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Archive for April, 2010

The elementary school just down the road from me plays songs on its bell system, and it’s been bugging me since I moved in that I couldn’t remember what a certain lunchtime song was.  Today, I finally remembered midomi.com and within 2 minutes, I had worked it out that it was Dvorak’s New World Symphony.  Sweet success!

Now I just need to figure out how to conquer little Mr. ADHD in my Tuesday class (I’ll have him again on Friday), and how to get my junior high class to talk.  I think a lot of it is the textbook, which sucks pretty hard.  Hopefully, the next level will be better, since theirs is a pretty flexible curriculum.

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Over the past few days, I have spent a lot of time with 4 and 5 year olds, and it’s very fascinating how people just don’t change from then on.  There are the tattletales (oh my goodness, are there a lot of tattletales in Chang Long’s 中班! — Teacher, he push and I say “Say sorry to me!” and he no say!), the quiet workers, the power-mad dictators, the helpful and friendly types, and my favorite: the heroes.

Last Monday, I observed this middle class for the second time.  Many of them remembered my name from a few weeks ago, when I observed them in preparation for my first kindergarten teaching ever, so I was touched.  A few of them even came up and asked me questions in the “run and practice with your friends” part of the class.  On Wednesday, I taught and observed (the teacher who was leaving on vacation wasn’t going until late in the evening, so she came in to give me even more ideas and to get paid for 2.5 more hours), and they were still little angels.  In fact, I spent a lot of time trying to smother laughter because they were just so cute playing dodgeball and freeze tag.  Freeze tag was especially hilarious because as soon as they were tagged, they stood spread-eagled and bawled “Help me!  Help me!” until someone came to free them.  I wish I’d taken video!

Freeze tag is not a game I ever thought I would use to assess character, but Bonnie is not just a bossy 5 year old; she’s a loyal little hero and tactical mastermind.  She saves all the kids, even the irritating ones like Nick.  She sizes up how close “It” is before she dives under someone’s legs, and if she might get caught, she rockets off and makes a second pass.  Most of the other kids only save friends, and some can’t even manage that.  They’re content to run and yell, which is not a bad thing, but the contrast is amusing.

Two children who should be carefully followed in the future because they will become powerful political forces (for good or evil) or petty middle-managers: Alice and Angel.  They were the little teachers in the two classes I observed on Monday, and the power shot straight to their heads!  To be fair, though, they don’t need the title to be bossy, as I’ve seen in following classes.  Some kids take the little teacher title and do nothing but lead the class to the bathroom, but those two micro-managed how the class was sitting and took initiative to propose games and activities.

This really makes me wonder how I was at this age.  I suspect I was pretty bossy which implies outgoing, but if so, what happened?!

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Let’s get physical

I ate a fish eye today.My shoulders still hurt

In other news, I signed up for the HESS dragon boat team and had the orientation meeting last night and the first practice today.  The locations are rather far, but at least I’m not coming from Keelung or Sanxia like two or three people on the team!  I’m going to say that’s something like Irvine to San Diego?  It should only take me an hour to get to the practices on the bus and MRT, and there are only 5 or 6 more.  I think I need to go to Carrefour or Costco and buy some free weights for the weekdays, though!

The practice was pretty awesome aside from the running.  We practice along an LA River-esque trickle, in the shade of some freeway overpasses.  It truly looks like a place you could dump a few bodies or have a rumble with the Sharks.  We stretched out and ran a very short but overwhelming distance (I didn’t walk at all and I was very pleased with myself), then sat around a huge tank of water to practice rowing.  There are 20 rowers and 3 other positions, but there are about 30 people showing up to practices.  This meant we had a fair amount of shufflingThat water is pretty nasty. around the tank today, which was perfect, since even two minutes at a stretch is strenuous!  The technique is nothing like canoes or kayaks, which are my only rowing experience, and involves keeping your inside arm elevated and powering the stroke from your back and stomach by twisting.  The coach, a local named David, pulled me and another girl up to the front seats to demonstrate, so I’m either doing fine or wrong.  I think I was the good example, but it was hard to tell.

Practice ended with running: “sprints” of at least 150 meters, guys vs. guys then girls vs. girls, with the penalty being to drink a sip from the rowing tank.  That got a good laugh out of everyone, but fortunately I did well enough to not worry about it, joke though it was!  Then we split into 3 teams and had a race, which my team won because we snuck off the starting line and then mobbed around the end point so the others couldn’t touch it.  All is fair in love and conditioning, after all.

Now, back to the fish eye.  About a third of the group decided to grab lunch, so we started walking and found a Thai place, which I wasn’t too pleased about owing to previous painful experiences, but I didn’t feel like looking for something else.  Good thing, too, because it was amazing.  It absolutely turned me around in my views on Thai food, and it was marvelously cheap.  I spilled some sauce on my workout pants, and I’m so glad of it because now I smell like delicious food.

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Read-a-thon update

I only read just over 100 pages, which is pretty abysmal for me.  It’s just that I had so many things to do (successfully completed most of them!), but the reading breaks were welcome.

Next year will be excellent, I’m sure!

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Grading tests

SA11test1

Obviously, my CT and I have not been drilling spelling hard enough.

Ladies and gentlemen: phonics.

SA11test2

Another paper, post-correction.

These are both tests I graded today, and while I didn’t quite feel like a failure, I know that spelling drills are going to play a big part of the next few classes to get them in a good habit. On a final note, here’s one of those where you know exactly what was running though the kid’s brain, but can’t help but process it another way.

SA11test3culturalref

This is my student that comes to class in tight black clothes with a pretentious beret and a cigarette.

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A silly sentence

I only brought about 15 books with me when I moved to Taiwan, and two of them had titles that were already full sentences!  (“Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!” and Come on Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All.)  This shrank my pool of possibilities even further, but I’ve come up with something that’s not too bad.

Two books make a pretty long sentence!

The fish boy of Orchid Island is big in Japan!

Amusing, at the very least!

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My new place

I’m fully moved in to my new apartment, which means I have one couch, one bed, one blanket (Irma, it’s called Irma!!!  That’s the main reason I bought it), two suitcases, one computer bag, and one duffel full of dirty clothes.

After some shopping with Rebecca today, I also have a new purse and some facewash, but tomorrow is when I plan to do the heavy lifting.  IKEA’s going to deliver a desk chair and a dresser, and I’m also going to run to Carrefour for hangers and towels and FOOD.

In between all of this, I’m going to be reading as much as possible for the 24-hour Read-a-thon!  I rarely need an excuse for this kind of thing, but I’m going to be using it as mandatory relaxation in the midst of getting my apartment ready for real habitation.  Fun times!

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