My favorite time as a public school teacher in Korea is when I get to teach an English camp. Be it summer or winter camp, I just love the one on one attention I can give/get from the students going from 25 students during the regular school year to 10 or fewer.
I also enjoy the freedom I have with the curriculum, getting to choose a theme and just running with it. It makes a difference, too, having the students all to myself (without a co-teacher). Don’t get me wrong, my co-teachers are great! It’s just that I notice the students don’t try as hard when they know they can get whatever I just said translated into Korean immediately after I’m done speaking. To counteract this, I convinced my co-teacher to let me have the students alone for one or two periods during camp. This way, they had to use English with me. Ha!
What do we typically do at camp?
I usually start each day by doing some sort of dance warm-up. I used the cha cha slide which surprisingly, my fifth graders loved. A bit shy at first, but by the last week of camp they were not having it when I attempted to introduce a new dance warm-up! After that we usually play a ring toss review game to go over what we did the previous day and then we go into our lesson. Our themes this year were Superheroes (week 1) and Hollywood (week 2). I was lucky enough to be able to use the same materials I used last year, given to me by a friend with a few tweaks here and there.
It makes me laugh when my students show they have a sense of humor. Here’s one student’s take on one of our superheroes lessons. They had to draw a comic strip about what their superhero could do.
We played TONS of games. My students’ favorite was the four corners game. Some other fun things we did were: watch the Incredibles movie (Superhero theme week), watch Home Alone (Hollywood theme week), make S’mores, have a pizza party, and finally make a movie! I was super impressed with my students’ creativity coming up with a plot for their very own movie.
Title: Superhero Betrayal
Characters: Superheroes and Villains
Plot: Villains want to take over the Superheroes’ jungle. They fight.
Solution: Villains win, one Superhero lives.
We shot the movie in one take. Please forgive my poor camera skills. After the camp was over, I was able to edit the movie, add sound, etc.
And now…for your viewing pleasure…I present: Superhero Betrayal
Unfortunately the credits and subtitles got a bit out of sync after I uploaded it to YouTube :/.
My students were mortified when we showed the movie in their regular classes, but I appeased them afterwards with little “Oscar Pies” which are little Oscar awards plus Choco Pies. Some of the awards: Best Actress: Dying Scene, Best Actor: Fight Scene, Best Narrator, etc. I think I may have had more fun on this project than the students. Hehe…
One of my students was an amazing artist and drew freehand transformer-looking characters for his movie poster.
My skills and those of the rest of my students were more on par with the stick figure variety. 🙂
I have so much fun at these camps. With bigger classes I don’t really get to know the students’ personalities so it was great to see my students really shine and take on leadership roles within our camp. Now that camp is over, it’s fun to see the students get a boost of confidence now that they understand English a bit more and feel more comfortable with me as their teacher. Bonus for me; I actually learn their Korean names!