Today was a public holiday in Singapore, which means an extra day off! Yet another benefit to living in such a multicultural country is that you get days off for other cultures holidays. Today was Deepavali, which is a Hindu holiday celebrated on the New Year of the Hindu lunar calender. There are a few different stories about why it is celebrated. One about one of their gods returning after 14 years of banishment, one about one of their gods defeating an evil king/demon, and one about a god lifting a mountain to protect the people from a massive rain storm. The holiday is generally celebrated by hanging lots of lights (Deepavali literally means "rows of lights"), fireworks, and a big feast. In Little India, an area in Singapore, they had tons of lights hung up that we went to see, and the Indian maintenance crew at our school cooked us a MASSIVE traditional Indian meal. It was fantastic!
So we just finished our first quarter! This was an exciting mile-mark, as it has felt like a whole semester already, but I am still enjoying the job so no complaints from here! The end of the quarter was marked with teacher work days to get report cards finalized, parent teacher conferences (I had roughly 40 separate conferences!), and also the annual school Carnival.
The Carnival was a BLAST! Most of the students came with their families and brought friends that didn't go to the school; it was a good time. There were all kinds of different games and activities going on all day. They had a competition to see how many kernels of corn you could pick up with chop sticks and drop into a water bottle in a minute (I challenged some of my Asian students thinking I had developed my skills to a high enough level, but I was beaten), they had face painting, blowdart shooting, a photo booth with different costumes, they had food, drinks, and much more. However, the highlight of the Carnival was the Dunk Tank. Different teachers took shifts sitting in the Dunk Tank, but as soon as my shift began, a mob of middle school students came running to the Dunk Tank to try and dunk me and they were quite good at it too! It was all a lot of fun though.
Oh! There was also a Middle School dodgeball tournament and the teams were allowed one teacher on the team if they wanted, so I got to play, and of course we won! The Carnival was a great end to a great first quarter.
One of the MANY times I got dunked!
They had a "jail" and you could pay $1 to put students in jail...this was payback :)
One of my 6th graders in the school-wide talent show. She got 2nd!!
One of my 8th graders playing guitar in the talent show
Winning the dodgeball tourny
Many of my students volunteered to work at a booth. Here are some hard at work
It has been a lot of fun living in a country that actually watches and likes rugby! With the World Cup of Rugby going on I have gotten a few coworkers interested in it, and we have been going just about every weekend to watch the games at this Irish Pub. It is usually a packed house and tons of fun! I had adopted South Africa as my team (even purchased an authentic jersey), but they are now out so France is my team! Go FRANCE!
Seeing as how teaching has really been the only thing that I have been up to lately, I figured I would post about one of the things we did in my class recently. In Ancient World History we were learning about the Ancient Egyptians, and you can't teach the Egyptians without covering mummies. I wanted to do something that would stick with the students, something fun, and something they wouldn't forget...so I decided that we would actually mummify something! It being frowned upon to bury one of my students (despite how tempting it may be) I had to come up with another option, and I decided on a chicken. What is even cooler is that in Asia you can buy chickens from the grocery store with the heads and feet still on!!! So in class we spent a week devoted to mummifying our chicken (I even had the kids name the chicken and write obituaries for it). Another day the class made mummy masks using plaster gauze (used for casts by doctors) to mold the students faces, thanks to my roommate and a generous donation from his hospital. That day was a little stressful as I was running around the room making sure the students could all still breathe and were not dying under my supervision, but it turned out well and the students had a lot of fun. The mummification turned out to be a success, and the chickens are currently buried in our schools garden waiting to be dug up on an undetermined date (probably on a day when I have nothing planned and am at a loss of what else to do). Here are some pictures from the class:
Student making a mummy mask
Final product of the mummy masks
Our dead chicken
This is how they were buried. It was important to bury the mask with the mummy because this is supposedly how the spirit will recognize the body in the afterlife.