Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Good Showing

Today went a lot better. 

I used the fish puppet that my Korean Student's mother Sally made for me before I left Korea and made a lesson out of story telling.

For the 4th graders I told the story "The Rainbow Fish" by Marcus Pfister. The story is about a fish that has beautiful, sparkling scales but because it doesn't share it has no friends. Once it begins sharing it has friends and becomes a very happy and modest fish. It's a nice short story and the children seemed to understand it really well. However they did have a bit of a problem expressing their answers in English so I decided to have them tell me a very short story by drawing pictures comic-strip style. I was surprised with some of their stories. The one that stood out the most was a story these two girls called "Big Bear" It was about a bear that was proud and arrogant that he was so big and made fun of a rabbit for being so small. Then the elephant comes along and laughs at the bear for being so small. So understanding how the rabbit must have felt the bear returns to apologize. They made this short story in less than 15 minutes! I'm posting some other notable ones for you:

Big Bear. My favorite
The Rainbow Fish

Caring is Sharing
Santa Troubles

 For the 3rd graders I decided not to do the Rainbow Fish story because I felt it'd be better to work on some more basic vocabulary that I began with my introducation class such as "I am ____", "I like ____", etc. So I set them to task on drawing a picture of themselves and things they enjoy. I asked them to write four sentences. However I was really surprised when almost ALL of them were writing in cursive. I haven't used cursive, except for my signature, since I was in grade school and I don't know many other people that do either. I also so how they still mix capital and lowercase letters when writing in the vernacular style. So I insisted that they write in this style. This is where a road block came in. They just didn't understand what I wanted. I finally went for some outside help which wasn't very helpful. The head of the villa didn't understand what I wanted and the guy he called was very busy and a bit annoyed. So I went back to the class and just had them finish the assignment to the best of their abilities letting them write in cursive. After the class I was informed that they don't KNOW the vernacular case and are told not to write in it. They are taught to write in cursive only by mandate of the board of education. WOW! That was a surprise. But not a big deal. I can read the writing fine. Here are two great examples of work from my 3rd graders:

A sample without cursive
A sample with a mix of cursive and regular

 After classes we had a meeting. I have a meeting every Tuesday. I'm really thankful for this as before I was finding it hard to communicate with anybody to get the things I need such as materials, a curriculum, and my books. We now have books, the curriculum is still a bit of a mystery but I'll speak with the homeroom teachers on that, and I told them the materials I needed which consisted of atleast one reem of paper, pens, markers, and poster boards for each class so I could make a point chart.

Then one by one we were told to share how our classes had been so far. I was happy to go next to last. Since I had done the storytelling lessons I had actual visual aids to show and it was really a boost of confidence that I have everything under control. The Korean system of  last minute changes and lack of communication prepared me well for well..being prepared for a class with no compass to guide me. I'm really glad I kept my powerpoints I used while in Korea as they were a huge help. If I hadn't I'd have been pretty lost and stressed this week. Now that I have the books all will be well.

My second culture today happened during the meeting when I introduced myself to female colleagues who were wearing the hijab. I offered my hand and a big smile while introducing myself; the first one gave me the tips of her fingers shyly and the second looked at me uncomfortably and a little bit in shock. Then I pulled my hand away remembering my time back in Iowa when I would congregate with Muslims at the Mosque in Cedar Rapids. Men and women don't touch if they are not related. Woops!

I got a ride home in the school bus and I'll get picked up tomorrow at 7:35am so I best be off to bed so I'm not late for my free ride.

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