Sunday, March 28, 2010

Time Budget

We had our visiting teacher over today after church. She gave us a wonderful message from the March's Ensign (you can see the VT message here). Sister Goa said something though that has been running through my mind all evening, she said that Satan has realized that he can't tempt us with the bad things like smoking, drugs, and drinking. So instead he has begun to tempt us to do "good." Now at first that doesn't sound very bad, it even sounds like a good thing, hey Satan's on my side! But upon referring to the talk entitled "Good, Better, Best," given by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles during the October 2007 General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (you can read it here). You discover that what Satan is doing is not in the best interest of you and I. He is tempting us to be not the "best" of our abilities.
I think that this has been running through my mind over and over this afternoon because I realize that it is very true for me, not that my days are always filled with bad activities, but they aren't filled with the best activities either.
What does this have to do with time budget? One of my areas that I am not doing the best at is time budget, I spend much too much time on facebook, twitter, playing games and other such things. I am starting a new goal, a new rule, every night I can not be on facebook after 9pm and have to turn my computer off at 10pm, unless I am working on my class. I am hoping that by making this new change/goal that I will be able to accomplish 2 things: that I will be able to go to bed earlier and receive the sleep that I need (lately I have been going to bed between midnight and 1, not a good thing when I should be getting up at 7) and I hope that with the time that I am not using my computer that I have been that I will be able to fill my time with more scripture study, pondering, prayer, conference talk reading, and other wholesome activities meant to build my testimony and help me to become the best that I can be.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

PhotoHunt: Fresh

When I went to Utah in August I got to stay with Brea and Darrell for a few days, one of the evenings we went over to Kyle's for dinner. Kyle was excited to share his garden with us and add some veggies to the dinner. All that he is holding in his hands aren't even all that we picked...crazy!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Picture Error

So I discovered something tonight, Blogger and Picasa Web Albums only allows you 1 GB of memory for pictures between the two of them for free (and every time you post a picture on your blog it makes a web album, so uses your 1 GB). How did I discover this you may ask...well I reached the 1 GB of course :D
The first thing that my brother said when I told him was "that's a lot of pictures," yes it is but the problem is...I'm not done adding pictures and I'm not willing to pay to add pictures and I don't really want to create another account. So...if anyone has any ideas I'm open to suggestions. Until this get's fixed posting maybe a little on slow side. Hopefully I will get it figured out and be back up and blogging soon!

Free Clinic

I went to a free clinic a couple of weeks ago (read: MISTAKE). I had a little while before I had tutoring so I figured that I would offer myself test body. There was a large group of highly trained specialists, the best in their field. It included a lot of poking, prodding, injections (I think that I might have been given a lot of botox...which would be what I get for going to the doctor by myself when I don't speak the language :D), they listened to my heartbeat (among other things) many times over. As one doctor was beginning to finish up their testing (IE: lose interest) another doctor would come over and start their tests. All in all this visit was over an hour long. Every time I would try to sit-up, I would be told "no you can't wake-up" and then be pushed back down onto the floor. Who knew that 3, 4, and 5 year olds could be specialists...or at least they seemed to think that they knew what they were doing :D.

(Sorry I couldn't figure out how to rotate the pictures)

I can't remember all of my "doctors" but I know that some were: Jimmy, Judy, Peggy, Yoggy, Jeremy, Wendy, Iris, and Annie

Flower Updates

Since I posted here about the beautiful red flowers I had seen in the corner of our deck even more have bloomed...

...this picture doesn't even do it justice for how beautiful it is.

And besides that plant blooming even more I looked around the rest of our deck and I realized that it is flourishing (?) with flowers, of every shape and color.

Besides them being quite beautiful flowers, can I say how pleased I am with my new camera and the quality of pictures it takes? I don't know a lot about taking pictures (I would love to learn more) but I am happy with the quality that I am getting.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Red Surprises

One day this week I was heading out of my room to go downstairs when I looked over to the corner of our "deck" and saw this, a beautiful plant with red flowers...

How blessed we are to have "surprises" like this from Heavenly Father. To have them brighten a day, I don't take enough time to appreciate the Earth's beauty, I need to do better at it. (*Even more flowers have bloomed since I took this picture a couple of days ago)

PhotoHunt: Three

3 Pink Lovelies! This was at the Temple at Erin and J.J.'s wedding. Kandis, Jamie and I were the BEAUTIFUL bridesmaids! What a fun weekend and an awesome reason to get together and celebrate :D

Thursday, March 18, 2010

2010 Winter Paralympics

I was crying looking at these pictures, not sad tears but tears of happiness. How amazing is it to see the determination in these athletes faces and see the stories too in these pictures. Some of my favorite comments made by other readers were:

*If you ever feel like you cannot do something...check these pictures out! amazing.

