Friday, December 30, 2011

December P.E. Time

My very favorite time of the week is when Joe and I get to teach P.E. together to the kindergarteners.
Our "gym' is a pathetic space for physical activity and we work with little to no actual P.E. equipment. But the kids have such a great time and I LOVE teaching with Joe.

I wanted to do something special for our December P.E. class. I had this fun ides to make some felt Christmas trees then create some kind of game for the kids to decorate them with felt ornaments. Joe helped me cut the ornaments and trees.

Working hard...

 or hardly working?

Finished product!
We put together 6 trees. I was really happy with how they turned out.

During PE we divided the kids into teams, then hid the ornaments under cones. Each team had to find 6 ornaments in their team color. Most of the kids don't have Christmas trees at home so this was their chance to decorate a tree.

Mr. Joe giving directions and showing the kids how to play the game.

Waiting patiently...

Henry, Erin-Jo and Brian

Dorothy, Daniel and Angela

Iris, Amy, Jenith and Matthew

Andy, Sean and Erin-Na

Sarah, Jun and Jamie

Sam, Eugene, Alex and Daniel
I think it is safe to say that we all had a great time.

Monday, December 12, 2011

B and B

Beer and Baking

BIS has been stressful for the last few weeks!  More last minute changes to our work load, meetings and new students. (my low level first grade English class went from 4 boys to 7 boys almost overnight!) The last thing any of us teachers want is to be feeling overwhelmed by work this close to Christmas and our winter vacation.

Leah had this great idea to get together at her place to have a little fun. The ladies were going to bake cookies while the guys got to do guy stuff. Basically the plan was for the guys to play video games and drink beer while the ladies sipped on wine and decorated sugar cookies.

Well Sunday was the day. Joe and I met Krystal and her boyfriend Chris and hopped on the bus headed to Leah's place. Leah and her husband Josh were great hosts. They had snacks ready and beer cold.

The guys did there thing while the ladies got right down to business. It was fun to hangout outside of school, chat and get to know the other teachers on a more personal level.
And... I LOVE SUGAR COOKIES! Nothing says Christmas like sugar cookies, dripping with frosting and sprinkles!

That red Alien looking thing is supposed to be a reindeer.....epic FAIL!

We used an old pizza box to carry our loot home.   
We have this really mean door man, well let me clarify. The door man is always nice to me, but he is ALWAYS mean to Joe. He is this middle aged man that only speaks a few words of English. Well I have taken it upon myself to be out of my way nice to him. When we got back from Leah's with the box of cookies I gave him one. (that's why a cookie is missing in the picture above) He was very thankful and gave me a little bow, then glared at Joe.

It was a great night, with great company. Joe and I are really thankful to have such great co-workers/friends!

Not to mention my "peak" today was this......

That's right I had coffee and sugar cookies twice today. Once for breakfast and again for my afternoon snack! PERFECTION!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

I LOVE Christmas! It is by far my favorite holiday and favorite time of year. I am the kinda person that has Christmas up the day after Thanksgiving.
Unfortunately here in Korea I have not been able to decorate. The fake trees, Christmas lights and decorations are a) not cute and b) very expensive.

I knew I couldn't get through the holidays without some kind for decorations so I began to brainstorm.
Then on Thanksgiving, Joe and I watched the movie "ELF". There is a scene in the movie where Buddy the Elf goes nuts with paper chains and paper snowflakes. That scene was just the inspiration I needed. I set out to decorate my classroom with a "Winter Wonderland" theme.

I had hinted to some of my first graders that it was going to "snow" at school. Then during my prep break that afternoon I set out to make it "snow" in my classroom. I used a bunch of homework I had collected and had no plans on correcting and some papers that needed to be recycled. I made paper chains and some snowflakes. Joe came in and helped me hang everything. 

 The kids were SO excited. They were shocked and it was fun to watch their reaction as they came into class. Not to mention it completely helped curve my craving for holiday decorations.

Over the last couple days at school I would tell each class that if they worked hard and got their work done I would let them make snowflakes to add to the walls/paper chains. Even some of my kindergarteners have made some snowflakes.

One of my first graders, Eunice, loved the "Winter Wonderland" theme. She decided that I needed a sign.
I tried to convince her that we needed to color in the letters, maybe light blue. But she said no. "Snow is white." She had a point so I let it go.

Then on Friday I walked to my classroom to see that my coworker Leah was spreading Christmas cheer.

She replaced my picture with Buddy the Elf. I seriously laughed for twenty minutes when I first saw it  and had a laugh attack every time a kid said "Ms. Stephanie is an ugly man" pointing to my new picture.

Leah spread cheer to all of the teachers. Here is Joe's new picture.

Ben (low level first grader)- "Ms. Stephanie, Mr. Joe Santa? Really? Mr. Joe really Santa?"

We all had a really good laugh, it was a great way to end the week.
Next week we will begin "Secret Santa". We only have 5 teachers participating, but I am excited to spread and receive some holiday cheer.

Christmas Came Early

Christmas can early for us in Korea!

