Entries from October 2008 ↓

Happy Hai’lloween!!… Thriller Style!!

Sooooo for school, we’ve got this annual Halloween Activity thing for all students in the International Program.

How It Works:

  • 6 Foreign Teachers are to each conceptualize a Halloween Activity.
  • All students of the International Division are divided into 6 groups (their House League groups).
  • Day of Celebrations: Students and teachers alike are encouraged to wear a costume, and each House League group of students rotate from one room to the next, per Foreign Teacher/Halloween Activity room.
  • The final rooms consisted of: (1) “Face Painting” led by a Pirate, (2) “Drawing on Pumpkins” led by Dora the Explorer, (3) “Finger Puppets” led by a Nerd and Scary Little Red Riding Hood, (4) “Scary Stories” led by a Robot, (5) “Gooey Food Concoctions” led by a Mad Scientist, and (6)………………… “Michael Jackson’s Thriller Room” (music video and dance) led by ……who else, but yours truly, as a Boombox!

First off, I have to say, this had to be the MOST stressful and time-crunched week! On top of my already insane 26 lesson-week, we had to create our midterm exams that are to be administered next week……and I had soooo many friggin tech problems with just getting the downloaded music video to play on the prompter in the classroom. (But that is an ENTIRELY SEPARATE story in itself.)

Anyway, at the very last minute, I was saved when I popped into a cd store, the night before showday, and was able to very luckily, find a cd/dvd combo pack of good ol’ MJ that included the Thriller video. But I was not done yet!… I had NO COSTUME!! And if you think getting a costume in the States is stressful, try doing it in China!!  I literally MADE MY COSTUME ON THE MORNING OF the day of celebrations. I worked on the thing in between my classes and skipped lunch for it. Oh, and inspiration came as duh…… I’m playing the music video and going to teach the kids the Thriller Dance…. I couldn’t find a box to fit me as an ipod….so I went old school on the kids, and turned myself into a boombox! What can I say? I was on a Creative Crunch!!!!! But it turned out superb!!

So, ya’ll better enjoy this!!

Introducing: Boombox

Starring: Me

If you look closely, you can see I pulled a plug from a real radio, and made a little home for it in the back of my costume. Thennnn, on the side, I made 3 insertion holes for “Line, Mic and Stereo”. I borrowed a co-workers’ big set of headphones and wore it on the day of, with the wire plugged into “Line.” :-) Knobs, buttons… the whole sha-bang!…. Plus! A real cassette, taped on the front!!  It’s kinda nifty to think what you can do with just a plain ol’ box, colored construction paper and some foil!!

The cd that saved my Halloween Activity Concept!!

Welcome to The Thriller Room…..<insert Evil Laugh>

The kids watch and and get a little skurred…

And now onto The Thriller Dance! I had two dancer-students from the 9th grade help me with choreographing the little ones….

My favorite costumes…. Woody from Toy Story (my little Johnny in 1st grade, sooooooo adorable!!) and The Incredibles Boy (George from 2nd grade, who I taught over the summer…. cutie!)

And now the best part….. is a little video clip of the little monsters dancing to Thriller!  aka Organized Chaos! LOL! Enjoy!  :-)

. . don’t burn the day. .

What If The World Could Vote?

The Economist has opened up the vote to its readers worldwide to see who’d be the next US president if the whole world could vote. China, as it turns out, is “strong Obama” — 83% of respondents here voted Obama and 17% McCain. With more than 10,000 votes cast, it looks like the whole world is voting overwhelmingly in Obama’s favor. When last checked, 9,120 votes went to Obama while McCain managed 270 votes, defeating his opponent with a small margin in such enlightened states as Cuba, Congo, Sudan, Algeria, Namibia and Macedonia. Iraq turned out to be the only “strong McCain” constituency (thanks to all his military buddies).

Hmph, anyway… just some food for thought…. as we all tick, tick, tick away!

. . don’t burn the day. .

i rOcked the vOte!

at last! after weeks Of hOunding my lOcal precinct tO ensure that they had received, prOcessed and sent Out my absentee ballOt tO me here in the ‘hai …. (and I will admit, despite the fact that it had worked fOr me back in 2000 when i absentee’d frOm italy,  I still questiOned my ballOt arriving in my hands, On time, this time arOund — especially being in a cOuntry where EVERYTHING via pOstal is clOsely examined)…. my ballOt arrived On my desk tOday!!

i rejOiced! i cOuldn’t believe my eyes. i felt like lil’ charlie bucket winning the gOlden ticket frOm willy wOnka! i was sO nervOus at first, triple-checking the names On the ballOt. but Once fOund, all else was a cOOl breeze…..

