Starting the week at winter camp, I showed students the Pixar short animation La Luna. This is one of my favourites of Pixar’s and the only reason I hadn’t used it for summer camp was because there wasn’t any camp material already made, unlike Partly Cloudy. I decided to just make the lesson materials this time using the ones I had used before as a template.
After watching the video, we did a review and comprehension worksheets to focus on new vocabulary and general understanding of the video. One of the great things about these short films is that there is no dialogue. Students can focus on watching and understanding the video is easy enough for them. Afterwards comes the English lesson where they take what they understood and understood it in English with me.
We learned about the moon and why the moon changes its shape. I got a white foam ball from the material room and brought a flashlight to represent the sun. Unfortunately,y flashlight wasn’t as powerful and the room wasn’t as dark as I’d have wanted. But the students had a moment of clarity as we were role playing as the sun, the moon and the earth. We completed a chart of the moon’s changing shapes to complete this part of the lesson.
We worked on star shapes. Just like how the moon in La Luna was made of stars, the students had to create shapes made out of stars. Students made all sorts of shapes – diamonds, bigger stars, crescent moons, bunnies, and hearts.
Second day of camp was slightly different between the two classes. Both classes watched the 1966 animation of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas and we talked about what the story was about.
From there, with the younger students, I had them do role plays for reasons why the Grinch would hate Christmas. Students were introduced to the idea of a “flashback” and create a flashback scene within their role play. The students had some trouble understanding the concept of a flashback – until I performed a one-woman role play to demonstrate what it meant. It was really fun to see the students enact the possible reasons for the Grinch’s hatred of Christmas – having no money, having their personal pens stolen by a Who, and the reason for hating is just “not liking” Christmas.
With the older students, we did Readers’ Theater. In the first reading, my CT and I alternated lines between us as the students repeated after us if it was their line. This practice reading took up the most time – but I think we’re not giving enough credit to some of the students who were eager and didn’t really need us to read the lines first. In the second reading, I sat on the sidelines and only provided assistance when they asked for it – as they worked as one whole class to do the reading. In the last reading (and the eventual presentation because of time constraints), the students had already improved their pronunciation and flow so much. Given the chance with the next camp, I think I’m going to spread it out through two days. I had recorded their reading but the sound is not as great as I’d like… I’m quite excited to continue doing role play and other speaking activities with this class. The average English-speaking level is much higher in this class than that during summer camp.
The first day of our English Winter Camp was on the 26th – right after Christmas. And thus, I planned the day’s class and activities around the holiday season.
After a few icebreakers and introduction games, I taught the students how to play “Christmas Basket” – basically Fruit Basket but Christmas-themed. All the students are one of the three: Santa, snowman, or Rudolph. One student is in the middle and must call one of these or “Christmas Basket” (that calls out everyone) and those students need to find a new seat and opens up. The goal of the game is to not be the one left over once all the seats are taken. The students love playing these games that get them moving and competitive with one another. It’s a great way to work with any vocabulary you want the students to practice saying – and so easy to modify for any lesson.
The students love to sing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer… in Korean. And so I’ve decided to teach them the English words. I think they still prefer the Korean version – but at least now they have lyrics and a lesson to think back on if they ever do wish to sing it in English.
In keeping with the Rudolph theme, we made our own special Rudolph. The whole concept behind this arts and crafts activity was creativity – I wanted the students to feel free to make their Rudolph however they wanted. With the higher-level students, they had to also write a little description with their Rudolph creations.
Finally, as this was the Christmas day of camp, I wanted them to have presents. I was going to play a party game of sorts but I think some of these kids (a lot of 7-8 year olds) are still too young to take the rules of the game without caring too much. The concept of being able to “steal” a present in a Secret Santa would be too cruel for them. And so, in an effort to be fair and generous, I decided to just buy presents for all of them – from “Santa,” of course.
I recently adapted a party game for my Grade 6 lesson. The students are learning about different jobs. The students needed to pass along the secret note – drawing a picture and alternately, writing the key expression. It was hilarious how some of these would get lost in translation. Here were some of the ones that I loved.