*The human spirit is simply amazing.

*Thease pictures are must inspire every living person to live and to be happy in their lifes ... incredible !!!

*Disability??? That has to be short for "Discovering your Ability" Remarkable athletes, remarkable people!

If you have time, follow the link and check out these amazing pictures.

After Nap Cycle

One afternoon before class started I went down, I had my camera with me so I was able to snap some pictures of all that is generally done before I even get to class. After lunch I set-up all the beds, it's nice to see that they can put them away themselves.

I love the progression of these next 3 photos, of Ethan waking up. It really shows what I go through on a daily basis, some will be wide awake when I come to class but several will be like this and I watch as they wake up more and can respond.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Power of Flower

In my morning class we were going to make cards for St. Patrick's Day (yeah that's the bonus of being a teacher you can make a holiday more than one day :D). I started my first class and realized that this wasn't going to work, even though I had slept 10 hours last night I didn't have the energy or the voice (I was losing it) to try and do a craft project. So I just let the kids go outside and play for 10 minutes.
I went to my 5 year old class, Wendy saw that I had my markers and asked if they would need theirs. I told her that we were going to do a craft project but that I didn't feel very well and I was losing my voice (she quickly told everyone else in the class--in Chinese) and that we were going to just go outside and play. They all went running out, at different times during the class each girl ran up and gave me a flower or leaf (the boys were too busy playing basketball :D).
It's true what they say, flowers have the power to heal---I've already started to feel better since this morning and my voice is coming back, yeah!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tender Moments

This morning when I went downstairs for my classes, Wendy ran up and gave me a hug. She then handed me this card and ran back to her class. What better way is there to start your day? I know that there are days that make me want to go insane, cry, scream or a whole bunch of other emotions, but it's things like this that remind me why I love working with kids. They have unconditional love and constantly share that love with you.

Andrea just told me that this morning Wendy told her "I wait for Teacher Beth" as a reason why she wasn't going to class yet.

I'm Sorry

Monday I took my cell phones with me to class as we were talking about phone safety and I wanted the kids have phones to practice. I struggle to have the kids understand that it's not okay to come into class and start grabbing things, they need to sit down and wait until I give instructions and then they will be able to play with what I brought, but until then it's not okay. The 3 and 4 year olds did pretty well at not grabbing my phones, but when the 5 year olds came in Yukai walked up to the shelf where I keep my stuff and picked up my cell phone. When he was done he put it down so that it dropped behind the shelf, I was not happy about having to pull out the shelf to get my (borrowed) cell phone. When I pulled it out the the back of the case was popped off, I was afraid that he had broken it.
Luckily nothing was wrong with it and it started up fine, but I wanted them to understand that it wasn't okay to touch my stuff, so I let Yukai know that I wasn't very happy about him touching my stuff, once I said that to him I was willing to let it go, but at that point Teacher Apple walked in. She asked what had happened and was not very happy with Yukai, after class she kept telling him to say sorry teacher, he wouldn't. She dragged him out of class, looking ready to cry.
After lunch, when I was setting up the beds for nap time Teacher Apple walked back in with Yukai. Yukai was clutching a piece of paper in his hand, he handed it to me and just sat down on the ground. I read it and told him that I still loved him, that I wasn't angry with him but this is why I ask that they not touch my stuff when they come in class. I asked him if he understood and then gave him a big hug.

I'm sorry that he felt bad, bad enough to not want to eat his lunch and to feel like crying. But I also believe that you need to use those moments to teach and make sure that there is reasons that you ask them to do things.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Electronics Department

So in case I haven't told you, we've been talking about shopping lately in our afternoon classes, this will be our 3rd week to be exact. Andrea and I are both realizing that when you have to talk about shopping for 3 weeks in a row you start to not like shopping as much. Our first week we were talking about "grocery store and 7-Eleven" and last week were talking about "mall and department store" and this (our final week) we are talking about shopping in general. Last week for one of my classes I talked about the electronics department and we got to use different things that you might buy in the electronics department (flashlight, tv, hairdryer (they loved that!), cd player, etc.). I brought my camera and let them each take a picture, in my first class there really seemed to be a theme to the pictures they were taking...

...are you beginning to get the picture?

