End of the Semester and Summer Camp

First, here’s a picture of some dark clouds. It’s monsoon season…ish. Also there’s quite a bit of typhoons (aka hurricanes) raging around us. So we’ve gotten some rain. One morning was the hardest rain I’ve ever been in. The Coloradan in me was like “oh, it will stop in a few minutes. 10 minutes tops” but we got more and more soaked on the 15 minute walk to school and 40 minutes later it was still POURING.


Chris has officially finished his first week of summer camp while mine started in the middle of the week so I’ve got 2 more days. Camp has been a messy, confusing thing. Much more hectic than usual classes but much more fun. You have more time with individual students  (only 20 students in the camp!) and you can do fun things because you don’t have to follow the book.

I can’t offer any pictures from Chris’s summer camp but at my school we’ve actually been required to take photos for a big report at the end (what did you do? how did you spend the money? what did the kids learn?)

A week ago the books arrived. You remember I was working on the books a long while ago. It was fun to see my “work” published.



Of course, when I converted the books file into a pdf – for some reason many of the pictures got all jumbled. So I spent 4 hours pasting the real image over the messed up ones.

What are the parts of a s’more? – A … picture of a bear???

The semester ended on Tuesday. The students clean their own classroom but each room is assigned another room or area in the school to keep clean. I’ve got 1st grade girls who just mess around (and possibly steal some of my candy) rather than clean the room. So when the semester ended I helped them clean it by monitoring, pointing and gesturing and generally handing them all the trash that had been hiding in the room since March. They had to take about 4 loads down, but for the first time since I moved into my English room, it was finally clean and presentable.

I moved some desks around for the camp but here’s an idea of what it looks like:

The view from the door at the back of the classroom. All the crazy clock and landscape posters are actually blinds so the whole left wall has windows. A whole pod of tables is missing – ordinarily I have 20 tables – 2 person at each table.
View from the other side. A “we are proud of ourselves” board and a mini computer lab

Summer camp started on Wednesday. I have 19 1st graders  (one cancelled to do science camp. gosh!). They were hand picked based on their English level. 1/4th are nearly fluent in words I would expect a 6th grade American to know. And even the lowest students can have a decent conversation if they want (2 are very shy). I may have actually made the camps level too low.

The summer camp is themed off of an American summer camp. So far it’s been pretty great. Scavenger hunts don’t really exist here – and it was a HUGE hit. I had students sprinting all over the school – getting yelled at by the few staff members who have to be here over summer break. It was a crazy thing. Lest we have too much fun, we researched animals and presented their findings.


Then, foolishly I slotted 45 minutes to make dream catchers. I figured it would go over the time some but really it was about 2 hours and they still weren’t finished. They’re very meticulous, which I respect, but I have to keep telling them “well, dream catchers would have been made out of sticks and branches, they probably weren’t’ a perfect circle either”


One student is just about done, another is really close – mostly knots, and then theres the orange-ish one. The majority of students have really only made it this far.

The next day we studied animals and carved stamps out of erasers. Only one student sliced their finger open (we were using sharp carving tools) So I would consider it a success.


Here’s my collection of stamps.

Lizards, keys and lots of “EXO” logos (a band)



I ended Friday by checking all 19 books. We’re supposed to give awards to the most studious teams and individuals. So really it was some kind of reconnaissance into who’s taking the best notes, who’s doing homework, etc.


Also you can see their names – chosen English names or the romanization of their proper names. I’ve got some pretty “normal” names, Michelle, Matt, Amelia. Some stranger spellings “Ellice” (I can’t tell if its pronounced closer to Alice or Elise). Then there’s a boy named Jelly and a girl who was named Daisy but who changed to “Lusinda” at the last second. Why not, I guess?

Not very many of Chris’s students had English names, so he helped with them. There were quite a bit of Disney princesses: “Aurora” “Elsa” “Anna” and then one boy who decided to name himself “Talehban” which he pronounced all kinds of wonky. He was laughing about it – then Chris caught on after it was written down that he had chosen a phonetic version of “Taliban.” Okay.

I guess I have a second grade girl next week who’s English name is, lower case; no spaces: “fishfishfish” My first graders have discovered the roster and “fishfishfish” has become somewhat of a rally cry now.


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