Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Tanner Brown Goes Downtown (again)

Downtown was in town this weekend on a visa run. We met up in Itaewon for a late lunch and a brief pub crawl before making our way to Bongcheon for lamb and makgeolli, and then a taxi ride back to Hyochang Park.

We ate brunch in my neighborhood at BonJuk (other than the lamb, I tried to feed him foods he didn't have on his last visit) and did the ultimate tourist thing:

N Seoul Tower.

We made a quick stop at Namdaemun market, where we saw a protest march and TB bought undergarments.


We met The Stumbler for dinner in Gangseo-gu Cheong, at our favorite beef place, followed by a couple hours at Luna Bar.

On Sunday, we made a quick circuit of Hyochang Park, including the Tombs of Three Patriots. The museum dedicated to Baek Beom Kim Ku, a crucial figure in Korean resistance to Japanese colonial rule, was open, and I have to say it is well-done and very informative (though it needs more English multimedia).

It was approaching time for his trip to the airport and back to Beijing, but we squeezed in a stop at Ours Blanc, a renowned bakery nearby, and found it deserved its reputation.

Two final pics, one for each of us.

Come again sooner!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Seasonal Stuff

It snowed yesterday, the first snow of the season--at first some flurries, then later with greater volume. It didn't stick, but it did slush a bit. This is the view from my window:

The snow is an indication of the season. If that wasn't enough, when I came home this evening, they had put up the seasonal holiday display in my subway station!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Who is stronger?

Despite whatever has happened in the last day (about which, let me just say, we will some day become greater than this), I am determined to carry on. Along the lines of my last post--a look at an interesting lesson for fifth grade--I present an engaging lesson for sixth graders on the subject of comparative adjectives.

The students are The Comparative Detective who must sort the four characters according to their foot speed, age and height. There are ten clues to decipher:

and then to make sentences for. The students then report the sentence to the their teammates, who must write it in their "Clue book":

Players switch roles, so each student will read, speak, listen and write during the activity.

There are ten clues to gather. After recording them all, the team must sort out the facts to determine the names and statistics of the four people they are comparing.

I initially planned a different activity for this lesson--one that was successful at my old school--but two or three of the sixth grade classes here are what my co-teacher describes as "quiet". What I would describe as lethargic and unengaged. So, I wanted to get them on their feet, and also challenge their brains (with or without English, necessarily). Working as a team. They really got into the Stations game, so this was a similar attempt to motivate them.

Halfway through the rotation, they have been utterly enthusiastic and totally willing to work. So so far a success.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

What a nice house!

Sadly, not my new apartment, though hopefully there will be some movement on that issue soon. No, that is the name of the current unit in fifth grade, and gave me a chance to show my creative chops again.

I found some interesting pics of rooms in houses, and some cutaway views. I settled on eight plus a "bonus". Then I made a sentence matching the lesson vocab, and turned them into fill-in-the-blanks. Cut out the sentence so its shape will cover the item(s) of interest in the room. Like so:

Then tape it upside down over the pic like it's a flap. Pairs of students lift the flap and make the sentence:

They then report back to their teammates, dictate the sentence, and the teammates have to write it down on their handout. Then they switch roles to do the next one ...

As you can see, students found this activity utterly engaging, and had no trouble remembering all the sentences at the end of class. Almost worth all the prep this required (I laminated everything, because I have five classes of fifth graders, and otherwise everything would be shredded pretty quickly).

Thursday, October 20, 2016

What's Up?

Not much. Little in the way of news; I'm getting along pretty well at my new school, the co-teachers are always vocally impressed with my materials, and I have to admit I'm hitting them with my best stuff.

Here are a couple of shots of sixth graders with an activity where they must listen to the textbook song (the songs in my new 5th and 6th grade books--Cheonjae 2--are even worse than the Daekyo ones, so no one wants to sing them) and then put the lines in order. There is quite a bit of prep, in addition to the cutting up of the lines of the song for each pair (12 sets): rip the song and then edit out a couple snippets to use in the instructions, and make some tedious PPT animations. You repeat the activity only this time the pairs work against each other to see who can grab the most lines and put them over the same lyrics in their textbook.

Lunch at the school is generally pretty good, except about once a week they have fish in red sauce or odeng (fish spam), both of which I strongly dislike. Last week, we had a new one on me, the Korean/Chinese date, or jujube, in Korean: 사과대추 literally apple jujube, because it is though to resemble an apple in taste.

Finally, last weekend was the Itaewon International Festival, which is an opportunity to eat vast amounts of good food and drink different drinks. Here I am having a guava soft drink from a Mexican stall, with a masked tout reminiscent of that Mexican wrestler from my childhood--Santo (?):

Monday, October 3, 2016

Hyochang Park

This park is a tomb park where the corpses of patriotic forefathers are laid. It was where the tomb of Prince Munhyo (King Jeongjo's eldest son at the end of the Joseon) was placed and was originally called Hyochangmyo. It enshrined more tombs of the royal family and was raised to the status Hyochangwon in 1870 (7th year of King Gojong's reign). Originally it was in a wooded area near Hyochang-dong and Cheongpa-dong but the Japanese military became stationed there illegally and started to destroy it. Finally, at the end of the Japanese colonial period (March in 1945) the Japanese military force moved the tombs to Seosamneung by force and made it Hyochang Park. After Independence, Kim Koo moved the corpses of Lee bongchang, Yun Bonggil and baek Jeonggi--three patriots--to the current location. In 1948, the corpses of Lee Dongnyeong, Cha Iseok, and Jo Seonghwan--who were the key figures of the provisional goverment--were also enshrined here. In 1949, the corpse of Kim Koo was enshrined as well. In the area of the three patriots' tomb, the tomb on An Junggeun was placed. In front of the three patriots' tomb, Uiyeolsa--where the seven patriotic forefathers were enshrined--was built in 1990. To cherish their memory, a joint ceremony is held every year on April 13th, the date when the provisional government was founded.

Today is Korean Foundation Day, October 3rd, which refers to the purely made up event in 2333 BC when the Prince of Heaven, 환웅 Hwanung, decended to earth to live with mankind, chosing the Korean peninsula as the place to do so.

Considering it was a school holiday, and key celebration of Korean history, I assumed the park described above (as on the plaque near the entrance) would be bubbling with ceremonies and activities, or at least that everything would be open. Wrong.

Kim Koo Museum:

Kim Koo tomb:

Three patriots' tomb:

Anti-communist monument:

Still, it is a nice park, with lots of walking paths,

shady benches,

and old men playing janggi, Korean chess.

Near the entrance, the convenience store was open, and located nearby was a doll's house of a traditional Korean ‎한옥 hanok and a tall sculpture:

I couldn't find the interpretive plaque, but fortunately my old pal Chris in South Korea was able to help out:
Called “Chumji”, or the Divine Blessing, it “signifies the meeting point of heaven and earth whilst also emphasizing the sacredness of the grounds-a place where the ancestral spirit is nested."

One nifty little area is a celebration of the 태극기 taegugki, the Korean flag. It includes sculptures (for want of a better word) of the trigrams, the black bars surrounding the yin-yang symbol at the flag's center. The Wikipedia page can explain it all pretty well.

Sadly, you have to balance that with piles of garbage sitting in the open:

To end, a nice detail of the fence, and a couple of flowers:

At some point, I plan to update this post, when things are open ...