Drop the beat!

This morning we learned about music. I started by writing "music genres" on the board and asking my
students to call out different types of music - "Rock!" "Hip hop!" "Rap!" "Pop!" I had a playlist of songs on my phone to illustrate each genre, including "You Shook Me All Night Long" (rock), "You'll Always Be My Baby" (classic 90s pop) and "Think of Me" (Phantom of the OPERA - we had a fun time with that, imitating an operatic voice). After having fun learning vocabulary, it was time for the big assignment of the day - write your own rap! The students broke off into groups of 3-4 and I had them all come up with a band name - "365" "HKT" "ABC" "TNT" "Rose" and "Bluebells" were the names we ended up with. I walked around helping some of them come up with phrases and a lot of them just took it away themselves. One of the boys, Nam, can do this awesome percussion thing with his hands and pen on the desk, so we would say "ok Nam, drop the beat!" and then one of his co-writers would rap. One of the groups wrote a rap about me! Victor came in to help us (he and my TA Duc love to rap) and we had a fun time hearing the raps out loud. We had one performance and I anticipate more performances tomorrow!

After that it was time for swimming lessons - this time it was a success! The kids were super excited when I got dressed to go in with them and I managed to get 15 of them in the pool including several of the girls! Yay! The kids were splashing me and I was smacking them with noodles and screaming their names in the pool (yesterday I spent some time learning a bunch of names, so I was having fun today calling them out by their names - "NAAAAAAM!!! YOUR BUTT IS SINKING! GET YOUR BUTT UP!!!"). It was so funny to watch the boys swim - a lot of them have zero body fat so floating is really difficult. It reminds me of myself when I was a little kid - I had a really hard time staying afloat! Little Chi and Bao followed me to the pool and ended up jumping in and hanging out with us while my students learned from our Australian friends Dan and Jim. The kids learned some new words like "float" "side" "kickboard" and "noodle" (Dan would say the word in his Australian accent, then he would call me over to teach the word to the kids in an American accent, which is what they are used to).

During our break there was a downpour - loud thunder and a lot of rain. I donned my Vietnam rain gear - pants to ward off mosquitoes, rain boots and an umbrella - and headed back over to the church. Two little boys I haven't seen before jumped under my umbrella with me and we walked quietly down the street to class.  Only four kids came to class (they showed up  casually over a 20 minute period) so my lesson plan was foiled (classic Vietnam, always foiling my nice plans!). So we just hung out, they showed me magic tricks (I taught them the words "magic" and "magician"), I showed them videos of themselves on my phone that I've taken over the last few weeks, and we listened to music. Then the little kids came in! We moved the desks and benches aside, I forced Nam to sweep the floor (he was doing a terrible job so Duc took over) and we did some yoga. Some of the kids from my class followed along for a while but they eventually lost interest/gave up/couldn't stop giggling because they are teenage boys.

 After we did yoga for a bit the girls wanted to do ballet ("bah-leh!"), so ballet we did. This time I did more of a class. I was saying the words "plie" "turn out" "stretch" "point" "flex" etc when we did each position, hoping they would retain some new words. I walked around correcting their arm positions, demonstrating the WRONG way (sticking my butt out "no!!" keeping everything in alignment "yes!"). I walked around adjusting their little feet (I touched a lot of dirty bare feet today), holding their torsos and legs as they stood in arabesque, and I even stretched some of them against the wall the way my teachers did when I was little (the kid stands against the wall, they give you one of their legs, and you bring it up as high as it can go. Some of them could touch the wall behind them! I was very gentle with them). We had a lot of onlookers and admirers. Some of them have so much potential, it's ridiculous. If they were in ballet classes for as long as I've been, they would probably end up being better dancers than I am by the time they were my age.

We got VERY tired and sweaty. Bao was running around the room throughout our ballet class and I was scooping him up and putting him upside down every now and then to get him out of the way. Some other kids came in and somehow we ended up singing. I was sitting on a desk against the wall and they were all sitting around me. I would sing a scale: "ah-ah-ah-ah-ah" and they copied me. Eventually the singing turned into animal sounds: "meow meow meow meow meow" I don't know how that happened! I was singing a vowel like "eee" or "ooo" and all of a sudden I heard cats coming back at me. The kids tried to teach me some Vietnamese words (completely over my head) and they all giggled. One of the preteen girls said "you speak Vietnam funny!" Yes, I'm sure I do…I couldn't tell you!! I taught them the scale "do re mi fa so la ti do" after they prompted me ("doe! doooeee!!") and started singing "doe, a deer…" Hey theatre people, did I tell you I booked the role of Maria in a Vietnamese production of The Sound of Music? Well, I did. I'm getting my equity card and everything.

What a day! I've already taken two showers. Tonight we are watching "Brave" with the kids. Tomorrow - rap concert! There are some cute videos up on Instagram from today.

 The rap about me - I was cracking up! My TA Duc said "I'm a jellyfish!" (that means "I'm jealous!" We say that here - "you're so jelly you're a jellyfish!")

 Strike a pose! This cutie walked by my class in the afternoon

 Bao! Get away from my phone!

Look at that face! Yes Chi, ballet hurts!

 I showed them this stretch against the wall - I used to do this every day for years when I was younger!
Helping each other stretch
 No hip bones whatsoever



  1. What an amazing post Laura! I love this! BTW, you still have 0% body fat :)