June 15, 2010

People are truly interesting creatures.

Today in my junior high classes, I was able to get my computer hooked up to the overhead player. I was able to show the kids their blog without them all huddling around my computer. Well, the second class at least. It took a while to get things hooked up and working. The overhead projection system has a remote control, but it wasn’t working. Took me a couple of thinking moments before I climbed onto a desk, pressed a button (NO, not the ‘on’ button, that was the FIRST thing I did), and voila, my computer was being displayed on the screen.

I think I was a little more impressed with all this than the kids were. They kind of treated it like, oh yeah, nice. However, once they started to see what they could do in their blog site, it suddenly changed. They saw links to their music, comments, and for a couple of them, how to actually PUBLISH an entry.

So back to their blogs. I have been having a lot of fun looking over their entries. Some of them have a lot to say. Others, well, just like in class, students of few words. Hopefully, over time, these students will open up more in their writings. One of the things that I’m most intrigued by is their music.

One class is really getting into posting their favorite music videos. Quite frankly, the music that some of these kids find interesting blows me away. One student, Sammy, likes a song by Lady Antebellum called Need You Now. I’ve heard this song a couple of times, but never really thought that a 13-year-old would like it. Another student, Vincent2, likes music by Linkin Park! And it was pretty quiet in class while I played Lady Gaga’s latest video, Alejandro! Who’d have known?!

I’m starting to get a better understanding of these kids. Maybe not a lot, but starting. As a teacher, and especially a teacher to teenagers, it’s not an easy task at times to ‘click’ with these kids. Being in a different culture makes it a little more difficult. Any advantage I can find that can help me to connect with them, on whatever level, then I’m willing to be the student.

Later this afternoon, I’ve noticed an increase in their entries. You know, I think this is one of the better ideas I’ve had to get through to any of my students. I made mention a few days ago about a teacher in Ontario who was able to use iPods to supplement his teaching. I think, since I can’t get my hands on 100 iPods, that using the internet, and more specifically, a blog, has hit the spot.

The other thing that I’ve also enjoyed, is discussing their entries in class. Now that I’ve got the overhead working properly, it will be easier to allow everyone to look at what I’m looking at when we’re talking. Teaching is suddenly taking on a whole new direction, one that I’d never counted on. These classes are supposed to be conversation classes, and what better way to converse, than to talk about THEIR blog entries.


So tomorrow, June 16, 2010, is Dragon Boat Festival. Dragon Boat Festival is on the Fifth day of the Fifth month of the lunar year. As the lunar year and the solar do not match properly, that is why the difference in dates.

Dragon Boat Festival is one of the four or five, how shall I say, ‘cultural holidays’ celebrated in Taiwan. It is also one of the few holidays that there is no work for most people. That being said, tomorrow is an unpaid holiday for me and many other people – schools, government, etc. After being here going on 9 years, I have never had the opportunity to see what Dragon Boat Festival is all about. I’ve seen pictures on the internet, but they’ve been posted after the day. And most people that I talk to either don’t want to go, or have no idea what goes on.

I did a little research today, and after a bit of hit and miss sites, I finally came across something that is helpful. I reposted a blog entry on my blog. I also came across a piece of information about what Dragon Boat Festival is all about. Over the years, several of my schools have asked that I teach the students about Dragon Boat Festival. I always considered it interesting that a Chinese celebration should be taught by someone that has no knowledge of the celebration, and in another language. I’ve been given short, somewhat loosely translated paragraphs. This is, in my opinion, one of the best bits of information I’ve come across.

Chinese Dragon Boat Festival is on 6/16/2010

Chinese New Year, the Mid-Fall Moon Festival and the Dragon Boat Day are three major festivals in China. The Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month of the Chinese calendar. Chinese call this day as Duan-Wu . Duan means beginning. Wu means Horse month in Chinese calendar. The Horse month usually begins on June 5th or June 6th in the Gregorian calendar. That means Dragon Boat Festival should be held in June, unless that year has Leap Month in the Chinese lunar calendar.

The Sad Story

In China, the Dragon Boat Festival memorializes the Chinese patriotic poet Chiu Yuan (340 BC-278 BC or 343-290 B.C.), who committed suicide by jumping into the river after tying himself with big rock on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month.

Chiu Yuan was the number one advisor of the kingdom of Chu . But people were jealous his position and said lots of bad words on his back. The king wouldn’t take his advice in the end and was killed by the enemy of neighbor kingdom. The new king continued to enjoy the luxury life and didn’t like Chiu Yuan either. Later, Chiu Yuan was exiled. He wrote many patriotic poem after then.

Chiu Yuan met a fisherman, who never cared about the country and quite satisfied his life. Chiu Yuan thought that the king wouldn’t run the country, people only cared about themselves, nobody cared the future of the country and to live is meaningless. So he killed himself by drowning himself in the river. Many fishermen tried to rescue him, but the body is never found. Fishermen worried about fish would eat his body. So they threw food into the river to feed the fish. Plus, they tried to scare fish away by splashing the water with their paddles and beating the drums on the long narrow boats.

Then the dragon was added into the story. Fishermen believed there was a water-dragon under the river. One man poured down a big jar of strong yellow wine (made of rice). Later, a drunken dragon-like fish floated on the river. One piece of Chiu Yuan’s clothing was found in-between the whisker of the water-dragon.

I will try, as long as the weather holds out, to see if I can get any pictures tomorrow. The weather is calling for 20-50% rain – same as today. Guess I’ll be wearing my raincoat!



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2 responses to “June 15, 2010

  1. Pingback: WaZup! Asia | Blog | 15. June 2010

  2. Hello!I am a 7-4 student.I’m David.
    Teacher Bill.Do you know me?
    I have your English conversaton class on Thurday.
    Do you have a good time on Dragon Boat Festival?
    See you tomorrow!
    Hope you have a good time today!

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