The Last 10 Minutes

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Slice of Life Challenge #8

1o minutes left until school is out. It’s Friday and the kids are buzzing with energy as the weekend is right around the corner. They are full of sugar from the M&M chocolate chip cookie they just inhaled from a birthday celebration. We decide to watch a music video, our Friday end of the day ritual, when the timing and mood works out.

I decide to play this Chinese music video the kids have been suggesting. Not sure what to expect, I play the video. The kids stand in front of the Promethian board eagerly awaiting the song. The video starts with a short talking clip, and I watch a bit confused. Some students say to pass this part, and I tell them I want to watch it, even though I dont’ really understand the Chinese. After 30 seconds, the music starts. “Be quiet, so Ms. Kim can hear the music.” The kids police each other. The three musicians in the video start to sing and I read the subtitles underneath to understand.

I watch in awe as my class of students start singing in unison in Chinese to the song.  I’ve never really heard them singing in Chinese before. They sing and sway along to the music with excitement and innocence. I immediately rush over and grab my camera to record this moment.

At times, I forget that they are only 11 years old, navigating life in Singapore, learning Chinese*, and figuring out a world different from their home.  Just this past weekend, a group of 60 5th graders went on a service learning trip to Telunas, Indonesia to teach English to kids. I had another student that went to Cambodia to help build houses! Just another day in the life of a third culture kid.

*The students either take Chinese or Spanish language class every day. 

Here is the video that we watched!

10 thoughts on “The Last 10 Minutes

  1. elsie says:

    You are living in a very cool world! I am envious of the experiences you have and the opportunities that are available for your students. Awesome video!

  2. Chris says:

    I love this video – the song is really catchy! What a great way for your students to show off their Chinese. Makes me think of using songs in my class for my English learners. Happy Friday!

  3. Brian Kelley says:

    Thank you for sharing a slice of your world. As a matter of fact, two Chinese students joined my homeroom this month and I have been asking them to teach me some basic Chinese words such as “good morning” (Zow-Chow-How) or “Hello” (Knee-HOW)…what strikes me as so challenging (aside from spelling it phonetically) are the subtle tones and pitch found in Chinese. Tone and pitch have as much to do with meaning as the word–as one of my students said, “You got the word right, but it doesn’t mean anything!”

  4. aggiekesler says:

    Love it! 🙂 This reminds me of when my students in China were obsessed with the song “Nobody” by the Korean group Wonder Girls. Third culture kids are such a joy! I came home from work yesterday, and as I entered my building, there were 3 little boys playing together, all speaking in Chinese. Two were Chinese, one was Caucasian, but from the looks of it, they didn’t know they were different at all. 🙂

  5. aggiekesler says:

    OK…so I just now watched the video. This is the best thing ever! I’m totally sharing this on Facebook. 😉 I feel pretty smart, too because I understood the whole thing without the subtitles. I constantly say “Wo de Zhongwen bu hao.” (My Chinese is bad.) Thanks again!

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