Teacher Chad’s Top 5 Funniest Classroom Moments While Teaching in Taiwan

Teacher Chad is an astoundingly popular teacher at Tsai Hsing and recently decided to stay at the school indefinitely past his two-year contract.

(Check out his GoFundMe for his upcoming service trip to Tanzania with some of his BGL colleagues, and please give if you can!)

Perhaps one reason that Teacher Chad decided to stay on are the top five funniest things that have happened to him since he started teaching in Taipei. To boot, here is our latest blog post:

Making the decision to move to a new country alone to pursue your teaching career can be one of the scariest decisions a person can make!!! There are so many questions. My major fear was thinking about what were the kids going to be like. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to communicate with them or to get my ideas across. I quickly learned that this would not be an issue and that, generally speaking, kids all over the world are pretty similar to each other. I observed them playing all the same games that kids in the States play. I also learned quickly that, much like America kids, Taiwanese kids say and do some of the funniest things. Here is my top five list of the funniest things I’ve received from students.

Number 5 – Just like in America, parents have no secrets from teachers. Students feel the need to share everything with teachers, no matter what!

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Number 4 – They understand how love and economics  sometimes can mix.

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Number 3 – even with a class of third graders, you always have the one kid who was born to have fun. IMG_1426.JPG

Number 2 – There is always that one student who is a wise guy and gets his witty jabs in wherever he can.

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Number 1 – No matter what the student does, an apology note can make it so much funnier. I had one experience where a student thought it’d be funny to punch me. The problem was his height. I received an illegal punch below the belt, but the apology note had me laughing for days.

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I’ve learned so much in my two years abroad and am so happy I took the chance to come and travel the world. I would recommend it to anyone who feels like they are missing something in their daily lives. Teaching abroad and traveling has been one of the greatest experiences in my life.

And, the kids are very sweet too.

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See Teacher Chad’s blog post from last year about Children’s Day in Taiwan. It’s one of our most popular of all time!

And, if you or someone you know wants to teach abroad, please check out our open job listings at banyangloballearning.com/employment.

Halloween in China: Kindergarten Ghostbusters Dance Off

The teachers, students and parents at our kindergarten in Kunshan, China celebrated Halloween by dressing in costume and dancing in unison the famous Ghostbusters theme from the 1980s. Of course they did!

BGL Teachers Mike, Heather and Lucas led the groups not only with excellent dance skills but also superior costume-ability.
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And here’s a shot of Teacher Ashley celebrating the holiday with Batman himself at our kindergarten in Taiwan:

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How did your students celebrate the holiday abroad? Leave a comment below! And, Happy Halloween!

York, PA’s Weary Arts Group – A 4G Field Trip for Students of Shakespeare

There is perhaps no better way for students to dive into the art of theatrical performance than by studying the greatest playwright of all time, William Shakespeare. While reading an adaptation of the comedy Much Ado about Nothing, BGL‘s 8th grade distance learning students explored the themes of the story while learning how to add expressiveness to their acting of the play’s scenes. This 4G Field Trip with the Weary Arts Group in York, PA brought the concept home for these students in a fun and informative way. Our gracious and dynamic hosts, Calvin and Dante, mesmerized the class with their performances, and the students were grateful to learn from some experts.
Thanks to Teacher Jackie for facilitating the trip and for creating short and long versions of the field trip video. See them below!
SHORT VERSION:
LONG VERSION:

Kindergarten Field Trip to the Taipei Zoo

With all our virtual field trips it’s sometimes easy to forget the value of a traditional, in-person field trip. The following is an account from BGL‘s Teacher Simon about a great trip to the zoo with his kindergarten classes:

As the sun finally made its way back out after a week full of rain, we found ourselves departing for the Taipei Zoo on a beautifully warm Thursday morning. We had three classes (about 90 students) piled into 6 fun-filled vans for the short ride down Muzha Rd. to the other side of the river. The day was warm, the sun was bright, and the kids were more than excited to share this moment with each other and their teachers.

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The zoo here in Taipei is filled with a variety of animals from tropical environments, dense forest habitats, African Safari, and even the arctic (scores of penguins hang out in their nice, cool, indoor habitat). One of the great things about Taipei, or Taiwan for that matter, is the ease of accessibility to enjoy the simple things in life. From the zoo to flower gardens, the gondola rides to the paddle boats, Taipei has a variety of affordable options that suit all walks of life. Where else can you find yourself spending the day in the presence of a few gorillas, some cuddly pandas, or some rather boisterous Kangaroos for the whopping price of 40 Taiwanese dollars (or roughly $1.25 US)?