Parent Meeting

Last Saturday we had our parent/teacher meeting, Andrea and I were both really nervousabout it and weren't really sure what to expect from it. We knew that there had been some concerns of the parents and that we wanted to help relieve them as much as we could but weren't quite sure how Yuling wanted us to do that. I slept very little Friday night and Andrea said that she hardly slept herself. We woke up Saturday and prepared as much as we could and the before going downstairs we said a prayer together that everything would go smoothly and that we would feel calm and at peace.
Yuling began by talking for awhile and then turned it over to us to talk a little bit about howchildren learn the best and what kind of learning they do... we shared this information,which I find really interesting (sorry it's a lot of reading):

Language Acquisition vs. Language Learning (Judie Haynes)

There is an important distinction made by linguists between language acquisition and language learning. Children acquire language through a subconscious process during which they are unaware of grammatical rules. This is similar to the way they acquire their first language. They get a feel for what is and what isn’t correct. In order to acquire language, the learner needs a source of natural communication. The emphasis is on the text of the communication and not on the form. Young students who are in the process of acquiring English get plenty of “on the job” practice. They readily acquire the language to communicate with classmates.

Language learning, on the other hand, is not communicative. It is the result of direct instruction in the rules of language. And it certainly is not an age-appropriate activity for your young learners. In language learning, students have conscious knowledge of the new language and can talk about that knowledge. They can fill in the blanks on a grammar page. Research has shown, however, that knowing grammar rules does not necessarily result in good speaking or writing. A student who has memorized the rules of the language may be able to succeed on a standardized test of English language but may not be able to speak or write correctly.

Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills

Language skills needed in social situations.
When they are on the playground, in the lunch room, on the school bus, at parties, playing sports and talking on the telephone.
Social interactions are usually context embedded.
They occur in a meaningful social context.
They are not very demanding cognitively.
Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency
formal academic learning.
This includes listening, speaking, reading, and writing about subject area content material.
This level of language learning is essential for students to succeed in school.
Students need time and support to become proficient in academic areas.

Andrea was awesome and took over the talking about the way people learned, and Rosy's mom (who is also a teacher and speaks English really well) was really nice and helped translate for Andrea.

After we talked about how children learned we were each supposed to have a 5-minute mini lesson to share with the parents what their children's daily classes our like. I chose a simple concept: small, medium, and large to teach about. I brought several examples-balls, squares, etc. to have them practice identifying small, medium, and large. When I first stood up I was still really nervous and so decided that I was just going to ignore the parents and talk to the kids (they were nice enough to let them come in during the lesson part). I asked the first question and Yuling told me to stop and then told the parents that they needed to be answering too.

So I tried again and started over, some of the parents started answer but only when they were prodded. Yuling told me that I needed to get the parents more involved so I brought out a small white board and drew 3 triangles of different sizes and showed first that we put an "s" for small, "m" for medium, and "l" for large. Then I drew another set and asked different kids to take it to their parents and have them write the correct letter under the shape. It was funny because all the kids were raising their hands (which they do normally in class) because they all wanted their parents to have a turn. Rosy's mom (the one that translated and knows English) told Rosy to put her hand down because she didn't want to go. It turned out to be fun and it really allowed the parents to see what a class is normally like. So my 5-minute lesson turned into over 15, but it was really good and I need not have been nervous or worried. After my lesson each of the Chinese teachers talked for a little bit and then we got to show the parents the new program that I am in charge of, it's called KMI and it's different activities that work the kids minds. They are really fun and I had several parents afterwards tell me that they really liked it.

Though we weren't excited about the meeting we have heard from several people that it was a good thing that we did, many parents concerns were laid to rest and answered and they were better able to see how their kids learn and that the style of learning is also changing from when they were kids.

Friday, March 12, 2010

PhotoHunt: Spiral

This was taken one day after school, I love the spirals on the toy and Sandy eating a donut behind it is just a bonus :D

Sunday, March 7, 2010

9 Years

A special Princess turned 9 years old yesterday! Where has the time gone? A year ago she made the choice to be baptized (I wrote about it HERE), I felt so honored as an Aunt to watch my niece step into the waters and to watch her be baptized by her Dad. I haven't been around as much this year but I know that because of who she is, she has made wonderful choices. I love you Katrina and hope that you had a wonderful birthday and this year will be a year of continued learning and growing.


Strawberries for Birthdays!

Have you ever noticed that when you spell Strawberry backwards the end of it says WARTS? I just did when I was trying to come up with a creative title for this post. Tuesday was Sam's Birthday and we celebrated with a super yummy, super big cake! To say that there was strawberries on the top is understatement...there was STRAWBERRIES! on the top of the cake, all neatly and beautifully placed.


