Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween in Class


The twelth class just happened to fall the week of Halloween--and we ESL teachers rarely miss the chance to work in some American culture by enthusiastically celebrating a holiday.  And isn't the power point background I found online cute?

The lesson itself was pretty straight-forward; writing about cause and effect.  The normal power point, vocabulary, lecture, examples, etc.  However, I rushed through the lesson.  "Anybodygotanyquestions?No?Okay,nextthing..." On to the fun part!

First, because I am an English professor, I introduced them to Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven".  I love it.  "While I pondered, weak and weary, over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore..."  I had to memorize the first stanza in the sixth grade, and I still remember bits of it.  However, the poem is extremely long, and the old-fashioned English way beyond their level.  So, while in general I don't find the Simpsons to be very academically helpful, they did the Raven in the first Treehouse of Horror episode years ago.  I think I remember watching it when I was in high school, even.  I hoped that by showing "The Raven" acted out as a story, at least my students would get the gist of it, even if they didn't get the full impact.  I did read the first stanza out loud to them, and even though they didn't know all the words, they could appreciate the alliteration and rhythm of the words.  Amazingly, however, I couldn't find the video on youtube; here's the link I used: The Simpsons' "The Raven."

When I lived in Jingzhou, I found an small but appropriate pumpking to carve, and took a jack-o-lantern to class.  Unfortunately, I didn't find one this year.  Still, I wore my fortune teller costume to class (although, still not locating anything to serve as a crystal ball, I mostly just looked unidentifiably weird). Although several of my students took pictures of me, somehow I never took one, so no pictures, sorry.

I showed a slide show of pictures; we talked about pumpkins and costumes; I tried to explain Trunk or Treat to them, but I don't think they quite got the point of that.  I also explained bobbing for apples, and at the end I played "Monster Mash" for them.

Finally, their journal for the week was a bit different: instead of something practicing the skills I'd just taught (like a responsible teacher would assign, and I normally do), I gave them this story starter, and told them to finish it:

One Halloween my friends and I were going trick-or-treating in our neighborhood. Down the street from us was an old deserted house that everyone thought was haunted. My mother said, "Don't you dare go near that house!" Naturally, her warning made us even more curious. We went to the house and rang the bell. There was no answer. We tried the door. It was unlocked, so we entered the house. The door slammed behind us and...

I found it online somewhere; I don't remember where now; so, no copyright infringement intended...I'm really looking forward to reading their stories; they seemed more excited about this journal assignment that usual, too.  At least they shouldn't all be the same thing!  

Finally, one of my example pictures: my Halloween costume from 2006, at a party at the Bible School in Florence:


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