In addition to the weekly English camps that I teach at Dongbu Elementary, most schools in Korea also set up week-long summer English camps. Dongbu is no exception. For the past week, Sara and I spent the mornings at Dongbu with two select groups of students. The lessons are still focused on learning English, but as teachers we are no longer bound in any way to the textbook, which makes the camps more free and fun. Here, I will highlight two of the activities we did this week.
Watching the Eclipse
As I'm sure many of you have seen from Sara's blog and heard in the news, we were privy to the longest total solar eclipse for the next 120 odd years. Where we were in Andong, it reached about 75% total darkness, but the entire experience was incredible cool none-the-less. After explaining to my kids the term "solar eclipse" (ilshik in Korean), I warned them heavily not to to look at the eclipse directly, but to look through the special viewing devices we had. I also showed the kids how to make a pinhole eclipse viewer, which they found quite interesting.
Minji, one of my fourth graders, thought the entire experience was especially fun.
It was a surreal experience seeing my students watch a solar eclipse. I couldn't help but reminisce about when I was in elementary school and there was a total eclipse during the day in the US. All the kids at Balmoral went outside to watch it, and I remember distinctly being too awestruck to speak.
At first, my English camp students were just being their same, rowdy, fun-loving, excited-to-be-outside selves, but when the daylight started to dim, and they began to stare, mesmerized up into the day sky through doubled over pieces of film strip, I noted that some things are truly universal. Bewilderment and amazement at the wonders of the natural world is one of them.
After the eclipse had passed and we all returned to Earth, we paused for a photo op.
Both mine and Sara's classes had a cooking class during the week. She and Hyeon-beom made sandwiches and punch, while I was a little more than surprised when Missuc showed up with a recipe and ingredients for fried bean curd sushi. In truth, it wasn't nearly as difficult a recipe as it sounded, and the kids had a great time.The students had a blast, the sushi was quite delicious, and my two co-teachers and I acted as judges in a very serious cooking competition. Since the students' results all tasted basically the same, we awarded top prize to presentation. The girls presented me with this lovely piece of art ("It's Mr. Williams!"), but first place still went to the boys who created a forest out of their parsley.