I have three classes on Monday. The first one is from 10:30 am. It is not so dauntingly early for me but for my students ,who are in their early 20's, it seems it is. They almost always miss the first 10 mins. Which is really understandable considering their daily life styles, however, the society we live in is not so understanding I am afraid.
We read a book True Tales of American Life together. It has nearly 100 true stories, written by everyday people, not one of those HOT writers. We can relate to each story easily for it is short, easy and friendly, dealing with something familiar to us. Nothing academic but very enjoyable. Some issues emerged from our readings are quite serious yet very relevant to our lives. Each week, one of my students pick a story from the book and we discuss our questions and opinions about it.
This week, we shared a story called "The Interpretation of Dreams". Which was scarily appropriate that I just had a vivid nightmare this morning. I got up because of the scream of myself. At a breakfast table, I asked my daughter if I often scream or talk while I am asleep. According to her, I OFTEN scream...
Anyway, we then talked about the dream we had last night or recently and checked the meaning with the dream dictionary. http://www.dreammoods.com/dreamdictionary/
We shared quite interesting findings under "Lizard" and "Scream". I doubt the reliability of this site and its information but it makes fun readings.
In the second class, we study Step test pre-second level, using one of those textbooks. To make it a bit bearable, I use the last 10 mins for an activity, having students interview each other with some questions I found online. http://iteslj.org/questions/classrooms.html I usually encourage them to add some of their own questions. The fun part is to set a timer for 3 mins. and do some intense interviewing ( some may say interrogating) . I named it "Time Shock" which is stolen from one of the quiz shows I used to love as a kid. In the show, if the participants of the show failed to answer all the questions, the seat, which is set high up on the top of a few meters long pole would fall down as it spins like one of those scary ride at an amusement park. Unfortunately I don't have the seat and must do that manually. It is a hard work but worth the effort for it generates such a great laughter. Please note that you don't do this all the time for it may spoil that excitement.
For the reading comprehension part of the test, I introduced scanning and have students do the reading within certain amount of time, depending on the mood of the class. This also can be a fun Truth-or-false game.
The last class is the most exciting one at the moment because it is new one and all the students are amazingly motivated. Their eyes twinkle like those of 3 year olds. I have three 6graders, all football loving boys. Those pre-teen kids usually are quite shy to make mistakes but they are not shy at all. I usually ask my students not to speak any japanese at all but for those boys I don't stop them to interact each other in japanese. But I keep on speaking only English to see what happens. Interestingly, in the third lesson, all of them have started to guess what I say and even try to answer my questions in English.
On the first day of their class, one of their mum came and said he might have to drop out after a few classes for he showed no interests in English. More interestingly, he has become one of the most motivated one of all.
In the class, I did TPR and phonics as well as a spontaneous activity. The last one worked so well and we had a blast. The activity is just to draw a picture as I instruct them using the new voc. such as face, eyes, nose, ears and etc. They drew a face on a piece of paper and all the pics were so good with some personalities so that I couldn't help asking them a bit of stories behind. I asked the name, age and their preference on food and sport. Unexpectedly they created the character very well. I didn't plan to do so but it turned out to be one of the most fun activities we shared.
I look forward to seeing how they progress!