Monday, October 28, 2013

International Day- The Netherlands

My school had its International Day two weeks ago.  I started writing this post that night but never had the time to finish it until now!  The days were filled with short school weeks, lesson planning and parent/teacher conferences.  But I'm so glad they are over with!  This week is our first full 5-day week in a long, long time.

Each year, my school has an International Day where we celebrate a specific country for the whole week.  This year we learned about the Netherlands (Holland).  In my school (an international school in China), we have 2 families that are from the Netherlands. Apparently this is one of the biggest events our school produces because they went ALL OUT for this particular day. 
 This is the huge stage for students (ECC- high school age) and guests were able to perform on. 

Each ECC teacher gets a 3-D display to share with parents and on-lookers what we are learning for each unit or week.  Here is mine displaying what we learned about the Netherlands.

 My dad used to travel to Holland annually for his job when I was growing up.  He got me the wooden clogs as a gift.  It was adorable to see my kindergarteners trot around the classroom with them on.

 Miffy is basically the "Mickey Mouse" of Holland.  Here is a TV show, books, and merchandise about her everywhere!  We had a surprise visit from her and a Dutch lady.  The kids adore Miffy!
 For International Day at my school, everyone is encouraged to dress up in their home country's cultural clothing.  I didn't feel like dressing up "American" because dressing up in jeans and colors Red, White, and Blue didn't appeal to me.  So I resorted in wearing a Chi Pow (Chinese traditional dress).  Next year though, I'm planning on being the statue of Liberty. :)  The girl next to me is one of my Japanese students with her younger brother.  Her Kimono was so beautiful!
 We studied the Dutch artist, Vincent van Gogh.  We learned about his famous paintings and use of landscapes.
In my school we have about 25 countries represented through the students and staff.  I loved seeing everyone dress up, sharing and embracing a different cultures and backgrounds because that's what truly makes up our school.  I'm so blessed to be a part of a school that reflects so many walks of life!

Does your school do anything special to celebrate different countries or cultures? I would love to hear about it!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A perfect day in China

Today was a perfect day in China for me.  To make my post short and simple, I compiled a list of why I thought today was a perfect day.

1. I love Wednesdays! Who doesn't love hump day?  I especially love them because my students are at specials all afternoon.

2. My co-kinder teacher (Mollie) gave me a handful of Chai tea bags!  You wouldn't believe how incredibly difficult it is to find Chai tea that is easily assessable.  Starbucks and many of the coffee shops here in China don't have them!  Chai tea has always been my go-to drink, so Mollie has saved my life (and probably sanity) when I saw the tea bags!

3.  I loved my student's energy today.  I could see and feel their yearning to learn.  This week we are learning about pumpkins (one of my absolute favorite units to teach).  They were fully engaged today and were curious little learners.

4. Today was a student's birthday.  I love it when parents bring in cakes and/or cupcakes for the class.  Even though everyone is sugared up, my class always seems to be in a fun, giggly mood when there is a birthday.

5.  Today I saw the seamstress!  She is an amazing Chinese woman that can turn any kind of fabric into something fabulous.  She can make literally ANYTHING!  I already had her make owl pillows for my classroom and a dress.  I just love getting one of a kind stuff from her!  Today I asked her to make another dress from a cute chevron fabric I found in cheap street for only $4 (USD)!!!

I saved the best reason why I thought today was a perfect day for me....
6.  My boyfriend, Kevin, surprised me when a bouquet of red roses at school today!  Today marks our 6th year anniversary together.  I didn't think he was able to pull this romantic gesture since I am all the way in China and he's in Indiana, USA.  I got a phone call from the security guards at our school gate that I have flowers from someone.  When I got to the gate and saw the roses in the Chinese delivery guy's arms, my eyes swelled up with tears because I knew they were from my amazing boyfriend.  I'm so thankful to have him in my life!  This is the second year we've been away from each other on this special day.  Long distance is tough but worth it when you have someone super special. :)

I hope you are having a fabulous Wednesday as I did!  I'm hoping to post more of what I've been up to in both the classroom and in China!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Enjoying a Holiday Break in China

Wow, time flies by fast when you're living in a new country.  I can't believe I let a whole month slip underneath me without blogging about China.  I hope I don't let that happen again.

This past week, all schools in China are on a break.  They call it a National Day Break when always occurs the week on October 1.  What is National Day?  I realized I had no clue so I did some research with my trusty and reliable friend-- Google.

This holiday is a public holiday for the People's Republic of China to celebrate their national day and founding of People's Republic of China.  It is three days long, but for many schools they get the week off. This holiday is celebrated throughout all of mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau.  How do people celebrate? There are many festivities such as fireworks, parades, and concerts.  The fireworks are constant and people are always lighting them up all day.  The noise can get very loud and it's not a pleasant sound to wake up to.

Many Chinese will use this holiday to travel.  I had to travel to Beijing for a few days for a teacher's conference.  Afterwards I visited the Summer Palace with the other new staff from my school.

Since I had a whole week off, I had the chance to visit new locations of my city I am currently living in.
Summer Palace, on kunming Lake

With my roommate on a paddle boat

Went to visit Ancient Culture Street: lots of touristy things to buy and eat

Went on a Riverboat cruise in my city-- Tianjin

The Tianjin Eye. There were a lot of Chinese lanterns floating for the National Day holiday.
I just updated my calendar and it looks like I have a more exciting things planned this month and I will commit to share my experiences with you soon!

Read about my first blog post on another blog I contribute for.  This blog (Global Teachers Connect) is written by teachers who teach in different countries all over the world. :)


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Mo Willems Mania!

For the past month, my kindergarteners have been studying the famous author, Mo Willems.  My students love his books, especially the Elephant and Piggie series.

Funny thing about Mo's books is his humor with all of his characters.  Because I work and live in China, my students didn't understand this joke.  So I had to change with a post-it!

 Here are some things we did to celebrate Mo Willems.

 We talked about speech bubbles, wrote our own and posed with our speech bubbles.

When we read "Pigeon Finds A Hot Dog", we talked about things we liked to put on our hot hog.  Some of the kids put silly food on their hot dogs.

When we read the Knuffle Bunny books, we talked about the real photographs Mo used in the books.  Instead of printing similar pictures from his books, I printed famous areas all around China like the Great Wall, the market, the mountains, the river, and McDonalds. My kids enjoyed drawing themselves with Knuffle Bunny!

We ended our author study by having a Happy Pig Day party.  We discussed what you would wear to a Pig party.  We made Pig hats, had a pig dance party with our principal who dressed up as a wolf (we were studying 3 little pigs), how a piggie photo booth, relay races, and a pink ice cream party!  This is the first year I tried having a Pig Party and it was a success!  Everyone in our school was talking about our party.
 On Mo Willem's website, there is a link for Gerald and Piggie where you can make different dance sequences to music.
 I used printed different party hats, pig noses, lips, and mustaches for the photo booth.

I also had this cardboard box turned into a bus for students to take pictures and pretend to drive a bus.  They loved this so much, I let them play with it during drama center time.

 I used a paper bag to make a nest and a plastic egg for students to walk back and forth trying to balance the nest on their head.  Read "There's a Nest on my Head" from Mo Willems.

We ended the day with a pink (strawberry) ice cream party!

How do you celebrate Mo Willems and his books?