One vOte rOcked!…….

sO my dear fellOw americans, if i can carry out my civic duty frOm a land where the 4-letter wOrd that begins with a “v” and ends with an “e” with middle letters of “O” and “t” is nOn-existent, yOu have nO excuse but tO dO yOur part in this year’s electiOn!!!! shOw up tO the bOOths On tuesday, nOvember 4 and vOte!!!!

besides, as yOu can imagine with current headlines being what they are nOwaday, being an american, living abrOad is nO easy task! i cOuld use a little redemptiOn Over here…. pretty, pretty please!

. . dOn’t burn the <electiOn> day. .

Kids Say The Darndest Things

I just HAD to document these for keepsake… Enjoy!


Me: OK, “duck.” This was a Spelling Word for us a few weeks ago. Who can spell duck?

Boy (raises his hand): Oh! I know!

Me: Yes, go ahead, spell “duck.”

Boy: Uhhhh D-I-C-K.

Me: New Spelling Word is shed, s-h-e-d, shed. Who can tell me what “shed” means?

Girl (raises her hand): I know what it is!

Me: What is a shed?

Girl: It is a bad word. Shit.


Me: Let’s review. Who can tell me what a “hen” is?

Boy: It is a girl chicken.

Me: Very good!  Now, here’s a bonus. Who can tell me what a boy chicken is called?

Girl (raises her hand with confidence)

Me: Yes? What do you call a boy chicken?

Girl: A cock!

(Me: OKayyyyyyyyy… There is also another name for a boy chicken, called a rooster!)

. . don’t burn the day. .

To Jumpstart The Week….

I don’t mean to sound pompous, but ummmm… I just had to share this thoughtful note that I had received earlier today, from one of my student’s parents:

Dear Ms. Mimi,

I just want to share my thoughts about the Open House day with you.

I was very impressed with your class. You had the childrens’ attention throughout the whole lesson. You were serious, but at the same time, you made it very interesting and even funny at times. I can see why Alex is so happy to be with you. He is very, very interested to learn and do the English homework and I think it is because of you. I have been in several Open House lessons (my other son is in Grade 3) and I can say that your lesson was the best I´ve ever attended. It has been a big relief to see that Alex is in very good hands. Thank you.

Mmmmmm Hmmmm!  Ya know, in all the headaches and dramatics of the day, notes like these, smiles from the kiddos and sparkles in their eyes KINDA, DO in fact make up for it all. I’m already pretty amazed with the progress of these little beings…and we haven’t even hit midterms yet!

Then, on another note – I just spent the last two hours on the frickin’ phone with Netgear to troubleshoot my wireless issue. (If ya think internet problems are awful in the States, try troubleshooting in a different country!) Boy oh boy!… But in the end…. I got it to work. I’m still grumbling and grumpy over the whole thing, especially over the uselessness of a particular being with whom I share sleeping quarters with, but that is a whole other discussion in itself.

With that said, we are closer to me sharing my Inner Mongolia flicks! I know I keep promising, but they will come!

. . don’t burn the day. .

Got My Steak n’ Potatoes!!!

Where there’s a Will, there’s a Way!

Last weekend, I got me my s n’ p meal in the swanky area of Xintiandi…(I feel like I’m in Europe whenever I walk through this area.)

About Xintiandi:

Near the site of the First Conference of the Communist Party of China, Xintiandi (means “New Heaven and Earth”) is a car-free, shopping, eating and entertainment area of Shanghai. Composed of an area of restored traditional shikumen (“stone gate”) houses on narrow alleys, a modern shopping mall with a cinema complex, and some adjoining houses which now serve as book stores, (indoor/outdoor) cafes and restaurants,  art stores – Xintiandi is considered one of the first lifestlye centers in China.


. . don’t burn the day. .

From the Boogie Down B’Town to the ‘Hai!

My first familar-face visitors!!  I know I am slacking on the Inner Mongolia flicks, but that’s due to yet another hiccup – namely, our wireless router died on us the day AFTER I returned from my trip. Sooooo, consequently, the uploading process to an online gallery has suffered.

But! While I’m getting that sorted, I want to take this opp to share some photos of what really topped off my trip. Immediately upon touching down in Shanghai from huts, grassland and desert-living, I scooted out of my apartment to meet up with my of my bestest friends (since high school days) as she and her fam were visiting the ‘Hai!  It was perfect timing!

Here we are at a grand dinner at Shanghai Uncle:

The C Fam…

Then, we hit the Bund for some “At Night Shots!”

In this trip, Kristin topped all birthday celebrations by celebrating it in 3 different countries in one day: China, Japan and US (Hawaii)!!  Happy Birthday again! GREATTTTTT seeing you babe!

