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Meet the Cranes! One crane for every student in my class. Since then, I have added two more to my flock bringing the count to 82 for this first autumn term. Back in 7th grade, my Earth Sciences teacher, Mr. Mirandette, had this project for his 7th graders where everyone would choose an element from the periodic table and get to create one atom of their element using whatever materials they wanted. He took pictures of us holding our elements (mine was Xenon atomic #54 – tell me why I still remember this) and placed our pictures up on nails with the rest of his past 7th graders to form an entire layout of the periodic table of elements composed of his 7th graders and their atoms. He then gave you your picture encased in its protective shell upon your graduation from high school. I’ve always really admired this aspect of his class. Now, my picture hangs as an ornament on our pine tree every Christmas. This was the inspiration for the CRANES. My students shall receive their personalized crane upon completing the term and my class.

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For the kids back home: As you lay asleep each night, be comforted by the glow of the stars above. Let this be the inspiration for your dreams to soar through the vast space of the universe. Allow each star to shine as a unique example of the differences and difficulties we may encounter on our path. Know that, as they shine, they shed insight onto the benefits they can bring to our lives. Whenever you seek answers, try staying awake underneath the star-glow a little longer allowing their presence to alight upon you and your troubles. Sometimes the best answers come without words, but a feeling.

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In Chungdahm, the class schedule is very tight. There’s a lot to cover in the three hours of every class and it seems like they’re always adding things. I’m still trying to find little ways to make the classes my own and more engaging with the students. The more advanced the class, the better I am at coming up with interesting videos and activities to do with them. The hardest part are the kids who are in levels higher than their language proficiency is. One of the hardest parts about becoming a teacher that I’ve discovered is dealing with the feeling of trying to teach to a wall and trying to turn that wall into a student. With all the difficulties and business of class, we do find the time to stop and have a little bit of fun every now and again. Meet Margaret… she’s into those caricatures and apparently she thinks I have a large, funny and pointy nose.

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