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Irene Ju

Hong Kong

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July 15

Today, Tim and I met with Clement to finalize the proposal for activities. We discussed a title for the program, possibly EXP for experience and exploration, and we also chose a design to represent the program (maybe a spacecraft/globe). I am very excited to have finalized the proposals and am looking forward to hearing back from Clement once the presentations to schools are over. Additionally, I will be beginning workshops next week with Elegantia College. I chose chapter 16 from the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, and I am currently planning a curriculum for the sessions. One activity that I enjoyed during training is music making to accompany the text. This is one activity I hope to implement during the sessions!  I will also be reaching out to my fellow pretext interns for advice/help! 

July 17

I began my first session today with Elegantia College with around 13 students. I had a very fun time preparing the material beforehand, such as my presentation to introduce myself, a brief overview of the text, and creative activities to engage the students. We first began with warm up activities, and we went around sharing where we would want to arrive if we walked through the back of our closet, just like in the story. At first, all the students were shy and refused to turn their cameras on, but once they got used to the pretexts style of inviting one another, it was nice to hear from all the students. Chapter 16 is a very descriptive, imagery-filled section due to the action and colors and liveliness of the scene, which is why I chose to work on this text with my students. I hoped the students would enjoy this text and have creative ways to engage with it. We began by drawing designs while I read aloud the text, and students had a chance to share their design with peers. I also introduced tangents and questions, so I am very excited to see what the students bring for our next session! Overall, the first session felt slow, but students began to open up and engage in our discussions. I am very excited for the progress in our next upcoming sessions!

Link to the powerpoint: Pretexts :)

July 21

After our first session, I created a short 1 minute video highlight to send to the teachers and principals. Since students had a difficult time understanding the text in our last session, I decided to divide the text and assign each section to different groups. Students were to read the text aloud together and summarize it on the google doc, come up with a question, and add any vocabulary words they struggled with. I was worried that students would have trouble with this activity but they were able to complete it together and share to the class. I think they are becoming more used to the pretexts style of sharing with one another and volunteering another student. I was pleased to hear that they enjoyed working with their peers in groups. We also answered silly ice breaker questions as well as questions related to the text, such as if you were to be a character from the text, who would you be and why. I really enjoyed hearing different ideas and perspectives from the students, and I am very excited to do my favorite activity with them during our next session! Due to time constraints, we were not able to complete reflections for the activity, so we will begin with reflections tomorrow (I thought our sessions were 2 hours, but turns out they’re only 1.5 hours). Overall, I am having a blast with these students, and I hope to see more engagement during our sessions. 

Group Work: Group Activity #2

July 22

Today we began by reflecting on the activity from yesterday’s section. It was encouraging to hear that students thought the activity helped improve their understanding of the text, bond with their peers, and learn more vocabulary. Overall, I think it was an effective activity in making sure all students were on the same page in regards to their understanding of the chapter. After reflections, we had a bit more success in sharing our tangents. Students brought in pictures of other media such as the Lion King, Zootopia, and Alice in Wonderland and explained their selection. Again, I enjoyed hearing their ideas and perspectives! Keeping the time in mind, we proceeded with our next activity, which was the music making activity (inspired by Devon and Luke) to accompany a section of the text. Students enjoyed working in break out rooms so I plan to create more activities that allow them to collaborate with their peers. During the music making activity, students created very beautiful designs, and I think they had a lot of fun with the music! I was super excited to hear the students' reflections. Many of them stated that they felt more creative and were more drawn to the text. One student named Ivy said that this activity is a very non-traditional way to study the text and that she would always remember the music when she goes back to read the text. 

July 25

Today we began by reflecting on the activity from yesterday’s section. It was encouraging to hear that students thought the activity helped improve their understanding of the text, bond with their peers, and learn more vocabulary. Overall, I think it was an effective activity in making sure all students were on the same page in regards to their understanding of the chapter. After reflections, we had a bit more success in sharing our tangents. Students brought in pictures of other media such as the Lion King, Zootopia, and Alice in Wonderland and explained their selection. Again, I enjoyed hearing their ideas and perspectives! Keeping the time in mind, we proceeded with our next activity, which was the music making activity (inspired by Devon and Luke) to accompany a section of the text. Students enjoyed working in break out rooms so I plan to create more activities that allow them to collaborate with their peers. During the music making activity, students created very beautiful designs, and I think they had a lot of fun with the music! I was super excited to hear the students' reflections. Many of them stated that they felt more creative and were more drawn to the text. One student named Ivy said that this activity is a very non-traditional way to study the text and that she would always remember the music when she goes back to read the text. 

