Monday, March 21, 2011

Tongue Twisters and St. Patrick's Day

Can you say these five tongue twisters five times really fast?

1. The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plains

2. How much wood would a wood-chuck chuck if a wood-chuck could chuck wood?

3. She sells seashells by the seashore. The shells she sells are surely seashells. So if she sells shells on the seashore, I’m sure she sells seashore shells.

4. Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
Did Peter Piper pick a peck of pickled peppers?
If Peter Piper Picked a peck of pickled peppers,
Where's the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?
5. Betty Botter bought a bit of butter.
The butter Betty Botter bought was a bit bitter
And made her batter bitter.
But a bit of better butter makes better batter.
So Betty Botter bought a bit of better butter
Making Betty Botter's bitter batter better
Well I didn’t make my students say them five times really fast, but I did have them practice tongue twisters this week. It was exhausting to teach, so I have learned, but the students really enjoyed learning them and saying them. Also it was good pronunciation practice for them. Which of these do you find to be the most difficult to say? My students found Peter Piper to be the most difficult, whereas I thought the seashell one was particularly challenging.

I just remembered that the 2nd week of this semester I did this really interesting activity with my English majors for small talk practice. I gave half the students a sheet with some good small talk topics and the other half of the class had to converse with them for about 2 minutes and then they switched to the next person like speed dating. It worked really well and the students got into it and were talking more than usual which is awesome!

Okay back to this week….I forgot to collect the homework until my Tuesday afternoon classes so I made many mental and physical notes the rest of the week to collect it and to remember to collect the next week. The homework was to write a paragraph about a woman (any woman: famous or not). The results were mixed. Some did a really good job and put forth effort and others did a sloppy rushed job or copied from the internet (hey, similar to American middle and high school students!). The students wrote about different women, but the most common was their mother. Others included their sister, aunt, grandmother, cousin, friend, and teacher. Then we had Wu Zetian (the only woman empress in Chinese history during the Tang dynasty), Marilyn Monroe, Helen Keller, Deng Xiao Ping’s wife, a famous Chinese singer named Cai Yi Lin, Princess Diana, Doris Lessing, Qiu Jin who was a famous Chinese revolutionary, Kim Yu Na an olympic figure skater, Jolin Tsai a famous Chinese singer, Kathryn Bigelow, Marie Curie, Edith Cowell, Barbie Hse who is a Taiwanese singer and actress, Anne Enright, Liu Yi Fei (Chinese actress), and Lady Gaga. I should note that most of those that wrote about famous women were the ones that copied. Then we had some confused souls who wrote about their father, brother or a famous man. Oh and one wrote about me; how flattering!

I have copied a couple that stood out: (I have written it exactly, including errors and such)
“A Small Pig”
Maybe you’ll guess, small pig? Woman? What? I’ll tell you, she is a youngest sister of mine. We name her small pig. She is only one year old. She is very smart, but so far, she can only say “mom.” She has many cute actions, but I can’t use English to impress those. So I decide to use my own actions to impress her cute actions.

I am curious if she is going to show me this next week. Hmm…

My Mother
In my heard, my mother is a hard-working woman. Once my mother talked about her life to me. When she was young she had to be working hard for a good life because there was little food to eat, more than there was no time to play at that time. For her, eating enough was her biggest wish. At Spring Festival she could have a good meal and wear beatyful clothes. It was a wonderful time. But now with the sociaty developing, my mother is also more relaxed. What’s more she has more playing time. She feels very happy. I’m very happy.

Chines women worker living in a very tough condition. They have to work harder every day, wake up early and sleep in the dark of the night. Many labors from Sichuan or Jiangxi Province migarated to other places to find a job for their living! All they want is a little money to support their family. Sometimes they never can go back home during the Spring Festival. We could have more pities on them. They are gentle and simple. They can give all that they have. I respect them very much.

My Mother
My mother is a ordinary farmer live in a small village. She is very warm. She is not tall but can do some things. My mother never studied so she can’t read and write. However she can do anything with much hard work. My mother loves everyone in my family. She hardly quarrels with each one of us. She treats us equally and friendly. My mother does most housework at home and she can cook very nicely. I love and am inspired by my mother because my mother is ordinary but not poor.

There were more that were equally as moving as these, but I couldn’t type them all out. Thursday was English Corner and I have found that many students are really stressed because in a few weeks they will take a week off of school to visit the preschools and primary schools in their hometowns. Many have never stepped into a school since leaving it and have no idea what to do. I decided that rather than practice discussions in English that Janice and I could give the students a few practical activities for their futures in the classroom. So, we taught them telephone, Red light Green light, Mother May I, What time is it Mr. Wolf, and a mixture of storytelling and hot potato which Janice did. Janice read from a picture book (from the Little Critter collection) and asked them to pay attention to details. Then we played hot potato, and when it landed in their hands they had to answer a question that Janice and I posed about the story. After English Corner some students returned with me to my apartment to check out some books, a few also asked me some English language questions.

Friday afternoon I had a nice visit in Mianyang with another volunteer, Angel, and bought some baking items at the Wal-Mart there since I have plans to teach some teachers and students baking this term.

Saturday was my day for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. I invited some teachers to have a green food potluck at my house and 5 teachers and two sons came. I had green rice, green eggs and green juice, as well as goodie bags with green snacks for everyone. Janice lent me her food dye and the Chinese teachers thought it was the coolest thing ever. It was a relaxing and enjoyable time and afterwards they left a mass amount of leftovers even though I insisted I was one person. After cleaning I played Ping-Pong (I am getting some mad skills so if anyone wants to play me in a year and a half…). Then went running with Vivi. More and more students and teachers want to run and play sports with the weather slowly getting warmer, which is great since I enjoy outdoor activities much more than indoor. Then in the evening a few students came by to play cards. I taught them Uno, spoons, and Egyptian Rat Screw. They in turn taught me Stupid Turtle and Landlord. I will try and improve and teach everyone when I return. I like Stupid Turtle. It’s easy and fun.

Sunday at noon I had the brilliant idea to invite students over to eat the leftovers with me. It was almost a success. I still have some but I have plans for that too. Rice pudding anyone?

But, alas, with all of these activities this weekend I have neglected my work, and so another week has gone by.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the update Katie! I really enjoyed reading the student's work about their mothers. They were all so interesting! Keep up the fantastic work in China :) Beth