Thai Teacher Camp 2016

This past weekend the staff and teachers from Thida I and Thida II came together for the annual teachers’ camp.  We weren’t quite sure if we would have the camp due to the unfortunate news about the King’s passing.  We did have the camp as scheduled, although it was more quiet vs. previous years (for obvious reasons).

The theme was IT and each of the stations revolved around technology.  Stations ranged from designing your own Line sticker, IT Bingo, the Phone of the Future, Online Experience, and Just Google It.  My station was the Phone of the Future.  Since everybody has a smart phone, we discussed how we use our phones, what apps, features, etc., we want on our phones, and how they help us in our everyday lives.  After discussing some common apps, we displayed what phones might look like in 100 years–transparent?  Solar powered?  Cool designs?  The teachers then worked in pairs to model what they think cell phones might look like.  There were some very creative items!  I was happy with some of the dialogue I overheard in the groups–I think they learned some good new vocabulary and simple sentences.

Each station was 30 minutes (6 stations total).  Additionally, Sister led us in prayer to start camp in honor of the King.  We had 2 assemblies, one with some games and one with an English speaking competition.  It was impressive to hear the Thai teachers talk about their favorite stations and see the amount of English they were able to speak!

It was a fun day, but an exhausting one!  Camp ran from 8:00 AM until 3:00 PM.  I know all of the teachers had a good time (Thai and foreign), but I think everybody was happy to have some relax time after our first week back!

For many of us, this concludes the last camp for the year.  The only remaining camp left on the schedule is the P1 camp on Saturday, November 19th.  Ali T., William, Alex, and Michelle are scheduled to lead the camp.

Here are some pictures from Saturday’s camp!



New Passport Time!

I had myself a bit of a scare recently.  No, I didn’t lose my passport.  Midway through August, I realized I was down to a final page/page and a half.  I had planned to meet my brother and parents in Vietnam, then travel with them to Cambodia.  Of course, each of these countries requires a full page for their respective visas, so I wasn’t sure if I would be allowed to leave the country.

Thankfully I was able to get in and out of Vietnam without any trouble.  Much like passports have the 6 month expiration validity rule to enter a country, I was concerned there might be a certain number of remaining needed to enter Vietnam.

Before my trip back to Surat, I stopped off at the US Embassy.  Things went much more smoothly than expected.  I felt tense in the Embassy, because–well who doesn’t feel a bit tense in these situations?  I made an appointment a few weeks back online and found a hotel right off the BTS, which was walkable to the Embassy.  A little more than I wanted to spend, but I didn’t want to mess around with cabs and traffic.

The paperwork wasn’t too bad–a quick application form to fill in and print out, a prepaid envelope to they can send me the new document, and a passport photo (I bought what seems like my 1,000 photo there).  In total, I was probably at the Embassy an hour.  Not bad at all.

Some quick tips if anybody finds themselves needing a new passport:  First, remember your passport pic and proper application!  Will save valuable time.  Proceed directly to the US citizen check in area first, as they will explain the necessary steps and where to go.  Don’t bring many valuables, as I had to check my phone in at the front desk–travel lightly and allow plenty of extra time, as it gets boggled up quite quickly.

I should receive my new passport in about 3 weeks.  Luckily, the Embassy officials will email me when it arrives back in Thailand.  The other option is to pick it up in person, but unrealistic getting up there during normal school hours!


More Fun in Animal Club

blog2-2My students and I have had a ton of fun in Animal Club this semester. Taking a break from math or science to craft and play with my kiddos always makes Mondays a little bit easier. I always try to switch up what we do in club to keep the kids interested. The past few times, we’ve played a variety of different games and also worked on several art projects. After learning a bit about lions, my students really enjoyed making lion masks. Each student got to design and color their lion any way they wanted. After coloring the masks and cutting holes for their eyes, my classroom transformed into an African savanna! There was a bunch of little lions having a blast running around scaring each other.


Another craft we did was “Mixed Up Animals.” My students colored different animals, cut them in half, and then mixed and matched their body parts to create new animals. The Hippo-Lion was my personal favorite. As much as my students love to create, they also love to play games. “Animal Hangman” is one of their favorites. Each student thinks of an animal and the others have to guess what it is. This game is not only fun, but also helps the students with their spelling – it’s a win, win!

Final Review Games

I can’t believe we just wrapped up the first semester of the school year – it really flew by! Finals once seemed so far away, but believe me, we blinked and it was time to review. Whenever my students have tests coming up, I try to think of review games that are not only effective, but also fun! I have found that the best way for my kiddos to grasp the information being presented is if it’s done in an entertaining way. Instead of just standing in front of the classroom “bla, bla, bla”-ing to prepare them for their English, Math, and Science finals, we had some fun! We played classic games like hangman and Tic-Tac-Toe, but my students’ favorite review game was definitely Jeopardy. I found a great website online ( where you can create your own from scratch. The site allows you to come up with your own categories and insert the questions and answers yourself. Jeopardy especially helped my students review for science because we covered such a wide range of topics. I divided the material that would be on the final into 5 categories: “Food,” “Photosynthesis,” “Materials,” “Pollution,” and “Caring for our Environment.” The harder the question, the more “money” my students won. My students are quite competitive so everyone was paying attention and participating. I really think Jeopardy helped my students rock their finals and definitely recommend it to any teacher looking for a fun way to review!blog3

Vegetarian Meal of the Month

blog1October’s “Vegetarian Meal of the Month” is one of my favorites – Margherita Pizza (sorry vegans, but I love pizza). This beauty can be found at Milano’s, which is right along the pier towards the left of Sweet Kitchen. This restaurant has a variety of Italian food as well as other Western options. The people who work there are lovely, which is always a plus. The Margherita pizza is amazing and tastes just like it would back home. They don’t hold back on the tomato sauce or cheese, and also provide you with extra toppings such as oregano and pepper. I love watching them make the pizza from scratch and toss it into the oven right in front of me. I have also tried the vegetable calzone at Milano’s and it was delicious. The pizza box on motorbike is a tough one to master, so unless you have some serious skills, I suggest grabbing a seat outside and eating the pizza there! Enjoy!