Nothing like good friends and donuts on a Friday afternoon :D

Walk It Out

Random of the Day: Friday after school I was taking my stuff upstairs when I looked down on the road and there was this guy walking backwards with his shoes in his hand, slapping his legs as he walked. I wonder what his reasoning behind doing it was...there are just somethings that people do here I don't understand!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Naming the Baby

We had a new girl start this week in the 3 year old class, when someone new starts they either already have an English name or we as teachers put together a list of names to give to the parents and they get to pick which one they like the most. I was the only one available at the end of the day and so I quickly threw together a list...Macy, Katie, Chelsea, Erika, Sarah, Jamie, and a few know all the good roommate names!
And the parents chose......... ERIKA!! Congrats Erika, there has been someone named after and in honor of you :D

PhotoHunt: Foreign

This week during while I was searching for pictures of Taiwanese groceries stores I stumbled upon this thing called PhotoHunt, every Saturday this lady puts up a subject and you search through your pictures (that you personally taken) and find one that shows your interpretation of the subject. Of course in my general blog stalking fashion I have looked at blog many times over and love the idea. It pushes you to look through your pictures often and to also look at things through different eyes. I hope that I will be good and stay on the top of things because I think that it sounds like a fun project.
This weeks theme is Foreign, when I first read the theme I had no idea what I was going to put, yes I am in a foreign country but what picture really portrays that? So I started going through my pictures, I came across this one and I loved it It is from our trip to Taipei, at the hostel, a list of the rooms, the people sleeping in them and where they were from.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Sock Hop

Three funny things about this picture...
1. These are all the socks that I did in the laundry today.
2. This is not even all the socks that I have here with me in Taiwan.
3. I actually hate wearing socks because my feet always feel claustrophobic.

So continuing with the Dr. Suess theme of the week Andrea suggested that because I have so many fun socks with me that I might take my socks and have the kids match them together. I thought that it would be fun so on Tuesday that is what I did. 3 year olds had fun doing it, they specially loved being told good job and be cheered on Teacher Stephanie and I. 5 year olds started out well they were having fun, when my socks started disappearing, I finally noticed that someone was wearing a sock on their feet so I requested that everyone take them off, Kevin started to take them off and he had at least 8 of my socks (plus his own) on!!! I don't know how he wasn't sweating!

Beussical Sirthday!

I look at the amazing things that people can do with words and wish that I had that talent, but alas it is not meant to be :( One person that has the talent of working with words is Dr. Suess, this week was his birthday and in honor of it being so Andrea and I decided to make our morning class theme based off of his books (we were going to do our afternoon class but we now must have the same theme as the Chinese classes). I had brought several hats of my Dad's that I had inherited, not sure if I would use them but knew that a good hat is always something you should have. I decided to do something with them this week, based loosely off Cat in the Hat. I had balls and we used the different hats as baskets. But before Wednesday came of course I had to play with the hats and be, well, you know...ME! :D

Standing Guard

Wednesday in my middle class we were talking about being grateful and remembering to say "thank you" to those that help us, give something to us, or just do something in general. Because I figured that 30 minutes of just me saying "we need to say thank you" might be a little boring I tried to think of a way to practice using that skill but also make it interesting, so I brought a 4-5 plastic balls with me. We began by sitting in a circle and passing one ball around, when someone gave us a ball we would say "thank you" and then pass it to the next person. The 3 year olds it was a struggle to even understand that part, but the 4 year olds we were able to add more balls and roll them to different people across the circle (they were supposed to continue remembering the thank you part though they weren't always the best at it).
With the 5 year olds it began the same as the other two classes, but some where in the middle it all changed :D We went from the rolling the balls across the circle to two different teams across the room from each other, to me on one team and everyone else against me. That was fine I had no problem with that, but all of a sudden they weren't rolling the balls to me, they were counting to 3 and throwing them at me at the same time (for some reason all the ages enjoy throwing things at me). I was sitting on the ground and just hiding my head between my legs the first couple of times and then I looked up and Kevin (one who prides himself on being very "boy," you know the type) was standing in front of me with his arms spread wide to protect me from the balls that were flying at me from the other side of the room. Soon more and more of the 5 year olds were gathered in front of me protecting me from the other group...I was quite touched that they felt the need to protect me and I thought it was funny too, after I excused them to go to lunch I just lay on the ground laughing.