Monthly Archives: August 2013

Science Week 3

This was a couple of weeks ago now, but I’ve been hectic since and this is the first chance ive had to upload photos and write! Science week was at the end of August. As I knew this was the last one i would be doing with the students I wanted to make it special and put lots of effort into thinking of things the student could make, rather than watch me at the front demonstrating something to them and thats how I decided on these experiments.


My year 4s learnt how to make Hoop Gliders. They fly better than a paper aeroplane and are really simple to make. I thought the students would be super quick making them so that we could spend the rest of the lesson outside throwing them and hitting targets. But no, there were 3 strips of card and the students took most of the lesson decorating the card. All you need is 3 strips of card (5 inches long, 1 inch wide) a straw, and tape. Curl one bit of card into a small circle and tape it. Make the other two into a big circle and tape it. Then tape the small hoop at the bottom of the straw, and the bigger at the top of the straw. Voila, you have a hoop glider. It takes about 5 minutes to make unless you want to decorate or unless the students struggle putting tape on (some of mine did!)


Here are the picture of my classes throwing the gliders at me!


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My Pratom 5s had more of an activity week rather than strictly science but the activities i followed were in a science book! For the first lesson the students made a guitar from a shoe box, old pens and elastic bands. It was super easy and taught them about high or low pitch, depending what size pen was used. For the second lesson they made a basic harmonica. All you need is more straws, card and double sided tape. They put the tape on the card then lined up all the straws and then cut the bottom diagonally so that when you blow into the straw different pitched sounds can be heard. I had a fantastic eureka moment with one class who finished early. So i made them put all the harmonicas the same way round and had them copy my tune. At the end i made them put all the tunes together and we made a sort of melody. I think its possibly the first time teaching that every single student knew what to do and did it in time. It felt fantastic! Didn’t sound half bad either…


Was too busy making melodies to take photos so here is a drawing instead.

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For the year 6s they were instructed to make mini water turbines in groups. This was not simple to make and needed a lot of stationary and parts! Including; big water bottle, 6 screw top lids from bottles, a heated glue gun, 2 discs of plastic, a knife, 30cm wire and strong waterproof tape. Also a bucket for the water to run into.


The students started by giving the disks of plastic and the lids to to the teachers who put hot glue on, then they were able to set them out they way they wanted to make a functioning wheel. A pin was then used to make a hole to thread the wire through. The wire was then bent to hold the wheel in place and taped to the bottle. A knife was used to make a hole in the bottle for water to pour through.


Some of the experiments worked and some didn’t. It was better if the hole was lower because then the water had more pressure on it and would come out faster and hit the wheel stronger and turn it. Most students had to keep the water flowing from the tap to get it to work correctly and a few broke the wheels. I also gave them the option of making the plastic disks smaller. These worked better as the less weight meant it was easier to turn with little water falling onto it.


Once again didn’t get a photo so here’s another drawing.

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Past tense postcards

This is a really enjoyable consolidation lesson for students who have done a topic on simple past tense verbs (regular and irregular verbs.)

I started the lesson off with a mind map on the board and asked students to put their hands up and tell me all the activities they like to do on holiday! For Thai students sunbathing is a complete nono, they want to keep light coloured skin. Also amongst the suggestions were “Study English, do homework etc” but tried to steer them into vocab such as “make sandcastles, go snorkelling, go swimming.”


Then I went round the class and the students took it in turns to change the verbs into past tense. I also reminded them of “It is” becomes “It was.” I then taught the students how to write a simple informal letter – ie a postcard.

Dear Mum and Dad,

Wish you were here!

Miss you.

Lots of Love,


Also explaining that in the UK we use “x” to mean kisses, which sent the class into giggles.

Students wrote full sentences in their books as a mock postcard, then when corrected they copied it onto actual postcards to keep and give to their parents. If they had time they decorated it too. This class also decorated it for homework (without me even asking) and bought them in next lesson to show me and get more stickers!

The first 2 are from the basic level of Year 5 and the rest are from Kings class (advanced.)

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The one below is from Phat, my A*student. He got 100% in all his exams this term. Can you see why? (He doesn’t like colouring, so no pretty pictures but the English is great!)


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10,000 Monks in Hat Yai


This ceremony takes place every year in Hat Yai, when 10,000 monks from 10 Asian countries come to visit to collect Alms from people and practice Buddhism. It was the first time in Hat Yai (that I have experienced)  commentary not only in Thai but English and Malay too, emphasising what an international event this was.

