Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Winter English Camp 2013

Part of my contract to teach English is that I have to do two English camps each year (summer and winter). In order to work around student commitments I squashed what is normally a 2 week schedule into a single week and ran both morning and afternoon classes. 

Some teachers give their camp a theme and focus on a different area of the theme each day of camp. I was fresh out of good ideas, so I just picked 5 different daily themes and ran with that. The students seemed to like it, so I'm calling it a win. 

First day we played some introduction games and made team flags. 

And here are the flags for my morning class. Team names are "Tower Dive", "Team Xtreme", "The Smart" and "Fluro".

The second day of camp had a travel theme, so for one of the games I decided to make them count Australian money. Jihyeon and I spent a couple of hours counting piles of money for me to use in the game the next day, only for me to run out of time and not play the game. Oh well. I'll keep this in the bag for summer camp :). 

First game of the travel day was travel domino's. I was a little worried about this game because I thought it was really boring, but the students really seemed to enjoy it and did it properly. Basically they had to match related travel words (i.e. "Railway" and "Station" make "Railway Station") and get rid of all their cards first. In their book they had a look-up table to help them match words. 

In the afternoon we pretended we were stuck on a deserted island and had to explain how to use different items to survive. This activity had mixed results.

Day 3 was a cooking day. First game of the day was kitchen verb charades. This was lots of fun and students loved it.

The second game we played was.... "The return of spaghetti dictation". I played spaghetti dictation at my summer camp and it was a huge hit. Students were really competitive and participated really well. Unfortunately my students didn't really like the game this time round, so I cut it short and moved onto the next activity.... cooking Lamingtons.  

I was a little unsure how making Lamingtons would go. I could see a lot of potential for it being a very messy activity, but my students followed the instructions well and the end result was Lamingtons that looked and tasted like actual Lamingtons. 

Step 1: Cut the sponge cake in half. 

Step 2: Spread strawberry jam on the sponge cake. 

Step 3: Look confused and call the teacher for help. 

Step 4: Cover the sponge cake in chocolate icing.


Step 5: Now, cover it in coconut powder. 

Step 6: Place the finished Lamington on a tray in the freezing cold hallway to allow the icing to set. 

Step 7: Nom nom nom. 

Next day was a movie day. We watched the original Toy Story movie which most students had not seen. After a little research I found out why... it is almost 20 years old! I felt old that day. After the movie we played a Toy Story quiz game. I was looking forward to this day because it meant I could kick back and relax for most of the lesson, but one of my co-teachers asked me if I could help her proof read a stack of articles for the school's English news paper. :(

On the final day of camp we made catapults from chopsticks and sticky tape. It was probably my least organized day, but it turned out to be the most fun. I was a little surprised at how long it took students to make the catapults, but they eventually got there in the end. 

I set up a huge point board that students had to shoot candy onto. If they landed on the point board I gave them a bonus extra candy and asked them a quiz question. If they got it right I gave them double points. 

I was tearing my hair out getting ready for Summer camp, but I was a little more organized this year. I had some time up my sleeve, so I decided to make up certificates to give to students. I tried to give certificates to pretty much everyone. Certificates were for attendance, being on time, participation, and most stickers. For students with the most stickers, I handed out gold, silver and bronze certificates. My co-teacher didn't print them out until the night before the final day of camp, so during our break we were frantically signing, dating and laminating the certificates. 

It was nice to see how chuffed some of the students were to receive a certificate. First up was my morning class. 

This student was one of my lower level students, but he tries soooo hard in class. I'm super proud of him. His hard work has paid off and his English has improved quite a lot this year. I hope next year he will get placed in one of the advanced English classes. He won the gold medal in my morning class for getting the most stickers. 

And then my afternoon class. 

This student was the star of my afternoon class and won the gold medal for the most stickers. He chose an English name that piqued my interest. He chose Rory Williams, which is one of the Doctor's companions in one of my favourite TV shows; Doctor Who. Turns out he is a massive fan of Doctor Who and watches it without the aid of subtitles. Well done. 

Another successful camp finished ^^.


  1. Hi Phillip, quick question about the catapults. Did you give your students one way to make them or did you let them design and improvise? Thanks, Saree.

    1. Hi. I just gave them one way to design the catapult as I felt they would waste too much time if I let them do whatever they wanted. My goal was to think of a fun way for them to use English rather than develop their Engineering skills :)