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The agenda was rather unscripted as we let the students take the lead. The red class and I found ourselves getting to know the greatest and by far the most popular at the zoo: the panda. I don’t know what it is about those creatures that seem to capture the hearts of all young boys and girls in Asia, but a classful of giggling five year olds interacting with the gentle giants sure was a fun site to see. Granted the pandas just eat and roll around for the most part, those little balls of fluff were quite enjoyable. After the panda, we made our way up to the miniature train station and boarded the zoo’s funnest form of transportation that took us up to the Penguin House and the African Safari.

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Within the African Safari were some more popular animals including the lion, elephant, giraffe, and the kangaroos. The kids were having such a blast watching the penguins, posing for all of their goofy pictures of the animal structures around the habitat area, and complaining about the stinky smell of the elephants. Of course, as is the case when taking care of groups of small groups of kids anywhere in the world, eventually their interests were reduced to a singular goal: eat food. So, we found a nice picnic area at which to reenergize after all the walking. Cookies, crackers, gummies, milk tea, seaweed wraps, and chips of all shapes and sizes were consumed in a way not unlike the little hungry pandas. 5 and 6 year old children are without a doubt some of the most unselfish little angels on Earth. I loved watching them share their snacks with each other and I couldn’t help but accept some of their offers of a cookie here and a cracker there.

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After our snack and our newfound source of energy, we made our way to the koala habitat and finished the day off with some camels, guinea pigs, birds, and these incredibly active creatures called Coali Mondis (Brazilian Weasel). The kids absolutely loved seeing these little guys running around, jumping on each other and climbing through the railway system above our heads.

 

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All in all it was a great afternoon spent at the zoo with the kids. We have been studying animals for months, so the kids were incredibly excited to apply their newfound knowledge with us in the presence of the animals. Opportunities such as this – that afford our students authentic ways to communicate in English outside the classroom – are truly special. It creates a sense of fulfillment to see all of our hard work paying off and to see those beautiful smiles glow even brighter than before.

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Kung Fu, Zen Buddhism and the Shaolin Temple – An Independent Research Project for 5th Graders

Our 5th graders in Taiwan are new to our distance learning program, so one of the first units we do with them is a familiar topic – Ancient China. We teach about Chinese New Year, the Great Wall, important rivers and inventions, and China’s greatest teacher, Confucius. But the most popular lesson is based on a trip that Teacher Seth took to the Shaolin Temple in the Henan Province of Central China.

First the students read a brief chapter on the history of the Shaolin Temple and its importance to Kung Fu and Zen Buddhism. Then, they watch a video about Teacher Seth’s trip:

Then, the students complete the following assignment:

Today, you learned that the Shaolin Temple is the birthplace of Zen Buddhism and of Kung Fu. You will choose ONE of those three topics – Zen Buddhism, Kung Fu, or the Shaolin Temple – and do Internet research on that topic.

Then, answer following questions.

1 – What is your topic?

2 – What are some important things that happened in the history of your topic?

3 – What are some things people do to celebrate or practice it?

4 – Who are some famous people who are associated with your topic? What is their relationship to it?

5 – What is your opinion about your topic?

The best of those reports are linked for download here:

Jasper:                                                            Tiffany:

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Annie 21:                                                            Moe:

 

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Christine:                                                         Nicole 30:

 

 

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Angelica:                                                         Sherry:

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What awesome research projects has your class conducted? Leave a comment!

An Inventive Renaissance Project with 8th Grade ELL’s

While the Renaissance is an important period in history and the artwork is truly amazing, it is not always the most interesting topic for students to study (especially those in the midst of junior high ennui). However, a class of BGL’s ambitious 8th graders at Tsai Hsing School have worked their magic to bring the study of the Renaissance to life.

First students learned about Donatello and through his work were introduced to the techniques of Renaissance artists. From this stemmed an art critique assignment in which students chose a work of art by Donatello and unleashed their best inner art critic. This met with some interesting results, some of which are below.

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Next we learned about Michelangelo. This led students to an in-depth look at his famous works at the Sistine Chapel. They learned that Michelangelo created this art to represent the story of Genesis in the Bible. Students ran with this, creating their creation artwork. For a twist, students traded artwork, then wrote a story about the creation of the world. Below are just a few examples of their endeavors.

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The next famous Renaissance artist in the study was Leonardo, who is famous for his unique perspective on the human form and his many incredible inventions. Students used this a springboard for their own inventions. They chose one of Leonardo’s inventions, but found a way to improve on it.

