Trip Start Apr 17, 2010
Trip End Jul 02, 2010

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Flag of China  , Sichuan,
Friday, May 14, 2010

We could not believe that this was the final day of our first full week of teaching in Nanxi! It has been a good start with many great discoveries! We returned to the high school for a full morning of classes. Before class, we discovered that we had wireless internet in our classrooms. Once again, we tried to use Skype to contact each other. It worked! The senior classes were surprised to see this technology as they walked into the room.

Mr. O taught four sections of Senior 2 (Juniors). He rearranged his room into table groupings of five, a challenge in a small room with 56+ desks! After a brief introduction about himself, he began his lesson on Scientific Achievements with the theme music of 2001: A Space Odyssey as examples of science achievements over the years appeared on the screen (telephone, electricity, internet, automobile, etc.). Students discussed which of the nine examples was the most important. Spirited discussion filled the room. We took a poll to see how the class felt about the topics. Many did not think the automobile was important, since they do not need to use cars much in their town. They were surprised that American students care so much about driving. Their top achievement choices were the internet and the telephone. Most students use the internet regularly, and most have a cellphone.

As a listening activity, Mr. O read a passage about three important people. The students had to listen and identify the scientific achievements: Neil Armstrong (first man on the moon), Alexander Graham Bell (first telephone call), and Ray Tomlinson (first e-mail message). He supplemented the activity with images of each individual (thank goodness for Google images!).

The final activity was a simulation. Four students took on the roles of scientists with a specific project that they wanted to pursue (cure for AIDS, cloning for curing disease, food production in arid areas, a human mission to Mars). They had to convince a fifth person, who had money for only one of the projects, to fund them. Mr. O enjoyed the interaction of the groups. When asked which doctor would receive funding, several donors said, "None of them!" As in real life, not all projects receive funding just because the money is there.

Ms. Long met a new group of Senior 1 students, so she started with a brief introduction of herself and then started the "Healthy Eating" lesson she had began with the other Senior 1 classes. Time ran out quickly, since class periods are only 40 minutes long. She will continue this lesson with the Senior 1 classes next week. Many asked her to continue the lesson even though the classes had ended. She has promised to continue next week!

She was also surprised today by several classes, individual students, and teachers. Tomorrow is her birthday, so many had planned many special things for her today. She was overwhelmed with gifts, letters with birthday wishes, and a special announcement over the intercom followed by a Lady GaGa song that the students requested for her. Sally's class sang along to "Poker Face" as it was being played for her. What a treat!  For dinner, Cherry's mother had made homemade dumplings, one of Ms. Long's favorites. It was a wonderful day of so many blessings. She is very thankful.

After dinner, we waited in the courtyard area of the school for singing practice. Many students quickly gathered around us to practice speaking their English. They love to hear us speak so they can learn new words and how to pronounce words correctly. We had a nice visit with so many students! We then went to singing practice. Because we have two very difficult and long Chinese songs, practice lasted for about an hour and a half this evening. Learning these songs is still very difficult for both of us. We told Frank and Mary that we may have to fill in the words we don't know by singing "watermelon," an old trick we both learned to use while singing. Both Frank and Mary laughed:) We have only until the 21st to prepare for this competition. Yikes!

Mr. O was sad to hear this morning that his favorite blog reader, his 99-year-old Aunt Elizabeth, died Thursday afternoon in Illiniois after a long, travel-filled life. His sisters were printing out and sharing the blog and pictures. She was enjoying traveling along with Mr. O and Ms. Long and was always ready to hear the next adventure in our journey. She will be missed.

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Michelle Funkhouser on

Another enjoyable blog entry! I so look forward to hearing about everything that you are experiencing in China. My condolences to Mr. O on the passing of his aunt. Have a great weekend and hope the spiders stay away! (If it makes you feel any better the PE teachers have had some animal fun of their own this week.) : )

Andrea C. on

A sing-a-long with Lady Gaga for a birthday wish... that is too much fun! Happy birthday, Shawna.

Sarah D on

happy birthday Ms.Long its not the same with out your songs!!! We all miss you so much!

Donna Thornton on

Happy birthday to my sweet friend.
It sounds like you had a wonderful day celebrating in China. Not many people can say they get to celebrate that way!
Miss you and love you lots,

Shawna Long on

Thank you all so much! I can't tell you how much I miss you all! It's been fun to celebrate here, but I miss not being able to celebrate it with all of you back home! Love you all!

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