Blog post from Art Relief Interational's arts-based English Camp at Wat Ku Kam Municipality School with the American International School of Dubai
For the first time--as long as we can remember--Art Relief International* held its largest event! On February 21st, 2017, ARI delivered an all-day, arts-based English Camp for the lovely staff and students at the Wat Ku Kum Municipality School, in Chiang Mai. There were over 200 students that participated! Of course, this camp wouldn't have been possible without additional support: visiting students and staff from the American International School of Dubai, who worked as our teachers in each station of the camp's activities
For a summary of the day, please watch the video.
In the beginning of the camp, everyone was welcomed warmly and brought in front of the whole school to introduce themselves. The principal opened the camp with a beautiful speech.
ARI explained the day's activities, and how original this work was for ARI.
Everyone was so excited for the event that the teachers asked the students to present traditional Thai dances for ARI and the visiting school. The day became a true cultural exchange of language arts and performing arts.
First, the camp started with a warm-up dance to the "Cupid Shuffle," which we like to use when relating activities to English, as the song has a lot of good directionals for dancers/learners to follow ("To the left, to the right, now kick, now walk it by yourself"). The AIS of Dubai students demonstrated, bravely, on stage, and the whole school danced along!
Then, the whole school worked to build small notebooks where they could capture the vocabulary they would learn during the camp. We used a simple fold and staple technique, and then everyone decorated their notebooks with drawings and words about the seasons. The AIS of Dubai students helped each student to feel comfortable saying the English names of the seasons (Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer), and to copy symbols of each season into their notebook (flowers for spring, fallen leaves for autumn), so that they would remember the associations.
Then, the whole school worked together on an animal story. Meaning, our brave demonstrators from AIS of Dubai went on stage to make the corresponding animal noise each time an animal name in English was mentioned in the story! An adorable volunteer from the student audience came up to make her own animal sound too, for the whole school to guess. This was courageous of her! Her animal noise definitely sounded like a bird, but the whole school was stumped guessing! But, it was a chicken!
After lunch, we began our main event: the rotating stations led by the AISD student teachers!
Each station rotated and repeated, and revolved around 4 main subjects of English vocabulary: Numbers, Vowels, Colors, and Body Parts.
For learning the numbers, the AISD students taught via lessons involving movement games--tossing, catching, and running to numbers associated with colors.
Body parts: the AISD students built the necessary English alphabet letters with clay to spell each body part ("leg," "ear", etc.) They also played matching games, and sang "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes.
Colors: coloring pages designed to be "color-by-words" were used, and movement/association games were played.
Lastly, for learning vowels: pictionary and matching games were used.
In each of the stations, the students from the American International School of Dubai taught as peer educators, and truly worked alongside their Thai peers to learn as much of the English material as possible.
At the end of the day, the WKK school was so pleased with our work that each teacher received a gift memorializing King Rama IX. This was very touching for everyone.
One of our newest volunteers--whose first day was on the English Camp--thought, "The visiting student teachers were really motivated and excellent teachers."
And our other, brand new volunteer day that said: "It was a crazy and enjoyable day. It was really impressive to see the kids copy down vocabulary even when we didn't instruct them to. We could tell they were eager to learn."
We really are grateful for the hard work of our new ARI volunteers and the AISD students and staff. We look forward to running more English Camps and offering alternative education to local students via the arts!"
*Art relief" workshops are alternative art therapy + art education sessions led by creative facilitators and designed based on a specific marginalized community's needs and interests. I designed most of these workshops, and the standard for them, as the manager and mentor to international volunteers of Art Relief International (ARI). I originated multiple lesson plans a week, with input from the international volunteers--who came from all over the world to work with ARI. In planning, generally, those volunteers would spark the idea behind each workshop ,based on our working relationships with each marginalized community groups (40 total), and I would co-develop the workshop idea until it fit our very high workshop standard; we aimed to best serve each group with as meaningful of a learning experience as possible.
To showcase some of the most successful lesson plans, as each workshop requires a plan, assessment, and personal reflection, below I am including the material from the personal reflections. This is usually created to expose international viewers to the ins and outs of this sensitive, intercultural work via a blog platform. These reflections are housed on the ARI blog--please visit it at: art-relief.blogspot.com