I hoped to pack the session with engaging, creative activities today, so we played Skribbl.io! Some students had trouble accessing the page due to internet connection, and I also kept getting kicked out of the site, so it was a little difficult to proceed. However, I figured out a way to make sure everyone could participate (shared my screen and students sent guesses into the zoom chat!). This was super fun because the students were really getting into it, and I was surprised because they were very good at guessing! I made the list but I had trouble guessing...Following the activity, we began our reflections, and I asked how this activity made them feel about the text, what they enjoyed, what could be improved, etc. I was pleased to hear that students also had a lot of fun with the activity. They shared that it enhanced their memory of the text and that this activity was more interesting than reciting the text. They believed it helped them understand the content and vocabulary of the text better as well! I am hoping to plan more games into our activities in our future sessions. Lastly, in the last ten minutes of our session, I opened up the floor for any discussions, and students asked me questions about my college life, what I am studying/why I chose to study it, etc. and I absolutely loved interacting with my students in this manner. I believe we got the chance to become more comfortable with each other! 

July 27

Today is our second to last session together :( We began with a warm up question as always: what did you like most about the chapter I chose/what is your favorite part, and why? We all went around sharing our thoughts, and most students shared that they enjoyed the magical, supernatural parts of the text (which is why I chose this specific chapter). Ivy shared that she found the chapter to be very exciting, descriptive, and vivid! In case I haven’t written in this blog yet, the chapter is about Aslan resurrecting the stone statues, or the people and animals who have been cursed by the White Witch. Afterwards, we completed a quick round of KAHOOT for review of the text, and I included questions about the plot, vocabulary, and content we discussed during our sessions. I was surprised to hear that students have played this before during their English classes in school! During our brief reflections after the activity, students said they would love to play more of this and that it helped them understand some parts of the text that they had missed before. 

Following the quiz, we began the blackout poetry activity, and I also created my own poem and shared with the students. I attached some of the poems below!

One student explained that he took the text and created his own story! 

 

During our reflections, I was happy to hear that the activities made students more excited about the text, improved their comprehension, and fostered creativity in making their poem. Since my last session is coming up, I am thinking about how to wrap things up. I had a wonderful time with my students, and I am sad that we only get to spend 6 sessions together. I am hoping to exchange contact information/social media so we can keep in touch beyond the classroom! I love hearing student reflections, so I am excited for our final reflections/interviews. 

July 29

Today was our last session together :( We began with a brief breakout room activity of finding the most unique thing in common with one another in their break out groups. Here are what some of my students said:

Lucy and Christy: Watching movies like science fiction and animations

Frans and Kay: They both like sleeping until noon

Ivy and Joey: studying at midnight 

Lucy and Angela: watching Chinese animation, uniform color is red 

Afterwards, I asked students to pick a part of the text and search for music that best accompanies their choice. I chose this activity because I really enjoy music, and I remember I used to listen to music when I read books. After a while, when I listened to that song, I would always remember the book! Again the text is chapter 16, and students chose:

Project 46 - Forgettable (feat. Olivia) Unofficial Lyric Video

This student thought this song represents the liberation of the stone animals once they were saved by Aslan. It also made her feel hopeful about the future. The title also shows that the animals were not forgotten by Aslan. 

Alice's Theme (From "Alice in Wonderland"/Soundtrack Version)

This student believed that this song accompanies the text since it is the climax of the story. She also liked the mysterious energy of both the music and our text.

We then played a game of jeopardy, which was successful!! Students absolutely loved playing this game, and I don’t think they have been this active during our session!

We finished our sessions with reflections/surveys for the school! Many students shared that they were expecting boring sessions about reading and literature but were surprised that there were many engaging, fun activities. They also shared that they had more fun than they thought they would, and that they feel more comfortable with speaking in English in front of others. There were a lot more reflections, but I felt most touched and almost cried when they thanked me for the sessions… I left them my contact info/social media in case they wanted to keep in touch!