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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Spring 2010 Tree Planting Activity


Periodically, the Nankai University would invite the foreign teacher to participate in an activity.  In the spring of 2010, all the foreign teachers from Nankai, as well as the teachers from University of Tianjin, were loaded onto buses and driven outside of the city to plant trees.  It turned out to be near where they were constructing a new campus for Nankai University.  When we arrived, we marched down through a field behind flags representing our respective universities.  It was a cold and windy morning.   
We all marched behind the Nankai University Flag.
Have shovel will dig.
These are the foreign teaches at Nankai.
We were shown how to position a young sapling in a pre-dug hole, push some dirt around it and then carry water to soak around it.  In every direction, there were acres and acres of trees planted in neat, straight rows.  This was part of the Dongli Lake Ecology Park, part of an effort to reclaim swampy land for a new community. 
I am checking to see if the tree is level. This is Doerte Luetvogt one of our good friends who taught German.
Mom was so helpful.  The trees had no limbs and very few roots.  I'm not sure they survived. 
We are working so hard.  Not.
After we had each planted a tree, they invited us to an area where several speeches were offered.   Finally, a large stone monument was unveiled, designating the area as the Friendship Forest of Tianjin Overseas Talents.  
We listened to speeches and then the monument was uncovered.
The big stone monument is covered in red cloth before it is unveiled. 
L to R Cheryl Edmonds, Carol Larson, mom and Doerte Luetvogt.  The monument is in the background.
We then boarded our buses and were taken to a fancy restaurant where we enjoyed interesting Chinese delicacies. 
Lunch

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Christmas 2009


As we were getting ready to leave for China in August 2009, Chris had the idea to take some miniature candy canes with us.  She was thinking ahead to the Christmas season and thinking it would be fun to hand them out to our students.  Once we got to Tianjin and began teaching at Nankai University, we realized that the students loved anything to do with American culture and traditions.  Not being a Christian nation, they really don’t have any Christmas celebrations, but the fancy malls would play Christmas music and have some decorations.  As we thought about what we might do as a surprise for our students—a total of 300 between us!!—we decided to make miniature Christmas stocking for them.  We had discovered a fabric warehouse and we went on the hunt for some cheap red fabric.  We bought yards of fabric, drew a pattern for the sock and then cut out hundreds of little, 6 inch red socks.  We took them to a tailor that worked in the market next to campus and he sewed them up for us. 
In the process of all this holiday planning, John decided he wanted to play Santa Claus.  We went back to the fabric store and bought some furry white fabric and more yards of red fabric.  We printed off a picture of Santa Claus and went back to the tailor to try and explain what we wanted him to sew.  This required a lot of pantomime and pointing to the picture to explain that we wanted pants, a big jacket trimmed with white fur, a Santa hat and a big Santa bag to carry our presents.  We went back for one fitting and we had to keep saying “big”, which was one of the few words we could say.  The jacket was more like a big tent, but Chris had a wide, stretchy black belt and it worked out just right.
Then we had to decide how to give Santa a beard.  We had been to a shopping area that consisted of several large buildings with 4 to 5 stories each.  Each floor had multiple little shops and you could find all kinds of clothes, decorations and household items.  We looked up the word for “wig” in the dictionary and began asking people where we could buy one.  Sure enough, after being pointed to the right building, we found a shop that sold cheap, synthetic wigs and they even had two white ones.  (Think funky, 80’s go-go dancer wig.)  We took it to a barber shop next to campus and turned one upside down, cut a hold for John’s mouth and had them trim the bangs for a moustache.  We attracted quite a lot of curiosity and giggles as they combed out the wig and tried to make it look like a beard, but it was surprisingly successful.
We had a Christmas tree and everything in our apartment.
Not bad for two wigs.
This is one of the girls that worked at the desk in the lobby of our apartment building.  She was one of our favorites. 
The week of Christmas, we had our classes sing Christmas songs and during the singing, Santa would knock on the door and then burst into the room, yelling “ho, ho, ho Merry Christmas.”  These students would squeal with delight and pull out their cell phones to begin snapping pictures.  Santa would give everyone a Christmas sock with a few pieces of candy and we would all sing together.  It was one of the most memorable things that we did—for them and for us. 
Mom and I handing out Christmas stockings in one of our classrooms.
One of my classes.  You can see their Christmas stockings on the desks.
You might say I was a very big hit.
I'm sure this is a combined class of mine and Chris'.
Mom would have them singing Jingle Bells and I would knock at the door shouting Merry Christmas.
More Class Pictures.
More Class Pictures.
More Class Pictures.
More Class Pictures.
More Class Pictures.
More Class Pictures.
More Class Pictures.
More Class Pictures.
More Class Pictures.
More Class Pictures.
More Class Pictures.
More Class Pictures.

