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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Dried sea creatures and teaching fail/win

While I stick to simply fruits and veggies at the market, there are a variety of products I'd never buy but love looking at. Tanks of fish, eels and other assorted sea creatures are everywhere and it's interesting to see a bucket of squirming eels dumped into a black plastic bag and carted away, presumably to make that night's family dinner. You can't beat the freshness!

Live fish isn't the only option, though. For all your snacking needs, the grocery store offers a variety of dried fish and squid.


To be fair, I've never tried any of these surely scrumptious products. The general appearance of a dried-out squid and imagining salty, flaky, crunchy sensation in my mouth immediately puts me off. You can also find these in the snack aisle at 7-11, nestled snugly between Pringles and cans of silkworm larvae.

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I wasn't lying last week when I claimed to be the worst science teacher ever. Here are some of my students with their solar system models. The girls strived for size and color accuracy while boys turned science class into art class.

Hey, points for creativity -- an eyeball planet and a sun that reminds me of a circus tent.



One lesson I did manage to teach this week -- although not in science class, natch -- was about processed foods. We have around 120 middle school students taking a 3-week intensive ESL program and I'm lucky to have one of the highest-level teams, meaning actual conversations are possible. Monday to Friday, 2-3 hours a day, we work on communication, reading and writing, with a different theme every day.

Yesterday's reading was about "salt secrets" and the dangers of processed foods. Of course I turned this short article into an hour-long discussion about organics, clean eating and what the heck that meat on a stick is. The kids tried to defend the unidentifiable meat but... seriously?


I was happy that in the course of the discussion, and their subsequent homework assignment, all of the kids professed to having changed their opinions about processed foods and would now work to avoid them. Most of it was surely an effort to suck up to the teacher but maybe they'll at least take a second to consider the options next time they're heading to lunch at Lotteria or stocking up on snacks.

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It always surprises me that Korean men are so comfortable being affectionate with each other. I'm talking everyone from 7-year-old boys to middle-aged men walking down the sidewalk holding hands. Then again, this is a country where men carry purses -- or is it a murse?

This boy was literally leaping out of his seat to volunteer in Clothing Store class and chose the outfit himself.