Field Trips Live: Holiday Round Robin

Flashing back to the holiday season, the following is a highlight reel of reflections from BGL’s junior high superstars at Tsai Hsing School. This special event was a multi-point Holiday Field Trip Live that connected the students live to teachers in North Carolina, Portland, OR, Los Angeles and Taipei simultaneously. In a brand new round-robin format, students moved digitally from room to room to hear personal reflections on December holiday traditions. 

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A critical component of BGL’s FTL model is to facilitate thoughtful activities after the trip so that students can synthesize and apply whatever they learn during the trip. The students chosen to share their work here showed great attention to detail, thoughtful word choice and a true showcase of their refined English skills!

Chadwick:

Christmas is an especially important holiday for Christians. There are lots of different kinds of ways to celebrate Christmas. Some people wear a Christmas hat and dress up. On the other hand, some people prefer to decorate a Christmas tree or even have a great big meal. Americans have some fascinating ways to celebrate Christmas.

First of all, some people in America get together and do special things. Some make cookies and others make a gingerbread. Some people even make a very big cake for their relatives. Others go out and have a big meal. Same as always, they have a long break and people go out.

Second, Americans help others. Sometimes if they have cookies or some small snacks that they cannot finish eating it, they give poor people their cookies. Some people even invite poor people to their house and celebrate with them.

Last, people decorate lots of things. People usually decorate their house to make their house bright and shiny. Most famous landmarks, such as Venice Canals, put some fantastic decorations to make people feel warm and delighted.

Christmas is a really big day you can spend time with your relatives or friends. You just finished my article. Why not go home and spend time with your favorite people from anywhere in the world and say “Merry Christmas” to them!

Vanessa:

On Christmas, Americans spend time having fun with their family. They have a Christmas tree, stockings, and lots of fun things to do together. They put lots of gifts under the tree for their children. The children think the gifts are from Santa and are excited about the gifts. Children put their stockings on their bedroom door for Santa to put gifts in. People sing Christmas songs with family to spread Christmas cheer. Some people bake cookies and make gingerbread houses with friends and family. Christmas sounds like it is so much fun, I would like to celebrate Christmas, too!

Henry:

Christmas is a well-known holiday in many countries. Today, there are many different ways to celebrate Christmas, not only sending presents. The Christmas tree is always a must on Christmas. Now, people buy artificial trees to replace real trees that were cut down. It is more eco-friendly and more convenient. You don’t need to go to the forest to cut down trees every year just use the same tree is appropriate. If you got the tree, the next step is to decorate it. Ornaments now are more choices not only balls and strings. You can put up your photos from young to old around the tree or write some wishes on a paper hang it up.

Some gingerbread on a cold day is a great enjoyment. Roll the dough and cut the shape you want with cutters. Caroling is also important on Christmas Day. Singing the traditional songs for Christmas is making the day better and more fun. Now, more people don’t send gifts to family members but homeless shelters. They don’t have a home or a family so it kind of you to send them some blankets or hot tea and cookies.

All in all, Christmas is a day of joy and love. Presents or gifts aren’t as important as you think if you do something more than you do normally. Try to celebrate your Christmas a different and fun way.

Amber:

Americans celebrate Christmas in different ways. Many Americans celebrate Christmas with their families or friends. They exchange gifts and eat dinner together. They put their gifts under Christmas trees or in socks on Christmas Eve. And on Christmas, they will happily open their presents. Some Americans will buy Christmas trees and decorate it. The decorations are warm and often have a big star on the top of it.

Some Americans make Christmas snacks, like gingerbread houses and candy canes. Christmas is a warm holiday to celebrate. Every American’s celebration is unique and can’t be replaced. All Americans have their own traditions, we should respect all of them.

5 Ways to Celebrate Christmas in Taiwan

At BGL we find that celebrating holidays is a great, authentic way to teach culture. Here are five ways we’ve been able to communicate our love for the holiday season with our students in Taiwan.

1. Talk to Holiday Shoppers on a 4G Field Trip to an American Mall

Our Field Trips Live are one of the most popular elements of our program. It’s always fun to see two cultures merge, especially so during the holidays. Here are some images from this year’s trip to Glendale, CA’s Americana:

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Students watch a holiday-themed trolly drive by at the Americana mall in Glendale, CA.

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A friendly family answers questions from our students, and asks some of their own. The mom is a high school art teacher and thought our field trip was super cool!

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A man with a Santa hat pauses from his holiday shopping to ask our students how many of them celebrate Christmas with their families at home.

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Teacher Seth shows the students their reflection in his iPhone.

