Monday, August 06, 2012

Passport to English Summer Event

Last week I led a summer program for kids called Passport to English. The theme was to learn English by taking a "tour" of various English speaking countries. There are many countries in which English is an official language due to colonialism, however, since I was teaching 7-year olds in a language they barely know, I decided to postpone the moral debate of using the language of an occupying force. Instead we focused on the biggest English speaking countries: the ones they’ll most likely visit when they join exchange trips in high school and college: Australia, Canada, the U.S.A., and Ireland.

Okay, they probably won’t visit Ireland on a high school exchange, since it’s too far away. But I wanted to make Celtic knots, and the stories of leprechauns are better suited to a short children’s story time than the Scottish rebellion in 1745-46 led by Bonnie Prince Charlie.

David came on Friday to take photos, but if you want to see photos from Days One and Two, then check out the school’s blog. My boss took some great photos all three days. Of course, the captions are in Japanese (mostly), but the pictures are worth the extra mouse-clicking.

Day One: Australia

We made boomerangs out of cardboard, ate Tim Tams, and played a game called Down Down Down (which I don’t have photos of, and for that I apologise, because I lost badly).

Down, Down Down is a ball game. Everyone stands in a circle and tosses a ball to each other. When you miss the ball, you have to kneel on one knee. Missing a second time puts you on two knees. A third miss, and one elbow then touches the ground. A fourth ... yes, the other elbow, all the while you still have to catch and throw the ball.

It is not any fun played in a small room, since we were too close to miss. The kids decided to begin throwing to deliberately make their friends miss. And their teacher. In the end, I was laying on the ground, most were on their knees, and one very sure-handed student had not missed at all.

The day was fun, but not as exciting as it could have been. I overestimated how much time things would take and needed to come up with extra activities spontaneously to fill the time.

Day Two: Ireland

We made Celtic knots out of felt, ate strawberry oatmeal bars, listened to a story of a man trying to trick a leprechaun (unsuccessfully, of course) and played a variety of games: What Time is it, Mr Fox? and an indoor adaptation of Skittles, a bowling game.

The kids had a lot of fun. It was exhilarating to run out of time before I ran out of activities. And they liked the oatmeal bars I made. I thought about making soda bread, but I didn’t have a lot of time to experiment and get it wrong! So I made fruit and oat bars, which were sooooo easy! And the kids even wanted seconds!

Day Three: Canada and the U.S.A.

Games: Red Light, Green Light and Drip Drop Splash. Unfortunately, there are no photos of Drip Drop Splash, which is like Duck Duck Goose - except the “it” person uses water instead of their hand. “Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip. Splash!” Up goes the bucket of water onto someone’s head.

Truthfully, I’d never heard of the game until an internet search provided me with a list of popular children’s games from the U.S. I’d be grateful to hear if anyone has ever heard of it - or played it before!

Red light!
 David made French Toast Sticks - yum! Maple syrup and peanut butter gave the kids a taste of both Canada and the U.S.A.

We ended the week by making “God’s Eyes.”

"Umm, let me see.
It turns out I don't know how to begin any more than the kids do."

Getting started.
Now she's got the hang of things.

Show me your finished crafts!

The day was such a success that moms had to drag their kids out at the end of the day.

What a great week!

One photo from after the event ended:

Be very quiet - I'm hunting grasshoppers!

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