. . don’t burn the day. .

1st is the Worst, 2nd is the BEST!

We have this thing called House League at the school, which encourages the entire student body of the International Division, regardless of grade level, to get to know each other and work with each other via various activities. House League is comprised of six teams, each with a mascot. I was handed to lead Team Tigers. First task = come up with a cheer and be able to meet and teach the cheer to my team of 32 students ranging from 1st to 8th graders within an approx. 30min time frame. (As if I didn’t have enough work to do, in my regular day-to-day.) But anyway, with only a couple days to stir up a cheer, my creative juices eventually boiled up:


Fighters are we!


Better than all the rest!

See our jaw,

Hear us roar!


See our claws,

Watch us soar!



Hey man, I was never a cheerleader…but I’ve always been cheered for :-P   So, on that account, I think I did pretty good. Now of course, the other part of it is to also teach something coordinate’able for all student levels to be able to remember and execute. (30 minutes. I had 30 minutes to teach this thing, people!!) Though the pictures below don’t do me any justice (I handed my camera to a colleague)….. my cheer was actually pretty fresh … that involved a huge orange bedsheet….jawing and clawing, roaring and soaring…  I mean…if you put tigers and a bedsheet together… how can ya lose?

Then a good ol’ game of tug-of-war… You can find me coaching my little tiggers in the orange head-scarf…

In the end though, we racked up points to take home 2nd place trophy, boasting #1 in Creativity. Why not the whole sha-bang? Well, we’ll just leave that off for another off-record discussion. :-)

. . don’t burn the day. .

Falling For My Cherubs

OK, I just had a great week with my kiddos..and I just needed to share!  I am one proud teacher right now!  The first 7 weeks have been quite an adjustment for all… parents, students and well, teachers alike. Just as not all parents are the same… not all students are the same… and when the kids are difficult to crack and/or the parents are being stupid and/or they don’t jive with the curriculum and/or get with the program, then headaches arise. However, despite some hiccups with a few students, the success rate for turn-around has been close to a perfect score! :-)

Speaking of perfect score, I conducted my first major exams in English Language Arts, Science and Social Studies this past week…. and was SMILING uncontrollably while correcting the tests. You see, while parents and students are pissing their pants over taking the tests… I as the teacher had a thumping heart as well; I mean, afterall, it is a reflection of my ability to educate these little people. But I’ll spare the suspense and say I felt OH SO PROUD OF MY LITTLE ONES! Even the students who were deemed a bit more challenged scored higher than I could’ve imagined!  And no, there was no way they could’ve cheated (I’m way too smart to allow anything close to that happening in my classroom), and the exam itself was no easy-breeze. Subject matters included: What is a Sentence, Sentence Structure, Word Order, Statements, Punctuations, Parts of a Book, Question Words, Personal Narratives, What Being Special Means, Feelings, Heart, Love, How to Care for Others, Having Talents, Body Parts, Use of Hands and Legs, Protecting Your Body, Private Parts and Five Senses…. Yeah!! A helluva lot for little munchkins, when you think about it… But all of my students did remarkably well! I am convinced my students will all be geniuses by the time I get through with them!  Better yet, my hubby (whoever the lucky lad may be) and my very own kids (someday) should be ready for some wizard-esque world domination. :-)

On top of that….. my kids are cracking me up more and more by the day. As they have gotten used to “what school is all about” and also my ways, I’ve also lightened up a tad to really just let out full out chuckles when one of my students really say the darndest thing! (The general rule is to not smile during the first month of teaching, to let the kids know who’s boss…. I think I passed on that one!  You can ask my students who’ve had detention with me.. HA!) I was also forewarned that I will fall in love with my kids at some point…and I think, the time has come.

Last Friday, we had “Open House”  – parents were invited to attend and observe class. I received some great, positive remarks including.. “My wife and I were very impressed. I was sitting there thinking, if I were a schoolboy, I would really be interested in your class!” HA!  And the only thing that my Dean could keep repeating, was my passionate way of teaching. Damn skippy! I’m passionate when I put my mind to something. Ya’ll know that… so just imagine me lesson planning and teaching. Passion-mania. And now, as I admit that I’ve fallen for lil’ ones, I’ll be the first to kick ass if someone messes with one of my own. :-)

Check ‘em out in the full uniforms…

Class 1: Silly faces and Spelling Bee!

and Class 2: Just being silly!

. . don’t burn the day. .

Bug World With My Little Boogers

Some time in mid/late September, we had our very first field trip… to the Insect Museum

Find Ms. Mimi!….

. . don’t burn the day. .