Loi Krathong Day!

Yesterday Thailand celebrated Loy Krathong day!  Although I’m a bit rusty about my overall knowledge of the special day, it pays homage to the Water Goddess by releasing lotus shaped rafts (krathongs), sometimes made of bread, decorated with incense, candles, and flowers down a river.

Typically, Loi Krathong falls on the twelfth lunar month, usually in November, at the end of the rainy season.  It symbolizes a way of saying thank you for the previous year’s abundant supply of water and to make an apology for polluting the water.  Some people believe it also symbolizes ‘floating away’ anger, etc. from the previous year and offers a fresh start.  Sometimes, people put some of their hair or a fingernail to release any negative feelings or energy and to start fresh. It’s believed that if your candle stays lit until the krathong is out of sight, you’ll be in store for a year’s worth of good luck.

We celebrated this special day at school with the kids taking a break from their usual uniforms and wearing traditional Thai dress.  Needless to say, it was absolutely adorable to see them in their attire and the pictures never stopped!  It also helped remind me how young and precious they really are…somehow they seem older and more mature in their Thida uniforms.  A good way to regain perspective.

The Anubans held an assembly during the morning (easy to hear while trying to teach) in the main area, complete with dances and games.  In the center was a mini kid pool, where many students and teachers placed their krathongs ‘down the river.’  I had the fortune of having second period off and joined in on the fun.  I’ve never been grabbed for so many pictures before!

The MEP students had their assembly after lunch in the assembly area.  They too enjoyed singing the traditional Loi Krathong song, dancing, and playing games with their class.  The Super teachers were ‘invited’ to participate and found ourselves rather sweaty after participating in a relay race, some sort of limbo game, and a class snake game.  It was good fun, but definitely exhausting in that heat!  After, the MEP students also sent their krathongs ‘down the river.’

I had the good fortune to go to the pier and take a small boat out on the water.  There, we lit our krathongs and lanterns and enjoyed watching them float and fly away.  I don’t think we could’ve handled anymore people on that boat…it was tipping back and forth pretty good!  It was nice to see this event this year, as last year’s event was dampened by heavy rain all evening.  My krathong a student gave me never got it’s proper use.

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MEP English Camp Take II

Recently the MEP program took a break from a normal Friday to schedule to have an all-day English camp.  The theme was ‘In the Jungle’ and students enjoyed a variety of stations, games, and activities centered around this theme.  Stations ranged from Teacher Torie’s ‘Jungle Boogie’ game, where students played a freeze dance game and worked to match different jungle animals and their offsprings to Teacher Joel’s ‘Amazing Amazonian Animals’ game, where the kids learned about different jungle animals, did a connect the dots worksheet, then enjoyed a memory game with their completed worksheets and animal labels.

The day was an exciting yet busy one, as each one of the ten MEP teachers had their own station.  Each station lasted twenty minutes, so getting through all the games and activities sometimes was a challenge!

My station was called the ‘Banana Peel Challenge’ game.  I presented a PPT with jungle animals and depending on the student class/level, we discussed various things.  For example, with the older students, we talked about what the animals eat, warm/cold blooded, their habitats, etc.  I knew I needed to challenge the older ones to retain their attention.

Afterwards, I led them through a series of questions to get them answering about monkeys.  I’d bought some bananas and was going to have them try to peel them without using their hands, but soon realized how many bananas would be needed.  Instead, I lined up two kids at the opposite side of the room and asked them how monkeys walk/run.  They got down on all fours and with only using their legs kicked the bananas across the room and back.  I told them if they kicked it like a soccer ball the other ‘monkeys’ in the room (students) could come take their bananas.  The younger ones really got into it and things got quite competitive!

Throughout the course of the event, we also had three assemblies.  While we didn’t do the songs to save time (and most of them have been recycled over and over, ha) we had a huge limbo game with all the kids….then with the teachers!

The last and final assembly involved putting ten ping pong balls into an empty tissue box and taping the box around a student’s waist.  Their goal was to shake all the balls out of the box the fastest.  Those kids can really move!  To conclude the day, five of the Thai teachers played the same game….hats off to Teacher Neung for competing in record time!

I believe this was our last English camp for the year.  While they’re a good bit of work to coordinate, prepare, and execute, they always seem to come together when the day arrives and the children really enjoy them!



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Thida Teacher English Camp

This past Saturday the teachers from both Old and New Thida gathered for an Asean themed English camp.  It was a great turn out and more than a few laughs!

The teachers enjoyed listening and participating to different stations like Travel (how to buy a ticket via various transportation options), Shopping (which stores offer what items/how to purchase items), Restaurant (going to/ordering food at different restaurants), Greetings (learning when it’s appropriate to say various greetings/slang in English/various situations), Tourism (discovering where teachers would go for a ‘dream holiday’ and items to bring, etc.).

My station was called ‘Love, Serve, and Forgive.’  We talked about different ways we can express love, like a spouse/family, favorite activities, and favorite places.  I think it was helpful to show different ways to express love and not just focus on one thing.

To explain serving, we talked about going to a restaurant and how a waiter takes your order, brings drinks/food, and takes care of you during your experience.  We also covered serving one’s country, i.e. military service, in the community (police officer, firefigher, etc.) and serving one’s God through religion.

Last was forgiving.  As teachers, we can all relate to being wound up by a student, but it’s always important to let that go and realize they are children.  The same thing goes for personal relationships.

To apply these principles, we prepared some simple examples of each of the three and rolled them inside balloons.  The teachers enjoyed popping them and trying to see if they could match the phrase with the correct principle.  They did very well!  It was great to see them enjoying the activity and not looking at their watches to get out of the room!

I personally had a great time and loved seeing the Thai teachers cut loose!  The  Green team was my favorite (somehow we got them two times during the day) and had a lot of energy!  All in all a great day and the bar’s been raised for next year’s event!

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