Joe and I had decided not to get phones in Korea. In a country ran by technology it is not always easy to be disconnected electronically. But weighing our options, we decided that it was not a necessity. Joe and I are always close by and we have the internet at home and school in case we need to email, Facebook or Skype.

The only reason not having a phone was cramping our style was not being able to keep in closer contact with our friends and family from home. Joe and I both missed using our iPhones! We both really missed texting!

Well our co-worker Leah (who is also from the Northwest) was texting her mom one day last week and I had a moment of clarity. If Leah could text people from home we could too.

Leah gave me the names of a few apps to download and I started to look into them. Well it turns out that Joe and I can use our old iPhones (they are no longer connected to a phone server) as an iTouch. As long as we are connected to the internet Joe and I can use apps to text and call home!

We ended up downloading "Text Now". It is a free download, all you have to do is sign up with a valid email and put in an area code of your preference. Then they give you a US phone number (for free) to text from! You can even send and receive pictures.

Friday morning I was a terrible teacher because I couldn't put my phone down! I was so excited to text everyone.

We are both excited to be able to stay in nearly constant contact with everyone from home.

Yay! Merry Christmas to us!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Hair Cut

I have been growing my hair out since Joe and I got engaged....June of 2009.

I have had a few professional hair cuts. One before our wedding and one thanks to Joe's sister Sara, who spoiled me with a cut from a salon she used to work at. But to be honest with long hair I found it really easy to just cut my own hair every once in a while.

Well with winter fast approaching I decided to cut my hair. The air is very dry during the winter and I wanted to try to avoid long showers or having to blow dry my hair.... with that being said having really long hair was cramping my style.

Our co-worker, Krystal, had made plans to get her hair cut and I asked if I could tag along. So a few Saturdays ago I cut about 14 inches off.

 Here is a before and after...

The second picture isn't the best, but you get the idea.

So far I have enjoyed my shorter hair. It only takes 5 minutes to dry!!!!! I used to spend 20-30 minutes blow drying my hair. I went to a place called Juno Hair. It is a pretty well known chain hair salon. When we walked in they took our coats and gave us each a magazine to look at. They even made us toast and jam because Krystal mentioned she hadn't had breakfast. I got my hair shampooed and conditioned. The man who washed my hair gave me THE BEST head rub! I would go back just for him to wash my hair. Seriously, it was THAT good!  The woman who cut my hair didn't speak English, but I cane armed with a few pictures. Overall it was a great experience. The salon workers were all really nice and I like my hair cut!

The kids at school haven't taken so kindly to my change in hair style. In true outspoken kid fashion I have been told more than once that I have "turned ugly" or look like an "old woman".  Oh well..

November Field Trip

Every month at BIS the Kindergarteners get to go on a field trip. The teachers take turns going along. In our past experience field trips have been a great opportunity to get to know the kids in a very relaxed setting. Joe and I were excited that not only were we going to go on the November field trip, but that we would also get to go together.
Joe and I are known at BIS for being very strict. Joe is the consistent, even keel, mellow teacher. I am a bit more dramatic, loud, and I wear my emotions on my sleeve. On field trips Joe and I are put our "teacher hats"up and just play.

November's field trip was to a chocolate making store.
The kids were really excited! Joe and I had been on this field trip before, but it was our first field trip with this group of kids. Joe and I were really excited to hang out with the kids outside of school.

As per usual, I was running late, and we arrived just in time to get on the bus to the field trip. In the past Joe and I were not allowed to ride on the bus together. (in the past couples at BIS would be inappropriate around the children) It was fun to be on the same bus. It took about 20 minutes to get to the country side store.

When we got to the store/factory the kids were shown a short slide show about where coco comes from. This was done all in Korean. Joe and I just stood around and watched the kids get excited.

When it came time to making chocolate, the kids all got to make molds of dark chocolate. Each kid made about 15-20 chocolates to take home. They were all packaged and put in their backpacks.





Alex and Erin-Na

Angela. she was SO proud of her little chocolates!


Hard at work

After we were all done making chocolates we gathered to have a pick-nick style lunch. Because BIS is a private school the parents often send the kids with TONS of food to share with the teachers. At one point seven or eight of the little boys were trying to feed Joe different kinds of kim-bop (kind of like a California role, veggies, meat, with rice, rolled with seaweed) Jamie's mom won the award for best kim-bop, meat and rice. Jamie doesn't eat vegetables, him and Joe have that in common. :)

After lunch we had about an hour to kill. It was too cold to go outside and play and the room we were in was way to small to run around. For a few minutes Joe and I were at a loss. Neither of us had any quiet games we could after about 5 minutes of the kids getting a bit out of hand Joe and I pulled out our old iPhones and let the kids take turns playing Angry Birds. We ended up dog-piling, Joe had a group of kids on his lap and I had the others with me. We took turns trying to earn 3 stars on each level.

Neither of us are going to get "Teacher of the Year" awards after this field trip, but it was fun for us and the kids.

Dorothy, Eugene, Angela, Jun, Daniel and Erin-Jo
Dorothy (I swear she is happy some of the time) Angela and Jun

Joe has a few more pictures on his phone that I need to get. But as you can see, we all had a pretty good time.