Sunday, August 11, 2013

Summer Camp

So here in Korea, even though you're on summer break, you're not really on summer break. This goes for both teachers and students. For example, I am allotted 20 days that I can take off for vacation throughout the school year. However, these days can only be taken during set times when school is "out." Unlike in the States, you can't just take a day off when you want, like a "mental health day." Why? Because they don't do substitute teachers here. So if you're sick or something... unless you're dying or in the hospital, you need to be there, because there's nobody to really take your classes over for you.

So, during times such as summer break, unless you're taking holiday time, you still have to go to school. But you don't just sit there, either. Our school in particular has those extra afternoon classes I already discussed, and those continue to stay in session (except for that one week I was in Tokyo--there were no classes at all that week, though teachers still had to be there). But not only that, schools in Korea implement "camps." Summer Camp is an extra, voluntary string of classes that students can sign up for to come to for one week during the break. Each session lasts 90 minutes a day for the full week per grade level. And then the next week, we get new grade levels and start over.

Naomi and I have had to plan this camp for at least a month now, as camps are built around themes. The theme we came up with for this summer is Summer Olympics, with each day focusing on a different area of the olympics. It was both an easy and stressful first week, as we were still wrapping things up about each lesson as the week went on, trying to solidify our activities and games. On top of that, we also had to prepare for our afternoon classes with no real time to do so. Anyway, here is how the week went (for this first week, Naomi dealt with 4th graders, and I had 5th graders).

Monday (Opening Ceremony)

Naomi was mostly in charge of putting this one together. We showed a video of London 2012's opening ceremony highlights, went over some sports vocabulary, and then had students work together to make up posters with their own made-up countries (they had to make a name, population, capital city, primary language, map, and flag). Oh, and we played some games, too, like a variation of Duck Duck Goose using vocabulary words instead of saying Duck or Goose. Oh, and we taught them "We Will Rock You" by Queen.

I only had 4 boys this first day, which made things pretty interesting. Nothing particularly unexpected happened on this first day except for that fact, either.

Tuesday (Track and Field)

Again, Naomi was mostly in charge of putting this one together. We also started off with a video highlighting track and field events and taught new vocabulary. And there were random games and activities tossed in that helped them with the new terms. The biggest activity we had this day was making origami jumping frogs which the kids would then try to race each other with. It was a bit difficult and a mild success, but it was overall fine. I had all 9 kids that had signed up for 5th grade.

But the most interesting aspect about Tuesday happened behind the scenes. Wednesday was set to be Water Sports day, which I had mainly put together. One of the activities planned was to make cardboard/rubber band boats which would be raced in a tub of water. However, there were some technical difficulties in making the boats. The cardboard we had was not thick enough, meaning when we tried to put on the rubber bands, the whole thing nearly bent in half. There was no way we could get it to work. We wondered about getting some popsicle sticks to help sturdy things out, though our co-teacher said they might be difficult to come by. But she would look into it. I tried pencils, as well. The theory worked, but the pencil method was a bit impractical. In order to avoid a total failure of a class, we had to switch our planned Wednesday and Thursdays around, meaning it was now into the afternoon (during which we had classes) and we needed to finish everything for Thursday's classes a day ahead of schedule.

We rushed, but we managed to get everything ready. However, this was not the only impending disaster. On this afternoon, my afternoon co-teacher missed an entire class (meaning I had to do it alone) because it appeared the fridge in our teacher's room had broken and started flooding the office. They seemed to get it under control before we left. Seemed being the key word.

Wednesday (Team Sports)

Tuesday night, I had meant to take home some stuff to work on for this day, but one of our co-teachers was in a rush to leave that afternoon, and I ended up forgetting my flash drive in my computer at the school. So I was going to have to finish the prep for that particular game at school this morning.

Unfortunately, as I step into our office that morning, I discover basically the whole floor is underwater. And I don't mean just like a thin layer as if somebody spilled a cup of water. No, this was the kind where you could scoop up water into a bucket in certain areas. And what was most dangerous was that it was completely surrounding the computers/electrical plugs and wires. But the afternoon co-teacher, although aware of the situation, was doing her zero-hour type class and couldn't be bothered to do much about the issue. So the office is underwater, and I still need to use one of the computers to make one of our activities for camp.

When Naomi shows up, we grab some mops (which are the worst mops ever. They're soaked in 2 seconds, and they don't have drainers, so you had to put on some gloves and squeeze the little mop rope thingies by hand into a bucket). We eventually took the roles of her mopping and me squeezing before two of our co-teachers came in. They began to work on the water situation while I went to one of the classrooms to work on the activity real quick. Then I came back and helped more with mopping/squeezing things up. We got things dried up to the best of our abilities, and I was able to hop on Naomi's computer to print stuff off since the water didn't quite reach her area. And some guys came in to look at the burst water pipe and turn off the water and all that, too. I finished the activity and got it to Naomi for her camp class in time and was able to switch back over to my computer area, which had dried up enough.

So as for the actual camp class, we started with another video (this one I actually put together myself the night before--Wednesday and Thursday were primarily the days I put together). Our focus was on sports like basketball, volleyball, rugby, etc. And we also focused on some sentence structure, too, which we did a few of the days this week (different sentences each day). This particular day was full of games. We did a team-picking activity followed by tug of war. We played a Bullseye Frisbee game where the students had to answer a question to get a toss, and then toss the frisbee into a bullseye target on the floor for points. There was a volleyball/pass the ball style game. And then a memory/matching game (which is the one I spent all morning trying to put together). It went pretty well. I had 8 students this day.

But we still had to figure out the boats situation for the next day, and our revelation came at lunch time. Naomi had made and brought kimbap for everyone, and as we're getting ready to go to the other room for lunch, one of our co-teachers takes out some wooden chopsticks for us to use. And that's when it hit us--chopsticks! Why hadn't we thought of that before? I spent part of that afternoon making another boat with the chopsticks to see if it worked and--ta da!--it did. So we finished prepping for the rest of the next day and everything appeared to be fine.

Thursday (Water Sports)

Sadly, there was a mishap in Naomi's class during the making of the boats and nobodies ended up working. And they spent a lot of time on the boats, so they didn't have a chance to do everything else on the lesson. But come my class, everything worked fine. We started with another video that I put together based on swimming, diving, rowing, and water polo. Then we made our boats, which worked out well. Then we had a little race tournament, which the kids loved. After the break, we did a balloon race/popping game with ordinal numbers and played a board game with little swimmers and a cardboard pool. I had only 7 students this day.

Overall this day was pretty successful, at least on my end. And I even managed to get some video footage of the boat races! Check it out.

Friday (Closing Ceremony)

Kind of an off day. Everyone was tired from everything and was ready to end the week already. Naomi and my classes were planned differently as she had some classes that needed to finish activities from earlier in the week first. As for mine, we watched a closing ceremony highlights video. Then we taught them (at least partially) "We Are The Champions" by Queen. We played a review game (which was really fun because of how it played out in points and point swapping, etc.). Watched another funny cartoon video where stick figures get hurt doing Olympic things. Played one last game. Then we awarded a gold medal to the student who won the most stickers throughout the week (based on games and whatnot). They had snack time and then left.

And that was about it! Now I get to do it all over again this coming week with 6th graders. Hopefully it goes a lot more smoothly since we have everything finalized from the start.

1 comment:

  1. Wow yall did a great job incorporating fun and learning together. Loved the boat races, so glad it finally worked for you. which co teacher was that?
    those boys look small for 5th graders, but they were so cute!
    Good Job!