Grade 6: News Report and Weather Forecast

What are you doing this weekend? What are you doing tomorrow?
I’m flying a kite. I’m going to study. I’m going to read a book.
It’s going to rain. It’s going to be sunny.

Another lesson full of key expressions that students just repeat like parrots and write as if they’re a template to follow. And thus, I made a period of English class where we watched an actual English weather report from Arirang TV channel. And then we did news report presentations in classes. Students had to include a little introduction (Hello. This is Carmen teacher from Caramel News), a piece of news (Class 6-7 has been very active in English class because they missed Carmen teacher last week), and end it off with a short weather report (It’s going to be colder tomorrow so don’t forget your sweater!)

It was lots of fun, even though some classes needed a little coaxing when it came to volunteers for the presentation. For the first few classes, I had hand-drawn the News Report background but I put together a few PowerPoint slides between classes and found a “microphone” so students could role play more effectively.

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Interview with M and Y; or Just a Friendly Friday After-School Conversation

I was asked yesterday by two Grade 6 boys if they could interview me for a homework assignment. I agreed, of course. And just held this little interview session in my English classroom.

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Some of the questions I was asked:

– Do you like Korea?
– How do you find Korean life?
– What do you think about Korean culture?
– Do you have Korean friends?
– Do you like Sumin teacher?
– Do you like K-Pop?
– What’s your favourite K-Pop?
– Do you know Korean dramas?
– Who’s your favourite Korean actor?
– Do you miss Canada? When do you miss Canada most?
– What would you do when you get back to your house (Canada)?
– Who’s your favourite student?
– What is different in Korea?
– If you didn’t teach, do you have another dream?

For the most part, the boys weren’t actually ready for the interview and thought up of questions as we went along. But they were really cute about it. When they did get stumped, I would ask them a question and just have them talking – anything to have them practice their English. And as a result, I learned some new things about them.

One of the boys wants to be a scientist. His favourite actress (he doesn’t like K-Pop) is Park Bo Young. And his favourite superhero is Hulk. Why? I thought at first it’s because of how strong and big the Hulk is. But then the boy told me it’s because he’s a scientist too. Which just struck me as insightful in such an obvious way that no one ever really thinks about when they think about the Hulk.

The other boy wants to be an entertainer, like those on Running Man (he made this reference). And he wants to act in action dramas. His favourite K-Pop singer is Suzy, but not Miss A because “they are foreigners”. And when I remarked that I was a foreigner, he said that I was different. I’m not sure how but it didn’t feel like the time to figure that out. His favourite superhero is “Youngman” (himself). And his superpower? Whenever he goes anywhere, the girls all like him.

Well, you have to give him credit for his confidence at least.

Grade 5: Let’s Say Hello on Skype

I’ve been looking forward to doing a Skype call with my classes again, but this time around, with the Grade 5 classes. In their first lesson for the second semester, they are learning how to start conversations on the phone. Perfect to tie in my video calling sessions.

This time around, I decided not to ask any guy friends (sorry, M) because I didn’t want to enter another session with the students being obsessed with questions like, “Are you Carmen’s boyfriend? Do you like Carmen? Do you love Carmen? Does Carmen love you?” So, with the help of A, C, and D, we introduced the Grade 5 students to Skype.

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I had to remind the students to not just jump right into the questions but to practice what they have learned. Saying “Hello” and introducing themselves. Then they would proceed.

One of the main differences I felt with the Grade 5s were how much more eager and childish they still are. Not in an immature and silly way. But just more genuine in their participation and feelings about things. They’re more focused on talking to the person and less on their appearance on the camera and TV screen. I really adore my Grade 5 students.

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The questions we got this time around were much like the ones we got from the Grade 6 students. With less emphasis on “favourites” (the Grade 6 students at the time had just previously been working on asking “favourite” questions. The questions involved:

– Do you have a boyfriend?
– Do you love your boyfriend?
– Do you think you are pretty?
– What is your job?
– How much do you like Carmen teacher?
– Do you know K-Pop?
– What’s your favourite (Korean) food?

At one point, we even got one student to dance a little Gangnam Style – the boy in the “MAN UTD” polo. I’d like to think that the students really enjoyed the Skype experience.

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One group drew a little picture that they wanted C to decide whether it was cute or scary. They’re an interesting bunch.

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With the two classes with D, it happened to be D’s birthday and so we got the two classes to sing Happy Birthday to her. Happy birthday, Dee!

I’m not sure if it’s because my students just didn’t listen or understand me in the very beginning of the year during my introduction. They must have. I was very entertaining as I introduced myself. But they seemed genuinely surprised when I mentioned that I was Chinese-Canadian (I was telling them that A was the same as me). And then I got the strangest question ever from a student — “Carmen teacher, why are you Chinese?”
… That’s a deep question, kid. We might need to check with my Hong Kong Chinese parents, maybe even ask my Grandmother. But I’m thinking it has to do with them being Chinese too.

Grade 6: Invitations

The first lesson for the Grade 6s in the second semester are invitations. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve had to do such a dry lesson with the students. Ever. It’s been a real headache thinking of interesting lessons; made even harder by the extra sessions I needed to plan to accommodate my CTs. For one of the lessons, I decided that the students will practice their writing and make actual invitations. In this way, I was also able to let the students practice writing “RSVP.” This is a Western practice that was completely foreign and new to the students. As usual, my students surprise me with their artistic abilities, creativity, and originality.

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I decided that the students could have any kind of party that they wanted. As such, what started as a simple “Game party” idea turned out to be more specific. “LOL” or League of Legends. It’s a computer game that my sixth graders are obsessed with. And thus, in many classes, I had a good amount of these LOL invitations.

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I’ve been asked to do another “Would you like to come to…?” lesson with the sixth graders. And after racking my brain and the internet for days for ideas, I’ve given up. I’ve decided to stretch it out a little further and focus on hypothetical questions that students would practice the modal auxiliary verb “would”. As in… “If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?” “I would…” And then with these responses I would create Wordles for the classes.
Let’s see how the students respond to these questions.