Classroom Decorating

The start of a new school year in March brought with it a few big changes in the world of teaching. First of all, I got two new co-teachers, as one of my previous co-teachers had to leave the school and the other one wanted to switch to teaching homeroom. Thankfully, my two new co’s are very friendly and kind. I also switched to primarily teaching 6th grade, three times a week, with one day of 4th grade too.

I’ve also found my role in the classroom significantly diminished, which basically means I don’t get to plan as much and have less responsibility to prepare materials. Which means I have a bit more time on my hands at work. I’ve also found that the more I get used to teaching, the easier lesson planning gets. So this semester I’ve had a lot more free time on my hands.

All of this free time has gone into classroom decorating.

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This is The Point Board, for grades 3 and 4. The students are divided into teams, and compete for points throughout the class. Fourth grade is ridiculously competitive. When they were in third grade, the Korean English teacher would give stamps that added up to coupons. Coupons could be exchanged for candy, or they could be used in class as a sort of “trump card” to automatically get to answer a question, no matter who else was raising their hand. All of the students were constantly using coupons in class. So basically, they were competing for coupons to use to get more coupons to use to get more coupons…not adding up to anything. I figured they would tire of that eventually, but the students have brought it back this year in 4th grade, introducing the convoluted system to their new Korean English teacher! I would think by the end of the year, they’ll have some higher expectations in the terms of rewards…


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This is 6th grade’s version. Team 3 is the winner! Team 1 was misbehaving and has to stay after class to clean the classroom. :P


Teachers' Office door decor
This is the door to the office I share with my co-teacher. The sign was her idea. But I was quite pleased with how it turned out.


At the start of the semester in March and April, I was incredibly ambitious with decorating for each unit in the text book. The English center has a big fuzzy board that didn’t get used at all my first few months here, and I was determined to put it to use. So my co-teacher and I put together some rather elaborate wall displays…


Teaching directions
Lesson 2: Is this York Street?


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When’s your birthday?


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Mine’s August 27th.


Now that 6th grade has three days of English class a week instead of two, there’s actually a bit of time to do some fun stuff beyond the text book. For lesson 3 “I like Spring,” the students made mini season books. In these pictures you can get a glimpse of the students’ English level…which is not very high. But some of their books were really pretty.

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Our display space.

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Every 6th grade English class in the city of Ulsan has a one-time trip to the local “English Experience Center,” where they have 2 hours of unique English classes. Last year, my job on these days was to lead groups of students through basic everyday life sort of dialogues. It was nothing short of a nightmare, with students trying to run away, beat each other up, destroy the school’s props and go to sleep on the floor while I tried to get them through dialogues far beyond their level that none of them could read. In hindsight, I probably should’ve created some material more suited to their level. Oh well…

Crazy Animals!

Luckily, this year things were different. I was given 40 minutes to do whatever I wanted with the students in the classroom. The school provided a Powerpoint and activity about ants, but I decided it would be more fun to do a class about strange-looking animals. I tried to focus more on the evolutionary aspect, like why the animals looked the way they did, and what purpose their odd traits served in their survival. Which was a bit difficult to do in English with some of the classes. After looking at several strange-looking animals, the students had to design their own. They had some really cool creations! Overall, I thought it was quite fun.

The class was called “Crazy Animals”, because I knew crazy was a word the students would recognize. I felt if I used “weird” or “strange” not all of them would understand, and I wanted to have everyone together on the same page at least for the subject of the class.

6th grade students' invented animals
A lot of students drew animals that ate people…

Help me! NO!
Help me! NO! – drawn by the sweetest, shyest little girl

This is the "Kiss Dog." It has big lips so it can kiss people.
The Kiss Dog. It has big mouth so it can kiss for person. It live in a Africa.

It's delicious!
It’s delicious!


One last thing – a prepositions picture I put together for 4th grade. I realize the perspective is far from perfect, which is rather unfortunate for a lesson on prepositions, and the position of the box/Spongebob are debatable. But I’m still into it:

The robot is in the bed. The glove is on Obama's hand.
The robot is in the bed. The doll is under the sofa. The glove is on Obama’s hand.


I’m kind of hoping some of these classroom decorations outlast my time at the school, so I can leave behind a bit of a “legacy”…but if not that’s all right too, they’re serving a purpose now. To help the students. Not just to keep me busy in the afternoons. Really…

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