Meet Melon Bear. Melon Bear is half melon/half bear, and when he comes to class, my students get so excited that I’ve seen them literally start vibrating in their seats.
Even students who previously had been put off by the very nature of English class (English is hard + English is boring = System Shutdown) were suddenly interested and awake and peering at the strange creature that had appeared at the front of the class!
The class starts when I hold up Melon Bear and ask “What is this?” Some of the answers have been great (“Monster! Melon Monster!”) and it’s been really fun listening to them trying to work it out. I even heard one girl ask another “How do you say メロン in English?” (Pssst, kid–it’s melon!)
After we establish that it is both Melon AND Bear, I hold the beast above my head, and with great flourish, rip him apart. Now, before you think I’m a monster myself, with super human strength, I’ll tell you a little secret–the two halves are held together with heart shaped velcro. Still, that didn’t stop one 15 year old boy from actually screaming in surprise, and another boy loudly declaring “Alice is COOL!” at the back of the classroom.
We then play a game that was taught to me as “Pass the Pig,” though I’ve obviously taken some liberties with the proverbial pig. Essentially, two objects are passed while I play music on the iPod (I tend to use Lady Gaga for this, because everyone loves Bad Romance, and American music counts as intercultural learning, right?) When the music stops, whoever is holding the pieces must stand up and ask each other a simple question.
They range from the extremely basic “How are you?” “I’m fine thank you!” to slightly more complex vocabularies. The best was when a boy stumbled a bit for a question, and the JTE (my Japanese counterpart) fed him “Who is your favorite girl?” The boy answering is one of the tallest, coolest kids in class, who started the year with big hair and a bad attitude. He paused for a moment before declaring, while standing up in front of the entire class, “ALICE!” It was easily one of my best teacher moments ever ♥
For the last class before 春休み, or Spring Vacation, we got to play tons of games, and one of the chosen ones was Hangman. I usually theme the answers to their textbooks and also the season. In one of my last sections, the hint on the board was:
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
There were no correct guesses, and the only wrong letters were D & X. Somehow, one of my kids actually managed to guess the answer. Either he’s very clever, a little bit psychic, or had cheated and asked one of the earlier classes for all of the answers to Hang Man (but seriously, who does that?) What do you think? And more importantly, can you guess the answer?
This is my entry in this month’s Japan Blog Matsuri, hosted by NihongoUp. The theme is education, so go check out all the great posts!
SPRING VACATION 🙂
PS You sound like a great teacher!
Aw, your classes sound so great and it also seems like you’re a really awesome teacher!! Go melon bear! 🙂
Brilliant! I had a tomato with a face for my three years as a teacher – but I wish I had had your melon bear!!
Cool toy. I have to remember to take my huge Elmo to school one day.
Haha…good story. Man, class can be so fun when the students really get into it. Looks like you’re doing a nice job getting them pumped up.
That melon bear is cute – where’d you get it?
Sounds like a fun class! And I love Melon Bear too!
You should introduce them to the other staples of Hokkaido.. like onion-bear and corn-bear: http://www.strapya-world.com/pic/2010/451-kuma-jagaimg03.jpg
Or just plain Hokkaido-bear…
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