September is here and another school year is on its way. I’m just enjoying the last few lazy days reading and planning ahead. I’m reading “The Little Paris Bookshop” by Nina George at the moment. I loved the book. Not only for the plot, not only it is set in Paris along the River Seine but also the richness of the creative writing ideas that pop up in front of my eyes while reading it.
The book takes place in Paris and tells the story of a bookshop owner Jean Perdu who calls his bookshop the Literary Apothecary, because he doesn’t just sell books to his customers, he also prescribes them to suit their minor ailments he diagnoses in them.
I just don’t want to forget those brilliant ideas Mr Perdu brought into my mind so I decided to write them.
Here is one as a first week activity. Mr Perdu says “books are like people, and people are like books.” And continues “ I ask myself is he or she the main character in his or her life?” (pg 28) well, I’m not going to reveal more but I’m planning my first day activity as follows.
The activity will be suitable for any level if you plan it that way but I’ll do it with my year 12 students.
Tell students they are a character in a novel.
Tell them to describe themselves, their motives, ambitions, weak points, strengths.
Who else are in their story? What kind of characters are they? A short description for them as the characters of the story…
The blurb of their story, their problem and how they expect the story will end.
I’ll tell them to create a book cover and a few pages of their books to display on classroom walls.
I think this will be a good beginning for a class who will be studying hard for their university exam. This year their main concern is the exam and how they will shape their future so I guess starting the year with these book covers will be fun.
1. Each person is given a sheet of paper with a series of instructions to follow. Each student’s instructions should be different. Tell them to stand up and mingle until you stop them. Then ask them to share their answers. Your instructions can be as “Find someone who …”
Find out who has been abroad before.
Who can play any instruments?
Find what your classmates have for their breakfast.
Who spent their summer holiday on an island?
2. Give each student a post-it note. Tell them to write their names at the top. Then ask them to write 1 adjective that will describe their physical appearance and 5 adjectives that will describe their character. Collect the post-it notes. Tell students they will guess the person you chose. Ask them to stand up next to their seats. Read one adjective each time and if they think that adjective doesn’t describe them, they have to sit down (whether they have written the adjective or not) Once they sit, they can’t stand up again. Continue calling an adjective, till they guess who the person is.
3. Divide the class into teams. Tell them they will advertise themselves to you. Prepare a bank of advertisements for them to get inspired. This will work well with a group of students who know each other well but the teacher meets them for the first time.
4. Provide A4 size paper, crayons, markers for each student. Ask each student to prepare a poster which contains some symbols or pictures describing who they are, what’s important to them or what they enjoy.
Each poster should be divided into 4 or 6 segments. Each segment can contain a picture of favourite emotion, favourite food, a hobby, a skill, a motto etc. Set time limits. When they finish, tell them to stand up, play some music and tell them to walk around till you stop the music and ask them to find a partner and introduce themselves to each other, then they have to exchange the papers and they will introduce their new friend to the class.
Some other activities from the archives of A Journey in TEFL
I know I am a bit late for the following lesson ideas but for a while I’ve been a bit reluctant to write anything. I hope I will keep my blog alive in 2013 …
Now here I go …
A lesson for the next Christmas
Write Christmas on the board
Tell students to brainstorm ideas
Write the skeleton of the poem
Christmas sounds like —
Christmas tastes like —-
Christmas feels like —
Christmas looks like —
Christmas smells like —
Christmas sounds like —-
Christmas is a time
Then you can even decorate the class with the students as we did
A lesson for the 1st day of the New Year
3,2,1 expectations from 2013
When I say we are going to do our New Year’s resolutions, the students always complain telling that they’ve been doing it for ages. I decided to adapt the famous 3,2,1 introductions to a New Year’s first lesson.
Old School option
Give students post-it notes
Write the instructions on the board
3 things you want to do/achieve this year
2 places you want to be/see/visit this year
1 thing you want to buy this year
Give the same instructions
Tell students to create comics.
Here are some examples from my students. They are still posting their comics 🙂