It was held on Sunday 18th August on Sai 3 road in the centre of Hat Yai, which was closed to traffic all morning. It is advertised as starting at 6am, but we got there at about 7am and the procession of Monks start walking down the lines around 8am. However if you go next year, go early and you’ll get a good spot near the front. We were lucky and were able to sit on the floor very close to the procession.



Photos above taken from

The reason for giving alms is for merit making in the Buddhist religion. (I’m not an expert, but I believe this allows for better karma in future lives.)

[Below is adapted from] 

Here are the rules to follow;

  1. Wear white, or at least a white shirt. You will look stupid and stand out if you don’t, everyone is in white, except the Monks in orange.
  2. Offer only dried food and make sure packs of rice are sealed.
  3. Don’t donate money straight to the Monk, but give it in at the stations around, where it can be kept safe.
  4. Be respectful, let the people in front of you offer their alms first, then move back to let others through once you have placed your Alm in the Monks bowl.
  5. Have happy thoughts when giving the Alms.


The reasons people offer Alms to the Monks;


  1. You will live a long life with nice skin and be happy and healthy.
  2. You will be rich and prosperous.
  3. You will be reborn into a Buddhist country in your next life.
  4. You will attain Dhamma easily.


I’m not Buddhist so I went to see lots of Monks and be part of the traditions and do my good deed of the day by offering Alms. It was funny, I was so interested in the Monks, as they walked along before the alms were offered I found myself taking many photos, and in some cases the Monks were just as intrigued with me, a farang (foreigner.) I saw 2 monks walking along taking photos of me too, one with an iphone and another on camera, but i think he was recording the crowd in general. I think the pictures explain more than words can but for me it was great to be part of something so nice, and worth getting up early for!

My photos; Rowenna, myself and Linda waiting for the Monks to arrive.



The start, all the Monks walking to line up!


Older Monks.. see he’s taking a photo of me!


Young Monks

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The End; the Monks receiving the Alms, which the Cadet boys then rounded up and put into big trucks to help feed the poor.




Categories: Exploring Thailand, Festivals | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Sports Day at Srisawangvong School

Sports day here is a big deal and though the sports are important, it’s also the procession and opening ceremony that are exciting to watch too.

During the week, since I work at a private school, no English lessons were cancelled (Many other schools, mainly local ones, closed for 2 or 3 days for sports day preparations.) However students were constantly taken out of my lessons to run races, sew costumes together and learn dances.

Sports Day at Srisawangvong School was held on a Saturday and we were told to be at school for 7.30am. I was a bit disgruntled at having to be up so early on my day off until I got there and realised most of the students had been told earlier times than us and had probably been up since 4am having makeup, hair and costumes done! DSCN8423


When we arrived at school the students were being put into order of the convoy that would be walking from the school to the stadium that was about a 20 minute walk away. Bearing in mind it was 8am by this time, it was already boiling hot and most of the girls had such elaborate costumes on with high heels and some batton twirling that this was not an easy task. Also the parade was very long, with all the students involved and teachers and parents too.


The 4 school team colours were purple, orange, green and pink. Bright colours and to me the school looked like a walking packet of skittles. Students had been creative and made costumes and banners and flags and posters relating to their teams. So for example team Green held up banners promoting recycling and the girls were dressed up with huge peacock feather head dresses.

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Many of the boys were in the band at the front who drummed the beat that everyone marched along to whilst policemen shut off half the road so it was safe for everyone to join in with the parade. The English teachers were asked to join the end of the parade, and whilst some did I got on my scooter and went round to the stadium so I could catch everyone coming in.

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When the parade got to the stadium they marched around the track then onto the field, where they stood for over an hour as the Opening ceremony began. Everyone rose as the Kings anthem played and the Thai flag was put up. Then the Mayor of Hat Yai did a speech and one of my students ran round the track with a lit baton and set the huge bowl at the top of the stadium alight. It was honestly like a mini Olympics! Unfortunately 2 hours or more in the heat with no water was too much for some of the students and 6 of them fainted throughout the opening and were taken to Medic room. Following this the Anubans (nursery students) took over the field and did a dance with ASEAN flags, that was just adorable, and then all the Pratoms (Primary) children did a dance too, which was also great! DSCN8500


After the Opening ceremony finished the students made their way to the seats so they could sit in their colours, once again drumming and singing began as they got excited for the races and prize givings, willing their teams to win. Also there were cheerleaders for the teams all dressed up and doing dance routines too. It was very festive and energetic.

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Finally at about 10am the games began, starting with a sack relay race, as students passed the sack to their parents and then the teachers. I think team Purple won this one and there was a long time spent giving out medals and posing on the podium.

Shortly after this we left as by this time the heat was crazy and my face was already burnt red but it was a fabulous colourful morning!


