Winter Classes (Food Around the World)

January 15, 2013

During the 10-day "winter semester", I taught two classes per day which were 90 minutes long and consisted mostly of first graders (Canada's 7th grade). This means I only taught from 9:00 until 12:30 and then I was free. I expected to have to deskwarm until 5:00 but as it turned out, I got to head home once classes were finished (a rare perk that I may be able to attribute to my accepting the "request" of the principal and going on that staff trip).

The set-up in middle school seems much different from what I experienced last year at the high school. Last year during winter vacation, Moontae was still bustling with students and staff alike. Operations were different but my students told me they still had a full schedule of classes. In middle school, I got the impression that I was the first one at school in the morning. My office (which I normally share with 5 other teachers) was totally desolate and there weren't many students to be seen/heard until they moseyed into my class.

During this time of year students are especially unmotivated. Would you want to go to school during your vacation? So, I directed the focus away from explicit teaching and instead wanted to provide students with an opportunity to practice some amount of English.  I decided that every kid loves food, so my topic for 10 days became "Food Around the World".

My first few days were designated as warm up/get to know you/introduction to cooking classes. We then moved on to the cooking days (Canadian poutine, Spanish tapas, and Italian spaghetti) and I even had the kids bring in Korean food. I should also point out that I was fortunate enough to have my school pay for all of the food (which ran probably $150). I wrapped up winter classes with a graffiti art review activity and we relaxed on the last day of class with a movie ("Ratatouille" to coincide with the theme of cooking) and choco pies.

Started off "cooking" with peanut butter and jam sandwiches to get the kids thinking about writing and following recipes/instructions. 

Poutine was a hit! The gravy was the weirdest thing for the kids to grasp. Korea doesn't do gravy. "It's kindof like... meat sauce?" As unappealing as I made it out to be, the kids loved it and it ended up being a favourite.  

A group cooked up one of my favourites, 맛탕 (candied sweet potatoes). 

Korean food spread: 맛탕, 떡볶이 (rice cakes in spicy sauce), and "kimchi rolls" (which I had never heard of before but is balls of rice and tuna wrapped in fried kimchi).


Up next: Two weeks of vacation (Seoul, Big Bang, relaxing), a return to school for a week of deskwarming/planning, and then I depart for China!

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