, Ellie. Raccoon and Ellie always take a ship through sunny and breezy weather to get there. They bring BBQ and camping supplies to eat and play with.

     While scuba diving, Ellie sees a shark right away. She hides behind a rock and waves to Raccoon for help. Together, they look for treasure island so they can escape the shark and find gold. 

     “If we find gold, we should split it in half,” Ellie says. 

     “No, it’s mine!” says Raccoon. 

     “Choose me or the gold,” Ellie says. 

     “I choose the gold!” Raccoon says.
     Raccoon, now alone and hungry, eats fish. But it tastes like raw meat. He decides to drink some water instead. Raccoon finds some fresh water and drinks it. He is ready to hunt for treasure. He looks for a treasure map. Then he sees something sparkle! He walks closer so he can touch it. He finds gold and diamond jewelry.

     Raccoon returns to Ellie with the treasure.

     “Go away!” Ellie yells. She punches him. 

     “I’m sorry! But I love you!” Raccoon says. 

     “I don’t like you!” Ellie says.
     This was an unhappy holiday.


If you're curious how we did this assignment, this is how the bare bones of it looked (I made up the sentence structure each day before class, somewhat building on the story direction they were going from the previous class):

DAY 1:
     (NAME) visits ______ every ______. (PRONOUN) ______. (NAME) always ______ through (type of weather) to get there. (NAME) bring(s) ______.

DAY 2: 
     While (action), (NAME) sees _______ right away. (PRONOUN) ______. (PRONOUN) look for _________. 


DAY 3:
     Raccoon, now alone and hungry, eats ________. But it tastes like (something bad). He decides to _______. Raccoon ________. He is ready to _________. He ________. Then he sees something sparkle! He _________. He finds __________.

DAY 4:
     Raccoon returns to Ellie with the treasure.

     This holiday was ________.

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