The original activity is described here and the poem ‘Go and Open the Door’ by Miroslav Holub is here. This is a very powerful poem and I think it will work really well with teenagers and adults on the first week of the term.
Here is a variation with the poem for the new comers.
A big poster of a classroom door (or any other door)
Introduce some vocabulary if you think they will cause problems when you read the poem.
Tell them you will read a poem, they can close their eyes if they want.
Before you begin reading the poem, play a relaxing
Tell them they are about to open the door of their new classroom. They don’t know what they will find there. First focus on the followings:
What are their expectations?
Why are they in this class?
How will they improve themselves?
What are their expectations from their teachers?
When and how will they have fun?
Stop the music and read the poem.
Tell them to open the door of the classroom and step in, meet the people, the teacher and find a seat. Now tell them to open their eyes and jot down the things they thought.
Ask the volunteers to share their ideas.
Give them post-it notes and ask them to write what they’ve found when they opened their classroom door.
Stick the door poster on the wall.
Get students’ post-it notes and stick on the door.
That poem is great! I used to read Holub a lot (he’s one of the few poets who was also a doctor/scientist). I’ll have to get a Czech version.
I like the way you “personalize” this for students and make it a learning event. Great stuff and use of props. Also a great choice of poem – there are so many quality poems out there with simple language that are usable by teachers! I’ll be adding this post to my poetry page.
PS. not so sure about preteaching vocabulary. I’m not ever a big fan of the “preteaching” of words. But I see both sides…
I thought about my students and decided there need to be a vocab intro pace.
This poem will make a great icebreaker activity for my students. I love activities that get my learners thinking about what they want the first day.
I will be using this wonderful poem in advanced EFL classes, and the variation I will use is this: they will jot down their ideas and store them all away in an envelope. Reading their expectations will help me to design classes geared to what they want.
Then, at the end of the semester, we will reread their ideas and compare what they learned during the course with what they wrote at the beginning of the semester. What fun! I love getting learners to reflect; especially since they are new at being asked to think.
Thanks for sharing this poem and ideas for using it. Ellen
Eva, once again thank you so much for this wonderful activity! Can’t wait to use it with my groups and will let you know how it went!