After being with my class for over two years, I sometimes feel the need to shake things up and re-invent the wheel. Thankfully the children have enjoyed most of the activities in class, but I know if I’m not excited about them, they won’t be.
One new game idea I came across out of the blue is quite simple. I drew a grid on the board for each team (in this case, three grids). Working with the comparative and superlative form can be confusing for the students, so we started of with creating six comparatives and placing them randomly in one of the six boxes on the grid. After an intense rock, scissors, paper game to see who goes first, student one in the winning group came up and spun the dice. Whatever number they spun would be the numbered box they’d have to say. For example, if they rolled a four and box four was ‘heaviest,’ the student would need to pronounce the word correctly in order to cross off the box. Proceed like that for the other two groups as well.
The games get really intense and of course the first few rounds the boxes are crossed off rapidly. Even if a student lands their dice roll on an already crossed off box, they still must pronounce it for additional practice.
Luckily, the kids really enjoy this activity! I let them produce what will go in the boxes so it’s a class effort and not just teacher assigning words. After working with the one word comparative form, we moved on to comparative sentences as pictured.
In P3 math class this month, we have been learning all about money! We can add money, we can subtract money, we can identify different amounts of Baht and Satang, we can solve word problems with money… we’re basically money experts at this point. After days of hard work counting Baht and solving problems in our workbooks, we celebrated the end of the unit by designing our own menus! I knew my students would think this was fun, but I did not expect how much they would love this simple project. Each student folded a piece of paper and named their restaurant on the front. We had everything from “Prae’s Restaurant” to “Call of Duty Cafe.” After naming their restaurant, they came up with the various foods and their costs. Some of my students cracked me up with their creative choices such as “Dragon steak” or “People’s Eyeball Soup”… delicious! After they were done designing their menus, they went around the room asking each other what they wanted to order from their restaurants and taking their fake money. This allowed my students to practice adding and subtracting money in a real world situation. Who knew math could be so fun?!
This month in P3 we have been learning all about habitats and ecosystems. These have definitely been my favorite topics to teach so far. My students have also been quite happy because they get to learn about many different animals and where they live. As usual, I am amazed by my students’ ability to grasp advanced information in a language that is not native to them. I think it’s pretty impressive that they could tell you that an ecosystem “is a group of living and non-living things interacting with each other in an area” along with different examples of ecosystems and the animals that live within them. In order to help them better understand the new material, we played a few games and the students also drew their own ecosystems. They had to list 3 living things and 3 non-living things within their ecosystems and also describe how some of the living/non-living things interact with each other. This activity definitely helped them become ecosystem experts!
In Tun Tun’s pond, the duck interacts with the water by drinking it.
In Pong’s ocean, the shark interacts with the fish by eating it.
In Tatar’s ecosystem, the tree interacts with the sunlight because it needs it to grow.
July’s Vegetarian Meal of the Month is my guilty pleasure – fried vegetables from Gun Et Te. In case you don’t know where Gun Et Te is, it’s on the left along the pier when you’re heading towards the Sunday Night Market. This restaurant has a variety of both Western and Thai dishes, but these fried veggies have to be my favorite on the menu. Just like onion rings, they fry up carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and baby corn in a delicious batter. Although it’s unhealthy, at least you’re still getting your daily dose of veg. They’re served with a sweet sauce on the side, making it the perfect lunch or dinner for 70 baht. I highly recommend this meal!
Or Sky Cafe, is a pretty cool little restaurant/coffee shop/bar located just outside of town. Heading down Talad Mai, it’s just a little bit past the main intersection heading towards Central Plaza. Instead of turning right at the light, keep going straight. Not the easiest exit off the main road, but well worth the visit.
I enjoyed a really good meal there last Saturday–a very spicy spaghetti and chicken wing dish. I normally don’t take pictures of food, so unfortunately you’ll have to use your imagination. It was surprisingly busy for the oddish time (about 1600). It’s a very clean restaurant inside and offers excellent service. The views itself are awesome–it was cool to see a panoramic views of Surat city and all its development. It felt like being in a remote area without dealing with the commute to get to that type of area.