2. Read our Adaptation of A Christmas Carol

We adapt many classic novels so that we can challenge our Taiwanese students with sophisticated concepts while making sure that the texts are at an accessible language level. Our sixth grade classes read the classic Dickens tale each year, and this year we added a song and music video to reinforce the story’s main concepts of reflection and redemption:

3. Have a Teacher Holiday Party

Teaching abroad can be tough during the holidays. Getting together with other expats – and locals – to celebrate can make it all seem just a little closer to home. Teachers Audrey and Sarah did just that: image (6)

4. Listen to BGL’s Family Christmas Song

And, of course, our original Christmas song is a perennial favorite:

5. Celebrate on Campus

Tsai Hsing School’s birthday is 12/25, so in December the campus is filled with Christmas decorations, costumes and pageants. Here are some charming shots of our 4th grade bilingual class and some of our American teachers feeling the Christmas spirit:

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Merry Christmas, everyone!

 

Celebrating Holidays While Teaching Abroad

Holidays can be a difficult time to be away from home while teaching abroad.  But, just as holidays are a special time of year that bring family and friends together, it’s a great opportunity to share your culture with your students and create lasting bonds in your classroom. The following report about celebrating holidays while teaching abroad is from BGL‘s Teacher Jackie and Teacher Becky.

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Xin nian kuai le!  Happy Chinese New Year!  While teaching in Taiwan, it has been an amazing experience to share American holiday traditions with our students, and to learn more about their culture through celebrations. Teacher Jackie, normally a Distance Learning teacher for IDEEL, was fortunate enough to be on campus to celebrate Halloween with her students.

Across campus, the holiday was more spirited than expected, from learning about spider webs to participating in a trick-or-treat parade.

ImageSome of the older students were able to make connections with a similar Taiwanese holiday, Tomb Sweeping Day, which celebrates familial ancestors.  Though students do not normally celebrate Halloween outside of school, their parents gladly dress them in costumes for school – or even to go shopping or out to eat! Generally, the costumes are not scary but rather as cute as possible.  Most girls dress up as princesses, and the most popular costume for boys seemed to be superheroes.

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Soon after, Thanksgiving comes to town. Teacher Becky had a wonderful time teaching students about turkeys, and other Thanksgiving food. To her surprise, even after much discussion, pictures and videos, many students had no idea what a turkey was, mistaking it for a big chicken. A true cultural exchange was born when the ensuing discussion about traditional American foods evolved into one about traditional Taiwanese foods. Students also made some great paper turkeys and shared what they are thankful for in their lives.  Both the students and the teachers had fun sharing in the Thanksgiving holiday traditions.

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And of course, the season of holiday celebrations would not be complete without Christmas.  Teacher Becky found that many students celebrated Christmas at home with their families, so it was easy to get them into the holiday spirit. Decorating each room with a Christmas tree, Teacher Becky made sure that all of her students had a visit from Santa.  Sharing her own family’s tradition, she also had each of her students make an ornament for the class tree.

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Though the magic of Christmas captivated the students, they were even more intrigued by snow, which most of them have never experienced or even seen before.  The students really enjoyed learning about snow and making their own snowmen, with the help of Santa Claus, of course.

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Back in Los Angeles with her Distance Learning teacher hat on again, Teacher Jackie challenged her 8th grade students to create “twister carols” by rewriting lyrics to a famous Christmas carol.  Meanwhile,

Image5th graders went on a 4G field trip to The Grove, a famous shopping mall in Los Angeles that decks their halls to the max for Christmas. Here they got to see first hand some of the most prominent American Christmas traditions, compliments of Teacher Seth’s interviews with local shoppers.  They also examined the winter wonderland that much of America was experiencing by writing descriptive poems about various images of snow.  The results were impressive despite the lack of personal experience with snow.

With the upcoming Chinese New Year celebration, 7th grade Distance Learning students made connections to the recent New Year celebration in America by writing resolutions.  Below is an example of the fine work that was produced by 701 student, Dylan.

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Meanwhile, in Taiwan, Teacher Becky celebrated the New Year with her Kindergarten classes after discussing the similarities and differences between the American and Taiwanese New Year traditions.  Teacher Becky found that in both Taiwan and America, eating certain foods is believed to bring wealth and good fortune – in Taiwan, it’s fish, while in the American South, it’s collard greens and black-eyed peas.  Both cultures also share a tradition of money for the New Year, with Taiwanese exchanging red envelopes with gifts of money. The students really enjoyed sharing their traditional dragons with Teacher Becky to welcome in the New Year.

Celebrating American holidays with students in foreign countries is such a special and rewarding experience.  To see students embrace American traditions with enthusiasm and wonder, while also sharing their own rich holiday traditions, is an opportunity unique to teaching and traveling abroad.  In what ways do you celebrate holidays with your students?