Wednesday, December 8, 2010

KidPower ToyCon

Last week was the much-anticipated KidPower ToyCon (batteries not included), the annual convention of the Classic Toy Manufacturers and Retailers Association.  And the Exhibition Hall is right there in my classroom!

Better-speaking students man booths inside the classroom as representatives of toy companies, intending to hawk their latest new product; the rest of the class are "store buyers", the people that choose the merchandise that will stock their stores' shelves this Christmas season.  Each store rep. has a unique identity and set of requirements, given on his worksheet; each toy manf. guy has information he wants, too, in addition to selling his toy: store name, contact info, number of outlets, age range, etc.

Okay, so it's a conceit for an interview/information gap activity, but the two co-teachers repeating from last year claim it was their favorite lesson.  I mentioned previously the ways I've tried to improve it: a) simplifying the Q & A (too much information takes too much time and decreases the contacts); and b) increasing the number of toys, or booths, from 8 to 10.  Both moves were successful, so the average "interviewee/store buyer" got five or six interviews compared to three last year. 

It was a massive amount of work last year, mainly finding appropriate toys (no guns, swords or other violent toys, no movie or pop culture tie-ins, and ... no batteries required), then building a corporate logo, brand and promotional materials.  This year I did three new toys, but I kept the Scholas Pop Out World stuff intact, because, though it is a Korean company (owned by LG), the English was acceptible. 

This lesson does promote a good amount of English speaking, though vocabulary covered in the textbook, like retail (as in retail price) and promotional (as in flyer) were sometimes less understood than I hoped.  I also used my "teaching stick" to threaten students who said their email address AT (@) was pronounced dalbaengi 달뱅이, though I swear before I looked it up I heard it as 골뱅이, golbaengi.  However you say it, don't!  달뱅이 is a marine snail, a popular anju food, whose spiral-y shape resemples the @. 

To conclude the lesson, students look over their contacts and compare them to the specifications for their particular search--"Did you get a match?"   A student who visits five of the ten booths is almost certain to have at least one match.  One further change I would make is to add a column on the far right of the worksheet, to check off Match or Not a Match.

The Nice Catch Suction Ball Paddle Game from Whizz-O, above, was a popular addtion this year (though two broken paddles do not bode well for its longevity in the market, or indeed the KidPower ToyCon).  The Puzzlebox sets from IQ+, Inc. were also a hit, and were solved--in one sitting--by Yours Truly:

Okay, so I'm a big kid at heart.


조안나 said...

I thought it was 골뱅이 too... maybe I just heard the 뱅이 and just assumed... but at least you're not the only one... I'm gona ask my korean about this later...

Tuttle said...

Let me know. I looked up snail in my phone dic and that's what I got. 골뱅이 was not there at all, in either look-up.

Chris said...

Perhaps you need a "Leaders' Baton", like I bought my Dad (a professor) a few years back. Scroll down in this post:

In English, among us computer geeks, I've heard "bang" for the exclamation mark, "splat" for the asterix. And there are too many names for the number symbol to even list. Let's start a multilingual puncuation slang dictionary...

Chris said...

골뱅이 is some kind of snail - look in the grocery store next trip, and you'll see cans of it. Is this also the foul-smelling tiny snails you can buy on the street???

But you're right, it's not in any dictionary I can find - even my 3000 page/ea K-E and E-K Dong-A Prime paper(bang) dictionaries! Which interestingly shows snail as 달팽이, not 뱅.

I think we need some help from a Korean-American biologist (or chef).

Tuttle said...

Chris: isn't that stolen from Victor Borge?
And I like the idea of a "teaching stick" that massages you while you are beating your students. A tasty irony indeed.

If we're thinking of the same smelly things, that's bundaegi 번대기, isn't it? Silkworm pupae, which you can also get canned in the store. Though why you would, I can't begin to imagine.