Students began class by studying the local newspaper by themselves while observing the format and design. They presented their findings to the class, then as a group, we discussed the various components that make up the paper. We talked about titles, column format, dates, different sections of the paper, fonts, ads etc. Next, we took a look at articles while paying special attention to the author’s lead-ins or “hooks”. I shared two articles that I wrote and were published recently in the paper. I allowed them to critique my own first paragraph and title. Students went on to begin organizing and formatting their rough draft for use in their own newspaper. I witnessed excellent cross-over of what students have learned about Ernest Hemingway as an author, Eugene Buchanan as a magazine writer and Ben Ingersoll as a newspaper writer. It is exciting to see the knowledge come together as a group and translate into what they THINK a good article entails. Now, it is in their hands to produce it for themselves. We concluded with students reading from For Whom the Bells Toll. Homework for tonight is to read to Chapter 43 and finish their newspaper format guide.
The students started the morning with a dialogue that they had written for homework from the prompt “Were you invited to the party after school today?” After an initial hiccup in which several students had to return to their rooms to find their homework, we were finally ready to correct and recite the dialogues. The dialogues were very well done. There were few mistakes with the use of “it” and “that” and the corresponding antecedents. We will review the grammar for these words tomorrow. Afterwards we sang the class song. Before moving on to practice the class play I asked the students to summarize the plot of the play. Today we practiced our play using props including cowboy hats, paper money, vegetables, a sheriff’s star, and sticks. The students seem to really enjoy the play though it is sometimes difficult to get the younger boys to act their parts rather than just jumping up and down yelling their lines at the top of their lungs. For our final activity of the day we practiced writing negative questions in the passive from examples that they had seen in class. Homework: Non-progressive passive worksheet eg. Is the television switched on?
As yesterday, we started today’s class by sharing with the students a Chinese culture related story. The story is about how Chinese new year “Xin Nian” came about. We talked about the culture of lighting the fireworks and wearing red clothes. Then we turned to today’s Pingyin section, the nasal finals, therefore we finish introducing all of the initials and finals in Chinese Pingyin system. We did a simple math, there are about 3000 different sounds by combining all of the initials, finals and tones. The students have built basic foundation to prounce all these sounds. Then we reviewed the closing ceremony presentation, each student made the speech by standing in front of the class. We talked about the importance of volume, eye contact and stand still. Last, we gave students the opportunity to add a few more sentences to their speech. Homework is to review their speech.
After spending several days practicing how scientists collect data and observe natural processes, we switched gears today to focus on the creative process that science and discovery require. Today, we were innovators as we discussed the design problem solving method. We practiced our problem solving skills with several different design challenges. What a success! Mackenzie, Sky, Tony and Diamond won the marshmallow tower at .87 m tall! Yuky, Tim and Annie worked hard to collaborate and develop the longest flying helicopter. We had fun but we also learned that sometimes the best solutions are the ones that ask us to think outside the box.
Wow. Just realized this is the last day of July! Today we made journals out of the handmade paper that we made last week. We had to wait patiently for the paper to dry, but it was worth it. The journals are beautiful! Some decorated them with beads, and glued other items on the covers. We also started making tile mosaics out of very small pieces of tile. Tomorrow we should get those finished up. During the drama class, we warmed up with an exercise that improves students’ ability to block out the audience. One actor goes on stage and acts out their morning routine, something you know very well but that you normally do alone. The whole point of this activity is to help the kids focus on their actions rather than the pressure of all the eyes on them. After that we broke off and I took the other half of the kids who had not yet been interviewed and interviewed them. Today we had a few more interviews than yesterday so we didnt have time to do our end activity but it was a very productive day nonetheless!
At this time of the summer, Steamboat can still be very crowded with tourists. Today it seemed all of the tourists decided to come to pool the same day as the students and I. Never have I seen the pool so full, but the kids didn’t seem to give it a second thought. They were swimming and splashing all over the place, enjoying the pool more than anyone else. It was really fun to watch the students mingle and hang out with kids at the pool not involved in the camp. From today I could tell their confidence in their English has improved tremendously since the first day I had the pleasure of hanging out with the kids.