Friday, April 2, 2010

April 2nd: Fourth Week of Classes and Easter

Week four teaching sophomore writing:  We started out with our weekly journal assignment--What event or invention do you think has changed the world the most?  I'm looking forward to reading the students' ideas.  I got the chance in the next part of class to tell my own answer, although I'm sure most of the students didn't understand that connection. 

Holidays are a great thing for us foreign language teachers.  They are fun and easy to talk about, entertaining to the students, and provide a good base for cultural lessons.  Since Easter is Sunday, I spent some time in class explaining the holiday to my students.  They had heard of Easter before as they have studied English and western culture, so I tried to keep it interesting.  I brought in eggs and a mug of pink dye.  As I talked, I dyed an egg in each class.  I got a lot of 'ooohs' as I pulled out the finished hot-pink egg; after my last class of Friday, a few of the girls took pictures with their cell phones.  I wanted to do other colors, too, but I couldn't find the rest of my dye tablets.  I know I had them on Monday, but by Friday they were no where to be found.  However, I suppose it would have been difficult to juggle various cups of dye between classes, so maybe it was for the best. I also showed pictures of dyed eggs, the Easter bunny, Easter egg hunts, chocolate bunnies, and such.  I drew daffodils and chicks on the board with chalk.  I also explained that Easter in our culture has two meanings: the secular (new word for them) meaning--a celebration of spring and new life symbolized by pastel (another new word) colors, bunnies, chicks, eggs, and daffodils, as well as a religious meaning for many in the Christian world.  I know we celebrate Christ's resurrection all year and not only on one day, but it seemed a good opportunity to introduce the students to a little more of the story that is such an important part of our background in the U.S. 

With the time I had left in each class, I gave out playing cards to everyone.  In my teaching book, I have a list of questions that correspond to each card, so when I called out 'ace of diamonds' or 'eight of hearts' and such, whoever had the card had to answer.  It was a fun way to give the students a chance to talk a little.  I know it's a writing class, but the real need for these students is to hear and speak with a native language speaker.  They write fairly well, but rarely have an opportunity to have a real conversation--I want to work in some speaking time when I can. 

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