Photos of the parade below;

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Photos of the Cheerleaders below;
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Ko Yo Photo Essay

Ko Yo is a sleepy little fishing island about 40km from Hat Yai. To reach it you must drive over the longest concrete bridge in Thailand at 2.6km. The oddest thing about the island are the many houses on stilts out in the sea. These are mainly restaurants (famous for they’re fresh just-caught-this-morning seafood) and homestays. Wooden (wobbly and creaking) platforms lead the way across the water, past fisherman nets and boats to the little homes.


We met some locals who were waiting for the fish to come in, so we sat with them awhile and had an ice cream then wandered round the island. Some of the homestays are adorable looking and painted in bright colours and others look like they are about to collapse but I think that was the charm of this village.

As Karen is leaving Thailand we wanted to see more and her Thai friend offered to drive and show us this island so I used it as a way to practice photography that I haven’t done in a long time!

House on stilts


Fisherman with fish


Weighing the catch


Loading the fish into the truck


Nets for fishing


Wooden walkway


View from land


Abandoned boat


Boat repair shop



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Me being silly with a net, but behind you can see the colourful home stays!


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Science week 2

Another month has flown by already and I’ve just finished my second Science week. I toned down the craziness for this month but we still had fun and the students were still excited!


My Pratom 6’s are away in Malaysia at an English camp this week, so I’ve had 8 less hours to teach which was nice! It also means I only had to prepare science week lessons for years 4 and 5.


Since Pratom 4 have just finished a topic on food, I decided to go with that theme and we did taste testing and locating taste buds. For the first lesson I taught them other adjectives to describe food ( At the moment it’s mainly delicious, or occasionally tasty.) So I taught them creamy, minty, fruity, greasy, bland, salty, sweet, sour, bitter and spicy. Then as a class they thought of foods to go in each column.


Each class ran the same way so for the day of testing I got the students to run through the list again, just putting hands up and shouting out answers, then picked a volunteer. He/She had to test 3 different liquids and describe them to me. Before I started I checked they weren’t allergic to anything nor minded having a blindfold on.


Then I fed them “creamy” “spicy” and “minty” liquids. This was milk, chillies in water and then toothpaste in water. The students thought it was hilarious when the volunteer had to swallow the spicy mixture, and again when they found out the blue liquid was toothpaste!

The rest of the students then got into groups and were given salty water (water and salt dissolved) Sweet water (water with sugar dissolved) sour water (with lemon juice) and bitter which ended up being strong tea. They were given toothpicks and had to test the water and say what each were, as well as colour in a diagram of tastebuds on the tongue.


Here’s the sciency part, or “fun facts” that I didn’t know until I researched the topic! Sweet and salty tastebuds are located on the tip of your tongue. Sour to the sides and bitter at the back. Girls have more tastebuds that boys, and usually there are over 10,000 in your mouth.


The kings class jokingly asked me if the salty water was from the sea and I told them yes, that I had collected it that morning from Songkhla. Their little faces were so cute with confusion, trying to work out if I was joking or not. Then a girl asked if there had been oil in it (Earlier this week there was an oil spill that damaged Koh Samet, an island nearish Bangkok, more info here I told her I scooped it out before they tasted it! I think she realised I was kidding….


For the Pratom 5s we focused on eyesight and used a Snellen Chart to test their eyes .(The chart with the letters that get smaller and smaller.) I taught the students how to make their own one on a piece of A4 paper. The first line of letters is 4.5cm tall, second 3.1cm, third 2.2, fourth 1.8cm, fifth 1.3cm, sixth 0.9cm and seventh 0.7cm. I told them they could pick random letters or spell out words, but that the first line should have one lettter, the second two and so on, as well as leaving gaps between the lines. Once measured out they filled in the letters with black markers. I made them swap charts with friends then stand twenty feet away and try to read each others. If they can read the bottom line then they have twenty twenty vision. Most of my students could not read that line, as most people have twenty ten vision. Also students that had glasses on took them off and tried to read it (most got to the second or third line then gave up) then they put them back on and could usually read the rest. Good to know their glasses are working!


Also in my kings class one student chose the letter “W T F” to start their Snellen chart with. Bearing in mind he’s 11 and in Thailand I giggled to myself and gave him the benefit of the doubt and walked on, not saying anything. About 2 minutes later though I hear “What the F***” shouted by his friend back at him – so his friend obviously knew what he had written!

My Pratom 6s don’t have science week but starting monday they are learning about the Solar System as a full topic of 3 weeks so this should be interesting.

Didn’t get many photos this week, I was too busy teaching…

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Categories: Teaching - Science Week, Teaching Thailand- Private School | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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