Thursday, February 28, 2008

Back to School Week

I love second's all downhill from here! We are ending the first week of semester two. About 80% of the students have returned to campus. The remainder are trickling in due to the backlog of people needing train travel. The effects of the severe winter storms are still being felt.

This term I have a wonderful schedule - no classes on Monday or Friday! Also, I have only two courses - Writing 2 (two sections) and Survey of English-Speaking Countries (three sections). I'm not sad to see the Oral/Speaking class gone (as it was my least favorite), but I will miss the energy and enthusiasm of those first year kids. In the Writing Class, the first half of the semester will be preparing the students for the writing section of the TEM-4 Exam (The English Majors Level 4 Exam) to be given on April 20. All English majors must pass this in order to get their BA degree. In the Survey class, we'll be covering the United Kingdom in the first half and ending with the United States. I'm learning right along with the students and I enjoy the class. But I admit, my favorite language subject to teach is writing.

A sure sign that the students are back: In the university district shops - TP galore on sale! There are also gobs of large plastic bowls (for laundry) and plastic bathroom/shower clogs.

C. and E. also returned to school this week. I think they are glad to be back on a schedule. (Well, Mom and Papi are glad to have the schedule return!) C.'s class will start learning to read. Today the teacher was introducing the tones of the Mandarin language. They'll also continue with single digit addition, science, geography and community concepts. E's class will continue with pre-reading skills, number and math readiness, and science, geography and community concepts. Both classes have art, music. P.E. and English.

This semester, the kids will attend an after-school enrichment class. We chose Origami/Paper Crafts. Chinese kids love this activity and there are books and more books available for all skill levels. The class choices were limited, but it actually worked out for the best. The other choices were English (nah, we'll pass on that), Music/Art (already part of the curriculum), and Dancing (only offered during the school day). So that left Origami, which would have been our first choice anyway. And luckily, it's held on the same day for the 4 year old and the 5 year old groups. This way, both kids will have a class on Thursday, but be in different classrooms. We have a busy and fun semester ahead of us!

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