Hello to the few people who read this blog! Long time, no update.
Things have been busy busy these days for me. There have been lots of strange middle of the week holidays and weekend workdays which result in replacement days off during the week which have been totally throwing my schedule off and giving me fits when it comes to trying to plan and reschedule my lessons with the five different teachers I work with between two different schools. Scheduling problems have led to me having to work late, work weekends, and even wake up at 5:30 to make up for lost time before school starts too. For all that the struggle though, I must admit that the lessons I have been making feel like they have been hitting the mark recently though. More and more often I have felt like my activities have gone (more or less) smoothly and that their goals have been precise and successful. Maybe things have been better because my relationship with my students has really improved over the course of the year, or maybe I am getting just a little better at this, or maybe a bit of both. Regardless, I hope this positive classroom momentum keeps up through Spring and into the new school year!
I recently did a lesson that was pretty fun. I wish I could take all the credit for it, but I got the idea from another blogger over on Tumblr called Readysetgaikokujin. It is basically Halloween Taboo. First I had a worksheet on which they had to match the picture with the corresponding vocabulary word. It takes them 3~5 minutes. Most of the words I chose were pretty easy, but that’s okay because for Taboo you have to talk around them anyway. While checking the answers I like to make sure everyone is on the same page about the lore of the monsters by seeing that they know the Japanese names for everything as well as some trivia. For example: Who is the most famous vampire? (Dracula.) Where do mummies come from? (Egypt.) What does R.I.P. mean? (Rest In Peace.) And etcetera. I also like to mention that some people are buried in America, and not always cremated. This always shocks students and is an interesting cultural point. Also, Japanese people really don’t know much about zombies, so I have had to explain what they are and what they eat, which is fun.
Next I break the room in half into the Werewolf Team and the Vampire Team. I give each team their worksheet (as seen below), and in pairs or as a team they think about words or phrases to describe each vocabulary word without using the ones mentioned on the sheet. They can also color the pictures if they want to help pass the time, as long as they are also picking out key words and making helpful hint phrases. I give them about 10~15 minutes, depending on how they are doing.Lastly, a Werewolf and a Vampire make a pair and finally play Taboo! The time can vary on this part pretty greatly, depending on your kids’ level of engagement and English ability. Generally it take between 10 and 20 minutes though. It is kind of funny, because they don’t suspect that each team could possibly have been given different vocab words on their worksheets, so when it dawns on them it’s a pretty laughable moment. The students are able to self-direct this activity by taking turns once their partner has guessed the word correctly, and I just sort of wander around giving small hints here and there as necessary. It really tests their English vocabulary and creative skills, which is great. And I get to draw really cute pictures for the worksheet, so it’s a win win!