Happy Chinese New Year!

This video was created by local admin and BGL teachers at Tsai Hsing Elementary School in Taipei to wish local staff a happy Chinese New Year. As a sign of cultural respect our teachers show off their Mandarin language skills in delivering a goodwill message to their colleagues.

Check out more Chinese New Year content here!

Want more videos for teachers? Check out our PD Live YouTube Channel.

Want to teach abroad? Check out our job listings here for Taipei and Kunshan (near Shanghai).

 

Shark Tank! Project-Based Learning over Video Conferencing

Shark sightings were reported in BGL’s 7th-grade Learning Live classes this past December! Our students participated in an entrepreneurship competition modeled after Shark Tank, the popular television series where aspiring entrepreneurs pitch business ideas to savvy investors. Inspired by the show we launched our students head first (pun intended!) into an ocean (again!) of product development and high-pressure pitching. They absolutely loved it.

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Here’s how we did it: the students first developed a product idea in a short timeframe with a specific framework: the product had to be original (to the best of their knowledge), marketable and realistic. We worked through business terminology and concepts focusing on marketability, pricing, and profitability. We watched and analyzed product pitches to analyze what works and what doesn’t. Using their newly acquired business terminology and knowledge, students then created a presentation or demonstration for their product idea. They pitched their idea to their classmates via a presentation/demonstration and the classmates voted on whether the product was worth funding. Five finalist groups from each of the 7th-grade classes moved to the final to face the sharks!

Our sharks consisted of a former CFO, COO and executive vice president of IBM Global Services, a computer vision research engineer, and a product manager. They considered our students’ pitches carefully and asked pointed questions within each of their respective expertise (finance, computer engineering, marketing). The students were definitely in “unfamiliar waters” as they sunk or swam. Abner, Gene, and Ian were ready when they were asked about the product liability for their small-space-living-problem-solving “Double Sofa Emergency Alarm System Toaster Clock”. Their fire retardant material was water-resistant/stain-resistant and even had a built-in alarm system that called the authorities for help (whether or not you used the automated wifi connected communication). Oh, it also detected earthquakes and sounded the alarm but still made you breakfast. 

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All of our Tsai Hsing future business leaders discussed financials of their products on the fly (and in American currency no less!) and demonstrated their ability to negotiate. They thoroughly impressed our sharks, who said they would fund at least half of the products pitched. Their leader, who was a real-life former Shark Tank type of guy, refused to tell us who was the best saying he could not discount the exceptional work of the others by only choosing one as a standout. 

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The final round of innovative products also included Ann’s OPhone that not only solar-charged and downloaded any app with ease but also improved your eye health. Ann even had medical endorsements! Meanwhile, Eve and our other Ann offered up non-melting ice cream to a panel of hungry sharks. Their ice cream was a scientific breakthrough using a low calorie, all-natural and completely safe proprietary ingredient that lowered the melting point. While the girls created ice cream, Ian and Jordan prepared a savvy new shopping app that was cleverly promoted with an exceptional presentation that even included their new company website and social media accounts – all with usable barcodes. 

Not to be outdone, HC proposed a new currency just for students. The currency would work just like Taiwanese dollars but would be given to students from their teachers for things like good behavior and high grades. HC furthered that the money would expire two years after graduation. This would allow students who worked hard to gain a positive start in life. Our former CFO was intrigued but wanted to know how HC made money on the product. HC replied, “You have a credit card, right?” and explained that he would assume the credit card company role and keep a small percentage from all transactions. Since the projects had to be realistic but not real, HC was able to explain that he already had funding approved from the Taiwanese government in an effort to promote domestic spending and to retain the best local talent in Taiwan for the first two years after their graduation. This would help to solve a major problem facing Taiwan right now: a brain drain to neighboring China where economic opportunity can oftentimes be greater than in Taiwan. This was perhaps the greatest example of achieving one of the project’s goals: to create innovative solutions to some of our most pressing real-world problems.

Read more the successes of our Learning Lives distance learning program on these blog posts!

When Being a Hot-Blooded Teacher Is Actually a Good Thing

Teacher Nate has taught with BGL at Tsai Hsing School for the past 7 years. He describes one of the secrets to his longevity below:

I should start with the caveat that “hot-blooded” in Chinese, rèxuè (熱血) is actually a very positive trait. In Taiwan, being a hot-blooded person means you are enthusiastic and full of passion. So when somebody refers to you as being hot-blooded here in Taiwan, they aren’t calling you a “hot-head” like in my native U.S. Rather, it’s a compliment!

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This linguistic difference is just one of the myriad cultural nuances to navigate when teaching abroad. This, in turn, is just one of the many challenges you face while daring to pack up your life to live and work in another country. Two more challenges are finding a community outside of work and staying engaged in your professional life. It was these two birds that I killed with one stone: Spartan Races.