Next door is the Sky Bar, which is a small but fun looking area. It would be nice to head there and have a beer watching the sunset. There’s even a small rectangular swimming pool on the premises. It looked like they show movies there often, as there’s a large screen there. I attempted to find the cafe online, but only a Facebook page pops up.
Pricewise, Sky Cafe isn’t terribly expensive. Between my girlfriend and myself, we spent about 450 Baht for our meals, some coffee, and water. The typical price range for an entree runs about 120 Baht, but there’s options for several hundred Baht should you fancy it.
I’ll definitely go back there, as I think it’d be a nice place to unwind and get away from everything. A good spot to clear the head!
I am new to Surat and Thailand this year and have been overwhelmed by how friendly and helpful the locals are. I am also new at driving a scooter, having previously always been a car passenger. This has led to lots of opportunities for the local Thai people to help me, generally whilst simultaneously laughing and saying Farang a lot!
Surat is reasonably easy to navigate, as I have been told from many different sources, however I apparently have the worst sense of direction in the world, especially when its raining! The day we (the three other newby teachers and myself) went to pick up our scooters we were invited out to lunch with the family who rent them out. When we left they checked we knew where we were going and we arranged to follow the one who knew the way. It literally took 30 seconds for us to get separated and a few minutes later I passed two of the others going the other way down a main road. A few minutes passed and I was beginning to worry I would never find my way home, not having the address and not speaking any Thai. Luckily before I could go into total panic mode I heard a voice calling my name, X and Reffa had seen me and escorted me all the way to my door, where they then waited in case they needed to send out a search party for any of the others. Bless them
The second incident requiring my rescue occurred after school one day. It was the first time I had driven in a proper Thai rainstorm and I neglected to pay attention to where I was going, so focused on negotiating the puddles, traffic and trying to keep my poncho covering as much of me as possible. By this time I had been around Surat a bit more and had a few landmarks to guide me home, however an hour later, having passed the same electricity pylon four times it was obvious I was just going in circles and needed assistance. I then had one of those hilarious, increasingly familiar, conversations where you don’t speak the same language but somehow manage to communicate anyway and very gratefully set off again with a map and a restored belief that I would eventually find my way home. So there I was, happily counting turnings, preparing to turn down what I hoped would be the road to take me somewhere familiar when a voice says, “you go” from next to me. The very helpful good Samaritan had not only drawn me a map but also jumped on his bike to make sure I got home okay. What an absolute sweetheart!
The third, and hopefully last, occasion where I have required rescuing was en route to Koh Sok national park during a rainstorm in the dark on a Friday night. It’s about a two and a half hour drive from Surat and was a pleasant drive on good roads until the dark and rain set in, at which point it immediately became scary and freezing. We were not comfortable driving any further, especially as I had a minor falling incident which resulted in the foot board falling off my bike, so pulled off the road to realise we were unintentionally opposite a police station. We asked them if there was a hotel or restaurant nearby and they looked after the bikes overnight for us, drove us to a nearby hotel, restaurant and picked us up in the morning to bring us back. More lovely Thai people! The next morning we continued the journey and came across a bicycle repair shop where the man hunted through his box of screws and managed to find some to fix the foot board back on, and wouldn’t accept any money for his screws or trouble. Another true gem of a person! Suratthanians rock!
With a new school year comes new clubs, and this year I am in charge of Thida’s Animal Club! We meet once a week for about an hour and, as the name suggests, get to learn about many different animals. I have students from P1-P3 in my club so it’s a fun way to meet and interact with kids that are not in my class every day. So far we have drawn our favorite animals, learned about chameleons, and played Pictionary. The kids look forward to it every week because they get to practice their English but while doing something outside of their books. Pictionary has definitely been their favorite. We divide the class into 2 teams and the students take turns drawing and trying to guess the animal on the board. Their guesses are usually hilarious, such as when they all screamed out “CAT” but it was actually supposed to be an elephant. I am looking forward to many fun Mondays with my club.