Thursday, January 15, 2015

Winter Camp!

 Wow, it’s the middle of January already! We hope everyone’s start to the new year has been wonderful! Today I finished my last day of Winter Camp at my school! That means it’s finally time for our Winter Vacation! We get 24 days (including weekends) and we are splitting our vacation between January and February as we have 2 weeks of regular school in February. It’s confusing, as it’s very different than US schools. But we are so very excited for vacation #1!

 Winter camps are very common throughout Korean elementary, middle, and high schools! They all vary in length of time and expectations, but the goal is for students to be exposed to English while regular school is out of session.

Nicole helping our students make Inushuks out of play dough!

This was my first English camp and I was thankfully paired with 2 other English teachers for this camp! Liz (from Canada) and Nicole (from the US) and I worked together to come up with many activities and lesson plans for our 10-day camp. This is really rare to have so many teachers for one camp, but we were very grateful for it!


 We decided our theme was “Winter” since its very broad and we could come up with many activities centered around that theme. It was really nice to break up the responsibility between 3 of us and put all of our talents together! Liz is a great singer and wrote a song for our students to learn, Nicole is a great cook and shared some great recipes with the students, and I like to dance so I taught students a few different dances!

Liz taught the students the song she wrote and we learned the "Cups" pattern!

Besides those activities we had a million (well…almost a million!) other activities planned for the kids. We learned all about penguins and the Inuit culture, conducted science experiments, made lots of arts and crafts, and played games! It was really fun to have the flexibility and freedom to do basically whatever we wanted! We were very lucky to have a very large budget to purchase supplies for this camp.  Not all schools have this type of budget, but it definitely allowed us to be creative!

The students in the Tye Dye T-shirts we made! 

We had 26 students for this camp and at least 23 showed up every day! I’d say that’s great attendance! Though our camp activities weren’t from a textbook, we felt our students learned a lot of English through the activities we did. Because it was 3 native English Teachers teaching the entire camp, they were almost forced to use their English as much as possible to communicate! They did a great job! It was a nice feeling when my Korean co-teacher praised us for having engaging activities for the student’s everyday. We felt proud of our camp and of all of our students!

Here is a slideshow video I put together for my students on the last day!

Tyler’s winter camp was very different than mine! He had 4 days of English camp with a total of 8 students. Unfortunately, not all of his students showed up every day and on the last day, he only had 2 attend! However, he planned great English activities for them and they were even able to enjoy some fun activities like making hot chocolate, participating in a scavenger hunt that lead to a prize of popcorn, and playing fun American card games like “Spot it!” He did not get an extra teacher and his Korean co-teacher wasn’t even present for any of it! So, he definitely had to communicate with the students without any help with translating at all!

Though our camps were very different, we both worked hard this January to continue to help our students work on their English! It was a great experience for us to see what “English Camps” are and now we are more prepared to plan Summer English Camp next August!

Can you see their enthusiasm dancing? ;) Haha, just kidding! As much as they usually like dancing, they are horribly embarrassed to be on camera....

Tomorrow morning we leave to go to Incheon Airport to meet my parents! It’s exciting to think they will finally be in Korea! We will visit Seoul for a few days (including visiting the DMZ!), travel to China for 3 days, and come back to Korea to stay in our hometown of Hwasun! It will be an exciting 10 days and we cannot wait to begin! Until then….it’s time to clean and pack! ;)

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