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Finally, the students studied Raphael, who is arguably one of the most talented painters of the Renaissance and is famous for his realistic portraits. Students channeled their own inner artists to create self portraits. What a beautiful and talented group!

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This class will be moving on to study Shakespeare in the coming weeks. Keep your eyes peeled for the actors and actresses to unveil the works of Shakespeare through the lens of a Taiwanese 8th grader.

Moe’s Blog: A 5th Grade Student’s Perspective on Distance Learning Class

Hello, friends! My name is Moe. I’m a fifth grader studying in Taiwan at Tsai Hsing Elementary School. Today, let’s talk about our special and interesting English class.

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There is a special class in our school which is called distant learning class. We have video teleconference calls with teachers in America. We learn many interesting things. Last semester, we studied different biomes and rainforests, and we also learned math in English. Although I wasn’t used to learning in English last semester, now, I clearly understand the content in class and I like it a lot.

Of course, any great class has a wonderful teacher. We have two great teachers from California. The first few minutes in class, we chat and the teachers will talk about interesting things that happened to them. And then, they use easy and humorous ways to teach us some new knowledge. We also have assignments that we really have to use our brains to think about. It is not as easy as the traditional homework, such as memorizing vocabularies. We have to read an article, understand it, and write our own opinion about it. Instead of copying the answers, we have to think about the information in different ways. It helps us to think outside of the box.

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During class, we also have a lot of group work. We work with classmates in a group of four, and the teachers want us to utilize the different abilities of different teammates and work together. The best example was the presentation of “How Do People Celebrate New Year All around the World.” First, we had to find a website for kids where we can look for information. Then, we chose a country we would like to write about. We read an article about the country and made a Google Slide presentation. Each of us made one page of the presentation. So a six-page Google slide presentation was made from our team effort.

 

This semester we are studying about Confucius, the great teacher in ancient China. We are learning his legacy and his main ideas. We know that he tried to tell the world about “virtue”, and he tried to put his ideas into practice.

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For our assignment, instead of think about things that we already know, we have to think forward. We have to think about the “virtue” for typical jobs in modern life. For example, how should a president behave, or what does virtue mean to a citizen? We also compare different virtues for each job.

 

I know that many of our classmates think that this class is hard. It seems like it’s a lot of pressure for them, but I think this class is very practical for me. First, it improves my English abilities, no matter if is it grammar, understanding, or researching with the iPad. Second, it also gives me the chance to challenge myself to do my best job, and I will always try to make the assignment perfect in the shortest time I have. Third, it helps me understand how kids from other countries learn in class. I also get to do many things that I never had a chance to do, such as making a presentation, making a map or drawing a comic book. All of them make me feel excited.

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I also try my best to help my classmates and I have to say that they are showing great progress. It is pretty difficult, but before, some of our classmates couldn’t communicate with English speakers. Now, they can talk fluently and with confidence.

Well, those are most of the things we do in the distant learning class, but that’s not all, I will keep posting photos and interesting things about our class. I also hope you like it. Farewell!

 

Children’s Day – A National Holiday in Taiwan

Kids love holidays, but kids in Taiwan actually get their own holiday. Celebrated on April 4th by schools all around Taiwan, Children’s Day is public holiday that shows appreciation for Taiwanese youngsters and promotes the bond between parents and children.

The holiday dates back to 1925 when a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland brought 54 countries together to discuss children’s physical needs, spiritual well-being and educational opportunities. Many of these countries went on to establish Children’s Days to call attention to these issues and to celebrate the future leaders of the world.

This year, Tsai Hsing School honored their students with a fun-filled day that focused on the kids. The school extended the length of the 10-minute breaks between classes to 20 minutes and as a result it seemed that children’s laughter filled the campus all day long. Students performed on the great lawn – singing songs and dancing – while others played diabolo (like a Chinese yoyo) and basketball. The energy and excitement was zapping through the air as students laughed with their friends and teachers during some hard-earned free time.

In the classroom, Teacher Chad celebrated with his first grade class by doing an interactive read aloud with The Class from the Black Lagoon.

Teacher Chad reads The Classroom from the Black Lagoon on Children's Day.
Teacher Chad reads The Classroom from the Black Lagoon on Children’s Day.

How did your students celebrate Children’s Day? If you don’t celebrate this holiday, how would you do it if you had the chance?

Teacher Chad gives his students a lift.
Teacher Chad gives his students a lift.

From all the teachers and staff at Banyan Global Learning, Happy Children’s Day!

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