CultureWorks students take the test, tubing all the way.

English as a second language in Canada

A test tube is usually known as a common piece of laboratory glassware consisting of a finger-like length of glass or clear plastic tubing, open at the top and closed at the bottom.

However, in this case it was a reference to 55 CultureWorks ESL students making their maiden runs down a 30-metre high, snow-covered hill on custom winter tire tubes.

Located on a beautiful piece of property outside of St. Marys, Ont., the River Valley Winter Tube Slide is wide open at the top and closed at the bottom where the thrill seekers come to a rest.

The test tube, at this point, was complete for the students on this Spirit Day experience.

CultureWorks teacher and Spirit Day coordinator Joel Melton took time out to make several runs down the glorious hills.


An activity for teachers and students at our ESL school to enjoy

But it was not the end for the students — along with our ESL school’s teachers and admin staff – as they made several more trips down the hill with smiles almost as large as the tire tubes themselves.

English as a second language in Canada

CultureWorks teacher Joel Melton has been with the CW team since 2007, but it was his first time as Spirit Day coordinator for this event. He, like the students, was enjoying himself all day long.

“I’ve been doing this activity for years — I’ve been trying to figure out how many years — but I’m really enjoying this one,” Joel said. “And not because I had a personal hand in it, but because it’s a just a nice balance of inside and outside events.

“It’s not about forcing the kids to be outside and face the Canadian winter, but instead just to have everybody together and enjoying themselves. We didn’t have many absences which also speaks volumes to the teachers communicating with the students.”

Students had plenty of activities to enjoy inside and out

Rounding out the outdoor experience was roasting marshmallows on the traditional open fire. Meanwhile, the inside experience was numerous games for students in our ESL program, including the cards variety.

And making new friends at the same time!

English as a second language in Canada

“I find that some of the students just like to stay with their friends, but I am also seeing the students, they are not level here,” Joel said. “In the classrooms, they are in their own levels, but here they are all the same.

“I really like to see that because then you clearly see students that are from different classes, different campuses, coming together, talking to each other. That’s what makes it better for us in terms of spirit.”

Joel’s observation of the students sharing the good times with each other, regardless of classes, was supported by many student comments during the day.

English as a second language in Canada

“This is my first time trying this tubing and I tried it four times. It’s a very nice experience with the snow,” Maggie, a Level 7 student from China, said.

“And with this event from Level 4 to Level 7, students can play together and we can make some new friends, not just our classmates.”

Thanh Duan is in Level 6 and a budding priest from Vietnam. He agreed.

“I think today was perfect. The outdoor activity helped me improve my health and the Spirit Day like today gets everyone together and I made friends with them,” Thanh Duan said.

Mohammad, in Level 5, is from Jordan.

“It’s helping me to know new friends and to make a lot relationships with the CultureWorks students, so it’s really fine. I had fun,” Mohammad said.

Howard, a Level 6 student from China, said he found the tubing a fun experience, with the snow-covered hills grabbing his attention.

“I am from the south of China. It’s pretty close to Hong Kong. The temperature is never lower than 15. So it’s pretty warm. I think (the snow) is pretty awesome,” Howard said.

“This year is my first year to come to Canada. It’s the first time I have seen the snow. In China, I never see the snow. When you are on the top of the hill and you go down to the bottom, it’s crazy and exciting.”

Howard said it was also a great experience meeting students from different countries.

English as a second language in Canada

“This is a good change for me to find another friend, somebody from Vietnam and Brazil. I can make other friends, not only from China. This is pretty good for me,” Howard said.

Yes, the “test tube” was indeed a treat for all. And no glass was broken.

CultureWorks students comment on the ESL program.


China. Level 6

“Personally, I can pass my language tests through the CultureWorks, and they also have some activities like this one. Can make some friends or play with my friends on this trip. I think it’s very good.”


Vietnam. Level 5

“At first, I had a lot of work to do and it made me depressed, but now I am enjoying my studies and a lot of work makes me study a lot. In two months, I feel I have improved my English skills. I had a lot of challenges when I came here, like weather, like the food, the culture. I think CultureWorks helps me with my listening skills a lot. When I came here two months ago, my listening skills were not good. I can’t hear anything from teachers, but I don’t know how. Now I can hear clearly.


China. Level 6

“I think CultureWorks is a good school and we can learn English skills and make more friends. Also, teachers can also teach life skills to us or other countries that don’t know English. That’s very good. The teachers are also always teaching us how to do the grammar and writing skills and how to speak to other people.”


Jordan. Level 5

“I have been in CultureWorks for two months and really it’s the best people experience in my life, because there are a lot of communities here and the teachers are also helpful and they help the students and that’s what I want, to improve my English for university program. The level of teaching is professional and they are such good teachers and I don’t have this in my home town. It’s really different. First thing I had was culture shock when I came here because this is the first time in a new country without my family. They are helpful and they help me to move on and get more comfortable.”

Would you like to experience fun activities while learning English as a second language in Canada?

Learn more about the programs offered at CultureWorks!