As I prepared their lessons for the eight days of winter camp I wanted to try to find a little something for everyone and fill it with as much variety as possible. My goal was for it to be fun and educational while still giving them a chance to practice their reading skills. As a result, I ended up pulling a variety of different articles from a kids web magazine/paper and using them as the basis for each day's lesson. Not only would students have a chance to practice reading, but they'd also be forced to try to figure out new words that they hadn't seen before and didn't just know. Then we would take the topic of the article and look at it in a larger context. Lastly, if there was time, there was some sort of writing prompt or project.
Topics this week included: floating schools in Bangladesh (and sustainable resources), "Wizard Chambers" at a hotel in London (and film tourism), and Penguins in Sweaters in Australia (and wildlife rescue and rehabilitation).
The first day everything was new and as a result it took a little longer, but by yesterday we were starting to get into a groove.
I was surprised at how few of my students had read or seen Harry Potter in either Chinese or English (Apparently, that's a phenomena from my generation. I'm getting old!), but they still were engaged with the concept of film tourism. I showed clips from Universal Studios Diagon Alley, Warner Bros. Studio in London, and then, just as something different, Hobbiton from "The Hobbit." For the last ten minutes or so of class I had the students work on writing a letter to one of the places (or some other film tourism destination that they were familiar with) talking about how to improve the experience there. I'm paraphrasing, but my favorite letter that I read after class was,
To Whom It May Concern,
My teacher says that I need to write you a letter. I don't know what I'm doing. Happy New Year! I think your hotel is awesome!
Not exactly the assignment, but entertaining none the less. Many of the students wrote about including food from the Harry Potter books/movies, removing electricity from the rooms to make them scarier (and more authentic?), and adding some sort of tricks so it looked like there was magic happening in the rooms. Overall, I was pleased.
Today's article was about Little penguins in Australia and their sweaters which I then flushed out into wildlife rescue and rehabilitation. The kids all thought that the penguins were very cute, and they were. It was also entertaining to have to identify racoons, opossums, and skunks for the students, since those aren't common wildlife animals here in Taiwan. Today's project then was creating a poster to help animals or raise wildlife rescue/rehabilitation awareness. Here were some of the posters that I received. Again, good work!