The university also took us to a Christmas dinner and program, where kids danced and sang Christmas songs in English.  It was quite entertaining.  We had a Branch Christmas party at our apartment and enjoyed the Spirit of the Season.  
Making gingerbread houses and tree ornaments  at Sister Delores Derby's home.  Center, Carol Larson and right Cheryl Edmonds.
Dinner and Christmas program.  The kids sang Christmas songs in English.
At the Christmas program with John and Carol Galbraith.
Two of Chris' best friends.   Left Cheryl Edmonds and right Dorte from Germany.
This was a branch party at our apartment.
This is Ruben, a member of the branch who was from Mexico, who was studying Chinese on scholarship.
Dorte and Santa.
Santa and our maid.  She cleaned the apartment everyday. 
Two of our students who came to our apartment to visit.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Teaching English

This is the building we taught in.

One of mom's classes, it is winter and you never take off your coat.  No heat in the classrooms.

One of my classes, you can see the screen and the powerpoint lesson.


Teaching English

After our week long trip to southern China, we started to get serious about learning how to teach English to PhD. Students.  We each had 6 classes each week.  The classes were 2 hours long.  I was quite nervous and wondered if I would be able to really teach and make a difference.  We had the lessons of several teachers that had taught at Nankai for the last few years and so with the help of some outlines, we started making our power point lessons.  We started out with words of the day.  For example, the word tear: to pull apart, or tear: a drop of water that rolls down your cheek when you are crying.  We were trying to teach them that there are a lot or words in English where you need to know the context in order to know how to pronounce the words.  We would then have a sentence for each pronunciation of the similar words and each student would have to read one of the sentences aloud when his or her name was called at the beginning of class.  Example: Do not tear pages out of your English textbook, or a tear ran down his cheek when he heard the news of his grandmother’s death.  Then we would have the family presentation. We divided the class into families on the first day and this was a cute novelty for most of them because they  did not have a brother or a sister and the thought of having brothers or sisters was interesting.  We chose a mother or father for the family and then this group of students would have a presentation that they would give every third or fourth week.  The subject of the presentation would be assigned at the end of each lesson for the following week.  We would then discuss idioms, maybe ten each week. Example: “Pull your own weight” meaning to do your full share of the work.  Everyone in the family should pull their own weight.  We then would teach them how to make certain sounds.  What they needed to do with their tongue and how to shape their mouth.  Example:  the “th” sound is not used in Chinese and they have no experience in how to make this sound correctly.  In order to make the “th” sound, you need to stick your tongue out of your mouth and rest your upper teeth lightly on your tongue and then blow a little air out of your mouth.  This takes a lot of practice and so we would have them practice saying a lot of words containing “th”.  We would then have our thought of the day. Example:  “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”  Marcus T. Cicero c. 106-43 BC, Great Roman Orator, Politician.   We would then listen to a segment of the radio broadcast from Public Radio call “This I Believe”.  While they were listening, we would also have it on the screen so they could read it.  Then we would have each person read a sentence.  Then we would discuss what it meant.  This was in to help them get ideas, because part of their final would be to give a talk to the class about what they believe.  We would then have a listening segment, where we would play a song with pictures and subtitles.  This part of the lesson took the longest to make, sometimes more than 10 hours.  Thankfully, we had about 20 songs that other teachers had made and left for us.  I think I made maybe 4 songs in 2 years and the rest we borrowed from others.  We would then make an assignment for their homework and the family presentation for the next week.  Following this post, is a song that goes with the power point presentation of a lesson that we used in China.  Play the song when you get to the song in the power point and you can change the slides to show the words of the song and see the pictures that go with the words. This is one of the songs that I did.

Thanks to you song in lesson 5



When you get to the song in the power point in the last post you can play this song and change the slides in the presentation to show the pictures that go with the words of the song.  Just click on the link below.

http://yourlisten.com/Nepomuceno.Abel/thanks-to-you#

Test of Power Point lesson

Monday, September 8, 2014

Haungguoshu Falls and the Stone Forest near Kunming






Haungguoshu Falls and the Stone Forest near  Kunming

The last two things we did were we visited Hunagguoshu falls and the stone forest near Kunming city.  Both were interesting and fun to visit.  We came away from this trip realizing that these attractions were visited by a lot of Chinese people and that there were a lot of people that traveled and visited places of interest throughout China.  Everywhere we went there were long lines and restaurants and hotels were packed.  Tourists were everywhere.  We were glad to get back to Tianjin after a week of traveling through southern China.

Above the falls was a beautiful garden of bonzi plants and rocks.



Haungguoshu  falls.
video
 Haungguoshu  falls.
 
We are on our way to walk behind the falls.

You can see all the people walking on the trail behind the falls.

The people on the trail to the falls.

From behind the falls.
  video
 From behind the falls.
From behind the falls.
The trail and a rainbow.

The other side of the falls.

From the restaurant where we had lunch after walking behind the falls.

The Stone Forest.

The Stone Forest.

The Stone Forest.

The Stone Forest.
video
  The Stone Forest.
The Stone Forest.

The Stone Forest.

The Stone Forest.

Instructions at the beginning of our walk through The Stone Forest.
Our entertainment on the bus after our walk through the stone forest.
video