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Having always been into fitness I was excited when in 2016 these events made their way to Taiwan. Spartan Races are essentially an obstacle course race completed either competitively or as a team-building event. I enjoy both aspects and soon they became a real passion of mine. Through Spartan Races, I have made good friends and recruited others into the sport. This has helped to make Taiwan my home away from home. After enthusiastically helping with some Spartan promotional activities, Taiwan’s Spartan organizers now refer to me as “the hot-blooded teacher” within the Spartan community.

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Keeping my life exciting out of the classroom has made me more driven within my classroom as well. Students can be greatly moved by the things that matter to their teachers, and my students know I’m passionate about Spartan Races because I often use the races to make real-world connections and extend content across our curriculum. And so eventually some of Tsai Hsing’s students signed up for the kids’ version of the race. I made sure to run next to them through the course and encouraged them on each obstacle. They might have gotten involved on their own, but I think at least some were inspired to try the Spartan Races because of my “hot-blood.”

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This all reminds me that though a person can keep work life and private life separate, they are interconnected. The adage “work hard to play hard” goes both ways, so one could also say “play harder to work harder.” My advice: be sure to find what makes you “hot-blooded” and pursue it, especially if you teach abroad.IMG_7040.jpeg

Want to teach abroad? Go here to see BGL’s teach abroad opportunities in Taiwan and China!

BGL Brings the Sound of Music to You!

Hey teachers!  We hope you’re enjoying the Fall as it slowly turns to Winter.  Some of us may feel it more than others, so stay warm, stay dry, stay indoors, get outdoors – whatever suits you!  Over here at BGL, we’re making lots of noise!

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Teacher Jimmy and Teacher Lucas have made a flurry of new songs introducing our good phonics friend Professor Goofball!  He’s joining Sophie Sounds in our phonics universe, teaching all sorts of fun, interactive lessons on single letter sounds, CVC words and phonemic blends. 

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And for those young learners just getting started on their English adventure, we’ve got some great new instructional videos from Teacher Kelly on consonants and vowels, too!

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We’ve been on a video frenzy this month, getting loads of videos up for your classroom, your home or just for your dancing and singing enjoyment.  On our YouTube page  you’ll notice that we’ve got some themed playlists.  Whether you want songs about school, eating healthy foods, numbers, shapes or colors, we’ve got you covered!  So check back often as we’re always updating our page! Don’t forget to subscribe and Like!

Thanks a lot for stopping by!  As always, we want you to stay up to date on the latest news from BGL, because we’re always up to something fun and exciting!  Check below on all the ways you can follow us around the internet and around the globe.  And, as always, let us know what you think about all the great additions being made to our social media!  Check us out below:

 

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Learn more about us on our website!

Or follow along with all the news here on our blog!

Join the Big Dayta Project: International Collaboration for K12 Students

Big Dayta is growing and we invite you to spread the word! 

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Big Dayta is a collaborative international project that was started in 2015. It has over 900 student participants to date. We provide resources for teachers to use Big Dayta, including an idea guide (all of aligned with Common Core standards for Math and ELA). Recently we’ve developed introductory presentations for teachers to use in the classroom (check out our previous blog post for links and details). In the coming months we’ll be developing a Project Based Learning (PBL) unit for middle school. This will enable teachers to customize the basic project for their students’ interests. We will also be providing worksheets for teachers who want to use Big Dayta for a one-off lesson of a single period that asks Common Core-aligned questions. The sheets update numbers automatically as more students join Big Dayta. 

Now we want to spread the word about the project and its resources, and that’s where you come in! Follow us on Twitter @BigDayta where we’ll be announcing new resources and reaching out toteachers and others in the education field who are not in the classroom. 

Big Dayta is a chance for educators to make use of human curiosity to motivate deep data exploration and dramatic skill development. Check out the Big Dayta website for more information. Follow us on Twitter @BigDayta and reach us by email at BigDayta@gmail.com

 

Lingoloop Jr. Launches at Tsai Hsing School

Here at BGL we’ve always been proud to subscribe to the tenet that there is no one-size-fits-all model for education. Students have different abilities, different needs and different learning styles and education needs to adapt to accommodate all students.

It is in this vein that BGL is proud to announce the launching of Lingoloop Jr. at Tsai Hsing School.

 

Unlike other online small group conversation classes like VIP Kid and Tutor ABC, Lingoloop Jr.’s expert tutors customize each lesson based on the abilities and interests of the students. This immersive technique ensures that the learning experience is on-level, fun, and memorable.

Check back here for updates on our students’ progress!