Guest Read Aloud in Melody’s Class!

While I was in Korea, I had the chance to visit Melody’s kindergarten/1st grade classroom. I was really excited to meet her students and read to them. I read aloud the story Peter’s Chair by Ezra Jack Keats. Afterwards, we filled out this fun story map that Melody had made. On post-its I wrote down what the students shared. We went through the title, characters, setting, problems, solutions and theme. It was a great way to get them discuss the different elements of the story. I was so impressed that they were able to answer all these including the theme!

Afterwards, we did a quick question and answer session with them. They asked me about Singapore and my students. We had some time left before lunch so we played with some super cold play dough as well. I’ve never taught such young kids before, so it was a lot of fun to be in their class. I always have a lot of respect for teachers that teach the younger kids!  I’m not sure I would have the energy and patience. Thank you Melody for letting me visit your classroom! You have an amazing class and I could tell that  you are making an impact in their lives. 🙂

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                                         Photo credit to Melody.     

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{1.02.2013} Happy 1st Blogiversary!

Happy 1st Blogiversary! One year ago, in a cute cozy cafe in the middle of Nowon, we started this blog, not sure what to expect. Now we have over 19,000 hits from 143 countries, 214 facebook likes, 111 blog posts,  52 e-mail followers and 8 guest blog posts . We are actually celebrating together here in Seoul, over some cupcakes and tea. We are having a blogging day, which means spending some time brainstorming and writing up blog posts!

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Help us celebrate by liking our page on Facebook! Click on the button over on the left of our blog. It’s a great present to give us on our first anniversary and it’s free. If you already like us, please share our page with your friends.

Our goal is to bring together educators from all over the world by sharing our ideas, experiences and resources. Sharing is caring! Happy blogging in 2013!

Eric Carle Exhibit & Art Studio

I was so excited to hear that there was an Eric Carle Exhibit here in Seoul! One of the kindergarten classes at my school went there as a field trip. I love his books and especially his illustrations. I had a chance to go with my cousin and her daughter. Soo much fun! Did you know that he has a museum in Amherst, Massachusetts as well? I must check it out, the next times I’m near there.

This art exhibit ends September 9th! So make sure you check it out if you are an Eric Carle fan. This would be a great field trip for lower elementary school classes. However, it’s a bit small, so you should probably make reservations before hand. They also have an art studio where you can sign up for art classes!

More information: Eric Carle Exhibit

Eric Carle also has a blog where he writes about this exhibit! Eric Carle blog

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While I was searching online, I discovered an English website on fun places to take kids. I thought it might be helpful for our readers here in Seoul:   http://kidsfuninseoul.wordpress.com/

Poetry Walks

One of my favorite things to do in our poetry unit is have our students go on a poetry walk. I have my students take their writer’s notebook and a pen with them and we take a walk outside. Last week, the beautiful cherry blossoms were everywhere outside our school.  Our amazing guidance counselor was telling me about this beautiful hidden area on our campus with cherry blossoms.  She said, “It would be a crime to not allow the kids to see this…” So we took our 5th grade classes and went to a small park area on our school campus. The students got to write down what they saw and be inspired by nature to write down poems.

I wish that we could do more of these types of walk instead of always being stuck inside a classroom. I think that in my dream school, the kids would spend more time outside. 🙂


Sweet Spring Benefit Concert

If you like good music, a good cause, and you live in Seoul, you should come out to the Sweet Spring Benefit Concert. It’s happneing on Saturday, April 14th, at 7pm at Jang Cheon Art Hall in Apkujeong. Each ticket costs 50,000KRW and all proceeds go to create a scholarship fund for orphans who want to go to college. This is all part of Jerusalem Ministry’s fundraising for their non-profit organization that focuses on helping the orphans in Korea.

There are many orphans here in Korea that live in the orphanages up until they graduate high school. Once they graduate, they are on their own. They do get minimal financial support from the government, but they need to pay for housing,  university and living costs. The money that they receive is not enough to cover their costs, so many of them have to find jobs. It is not easy working jobs, attending school and supporting themselves right out of high school.  As you can imagine, some of these orphans have difficulty and some of them don’t finish college. The money raised from this concert will create funds to support the orphans’ college education cost. Also, those students will be getting a mentor to support them through their college years, which is crucial.

Both Melody and I have been volunteering through this organization, called Jerusalem Ministry. They help set up English speaking volunteers with different orphanages in Seoul. We hope that you can help support this organization by coming out on April 14th! If not, you can still support Jerusalem Ministry through your prayers and financially.

Here is more information: Sweet Spring Concert Info.

Also, you can purchase tickets online:

Korean site

English site

Or, Melody or I can help you get tickets as well, just leave a comment! 🙂

Those Shoes

After Jee Young’s hype (which is totally legit) about reading and writing workshop conferences, I thought I would share a literacy activity. This is an activity I normally do near the beginning of the year, but it can work all year round, and you can differentiate it for many grade levels.

For a read-aloud one day try reading Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts. I don’t know what it’s like at other international schools around the world (please share!), but when I read this book I have to explain most of the story in detail. My students do not know what it is like to not be able to afford… well, anything. That is why I am thankful for books like this (another book I love is A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams)  to help give my students insight into the lives of students in other parts of the world, or even their own backyard (okay, no one in Seoul has a backyard, but you know what I mean…).

After you’ve read the story and talked about it, the students get to write their own story about an experience they’ve had with shoes. It isn’t supposed to be a long story, so I only have them write one draft, and then after they’ve show me that draft they get this shoe template:

Shoe Template (yes, this link is appropriately named)

After they write their stories I encourage them to color their shoe, and then I laminate them so that their shoes can be stepping across the classroom all year long.

Getting your Masters in Korea!

This weekend I have the joy of traveling two and a half hours away from my lovely neighborhood in the northeastern part of Seoul, down to Suwon… which is at the complete opposite side of the city. This trip, even after a long week of teaching, sure beats taking multiple flights and traveling for over 24 hours to get to Redding, California.

At this point, you may be curious as to what this post is about. Now that I have your attention (BAM! just in case I didn’t have it before, capital letters always grab my eyes, then again the title of this post probably gave away any form of suspense you may have had…shoot) I would like to introduce you to my graduate program. As teachers, we are also lifelong learners, am I right? In order to keep my teaching license valid (I have a teaching license from the State of Michigan), I discovered a way to get my masters in Korea without taking online courses (I am a 100% in-person, visual learner). A program that flies professors over from the USA, so that students can take their classes in person. Now THAT, is commitment!

This program is through Simpson University. I am getting my Master in Education, Curriculum and Instruction for English Language Learners, with an emphasis on Leadership. Yes, it is a mouthful. The classes in this particular program have given me a lot of amazing insight, as the majority of my students (if not all) are English Language Learners (ELL).

Next year, Simpson University is also planning on offering a program to certify teachers in Korea. Which is great if you are here in Korea without your teaching license, and you want to break into the international school community.

The program is two years in length, and classes will most likely be offered at a university in Seoul next year (not Suwon, of course this is after I graduate…). The program begins in January and August of each year. For more information contact Dr. Richard Harris at rharris@simpsonu.edu.

Here are a series of pictures of me and two friends working on a class project in the dorms at GSIS (where classes are held in Suwon). Why? Because pictures are fun!