Sunday, July 31, 2016

Summer Camp: Week 1

My Summer Camps this time are Toys and Games Around the World for grades 3 and 4, and The Bean's English for older students.

On Tuesday, we learned about and held our own Scottish Highland Games, including Maide Leisg, the "Lazy Stick" game, in which opponents try to lift each other's bottom off the ground.

The next day we learned American "desktop games", including three penny hockey and flick football.

On Thursday, students had to bring in empty egg cartons to make a mancala set, and Friday we learned how to play:

We also made and colored our own Tangram sets.

The Mr Bean class learned vocabulary then watched a Mr Bean story. They completed worksheets, made conversations, and played games, then watched one of the animated Mr Bean episodes. On Friday, we watched Mr Bean make a sandwich, and made our own sentence sandwiches. Here are a couple of them.

One week finished, one week to go.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Farewell Week, Part 2: S'mores Festival

Full disclosure: My school has had a "Science Festival" every year, an event which I am totally in favor of, which led me to wish for an "English Festival". My new co-teacher Nicky, without my input, actually just did it, although it was less school-wide than classroom-wide. Though none of us knew it at the time, the event coincided with my "farewell" lesson. This was fortuitous, as it turned what could have been a dreary occasion into quite a lot of fun. You have already seen the gestures many students and classes made to thank me for teaching them during the last (up to) four years. I was moved by the genuine emotion many of them expressed. And we had s'mores!

S'mores are are a kind of sandwich wherein a melted/toasted marshmallow and a piece of chocolate are smushed between two crackers--usually graham crackers. Not much in the way of grahams available in Korea, but I have to say saltines worked just fine. 'Cause s'mores are somewhat an American cultural phenomenon.

Nicky went somewhat overboard in requisitioning the supplies, but I always think it's better to to have extra than not enough. We treated the whole "Festival" as a camp out, so the English language connection was to sing campfire songs--"If I had a hammer", "I love the mountains" and/or "Puff the magic dragon". It was great!

In America, we would doubtless melt the marshmallows in the microwave, but this being Korea, we roasted them on open flames over what most of us call the "samgyupsal burner".

Don't worry, forceful instruction in English and Korean insured they stayed seated, blew their burning marshmallows out upward (not to the side or down into the burner flame) ...

...and never put crackers, chocolate or plain wooden skewers into the flames.

A tasty and delicious time was had by all.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Yangmyung Farewell Week

I mentioned previously that I will be transferred to a new school for my next contract, and this was the last week of classes for the semester (two weeks of camp starting Monday). So, in addition to being English Festival week, about which more later, this was my farewell to the students after four years with them. Or, their farewell to me.

Different classes said farewell in different ways. The third and fourth graders presented enormous cards and played recorders for me. Their teacher apparently had some trouble impressing the honorific "Mister" on them, though they always use it when speaking to me. Third grade:

Fourth grade:

Sixth graders wrote longer, individual notes, some of which I thought were creative. some tears were shed, even by the big boys!

My fifth grade co-teacher taught with me last year, and perhaps that prompted her and them to put a bit more effort into their gifts. They made some pretty neat music videos and sang along in class. I've pulled a couple good shots from them. I've also compiled them together and uploaded the result to Youtube.

Each class chose a different song and each student illustrated a line from it. I like them. Granted, almost no one spelled my name correctly, but they got some important details right, like my phone holster, and the joy and laughter my typical lesson (okay, my ideal lesson) engenders.

Anyway, this was a sad as well as fun week for us, and sometimes gratifying. One of their common themes was "Don't forget us--we won't forget you." I won't forget.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Restaurant Review: 왕건이고기집

Come out of Sadang station Exit 5, and turn right. Then take the first left. 왕건이고기집, wang geon e gogi jib, is a shoebox of a place, but it offers, as the name suggests, some "really big meat". It's the sliver of frontage on the left in the pic below, with a banner announcing a two + one special in the month of July.

I suspect they have twelve such banners, because a similar deal was in effect when our occasional "Western Seoul Dinner Club" visited a few months ago. That's me, The Stumbler, Nick, and this time, Choro. Members emeritus include Kevin, Lynn and Helen.

There are five million photos of "Korean Barbeque" online--make that five million and one. 갈비살 is rib meat, at 150 grams for 11,000 W. When you make that a 2 + 1 deal, four people ate and drank to satiety for 64,000 W. I have eaten at regular price places where the galbi is fair to middlin', but despite the price the quality here was really good. More potatoes and onions for the asking.


Here is the menu, and a fun sign to the 화장실:

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Umbrella Condom

장마 (jangma) is here. Jangma is the East Asian Monsoon, which typically arrives in Korea in mid-June, moving north to hit Seoul around a month later. The last few years we haven't had much in the way of the typical monsoon, but this year looks to be different--today was the third good day of rain in the last couple of weeks.

As you can see in the pic above, next to the door of my local coffee shop, there is a trash can used as an umbrella stand. This is a pretty standard way all over the world to store umbrellas and keep them from dripping on the floor.

Another method for preventing umbrellas from dripping is the "wet umbrella packing device" most widely used in Korea and Japan. I took photos of two of them today, first the one outside McDonald's where I had breakfast, the second in the lobby of my building. They usually have a trash or recycling can next to them to dispose of the bag as you leave.

And here's what it looks like in use. Very clever.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Hero Ain't Nothin' But a Poster

...a poster on, that is.

This is the best website for sharing (and stealing) teaching materials for ESL especially in Korea, but really anywhere.

I joined when I moved to elementary school in 2012, and in those early days really depended on it, since the number of preps I had to do was so much greater than at the high school.

These days, I upload rather than download, and have shared around 350 lesson ideas or materials (like PPTs), which have been downloaded by others something like 400,000 times in all. Today I made post #1000 to the forum and received my "Hero of Waygookistan" badge.

No, it's not a big deal, but I haven't posted a single thing all month.