I've experienced one of the negatives of China these past few weeks. The random, unannounced and unexplained blockage of certain websites followed by their sudden return. I have a tumblr blog I was kind of in to when home in the states that I accepted the reality of being separated from during China (http://zombielace.tumblr.com). Then one day, tumblr begins to work! I get obsessed again. Then just as suddenly it is snatched away again, along with its siblings Flickr, Weebly (this here website), and Gmail. I was plunged into a feverish withdrawal. Just when I was contemplating throwing myself in front of a bus... well I wouldn't have to throw myself, standing too close to the curb would probably do the trick in China... Suddenly they're all back. But who knows for how long? Just one more thing summoning me home.

Home. Bought a ticket. I have a month and 10 days remaining. I'm partially looking forward to it and partially heart broken at the idea. I really feel like I've found my place here and that I'm loved and have been a successful teacher. I feel like a rockstar every morning, or really every time, I walk through the kindergarten yard and little voices shout "Miss Katie!! Miss Katie!!" and I get more than my daily dose of hugs and kisses and human monkey bar treatment. I'm really going to miss them, realistically more than they will miss me. And I feel protective of them. Like... the next foreign teacher better not suck! She better be sweet and funny and patient and make them fall in love with her and continue loving English! Funny and patient. I think those are two of the keys to being the foreign teacher. Not even the teacher I guess, just the foreigner. 
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Not that I'm ready to publish any scholarly material on the matter, but I do think some of my ideas in the classroom have led to successful weeks. It really gives me this incredibly cheesy warm feeling to hear my kids singing the songs I make up for them or playing the games I teach them after class is over. Last week I focused on winter clothes, like "scarf" and "hat," and for any other teachers of young children out there, you can try this too.
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My kids already knew the word "snowman" because I taught it with my Christmas unit the week before. I cut out five snowman shapes, then paper-doll style, traced scarves and hats for each one to wear. (For added longevity, I "laminate" them with packaging tape).  I stick the hats and scarves on with wall-putty, the kind you used to hang up super cool posters of The Breakfast Club in your dorm room. 

Then I stick them onto the board, invite the kids to comment on what colors the snowmen are wearing, etc, and I teach them this chant/song with the visual of the snowmen and some accompanying dramatic actions:

Five little snowmen went out one day (march in place)
wearing a scarf and a hat. (grab neck for scarf, pull on a hat for hat)
Out came the sun (fan yourself like it's hot... stick the Sun sticker above one snowman)

and melted one! (hold up one finger)
Blublublublublublu (that's the sound of melting, sway like you're melting of course)
And he was only a scarf and a hat. (remove the snowman, leave the scarf and hat. Look sad).


Four little snowmen......... etc

Once they know it, I let them have a chance to be the snowmen with scarves and hats I bring from home. I just do Two Little Snowmen, and hold my sun cutout over one of their head. They have fun melting and being silly.
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I also show them a card. My kids really like these kinds of cards I make, kind of like a flip book, with something on the front that is changed when you open it up. 
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Then I prepare photocopies for them to color their own. Then they can feel the pride of saying the rhyme themselves and opening up the card to show the surprise of the melted snowman. These are easy to make. I just fold up a piece of paper and draw what needs to be drawn on the front and inside, then unfold it again to make the copies. 
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That's it! Pretty simple and it works. If you're in need of a teaching idea for your young'uns, feel free to steal this one. I'm just sorry if you can't draw because most of my stuff revolves around having a teeny bit of cartooning skills. But it shouldn't be too hard to find the images online!