Back to School!

Thanks to Carol Gaab, who sent those of us on her e-mail list a set of ideas for the first days of school, I had a great day!

In my advanced Russian class, we started with Russian class news, so I recruited some kids to help me with multimedia presentations and got them all to agree on a good meeting day for our next environmental endeavor. Then we moved to thinking of questions that would help us learn about the new people in the class. They were: what is your name, how old are you, were you born in Alaska, what is your hobby, and what is your favorite food. The kids had to stand up and pair up with someone they didn’t know well. They used the questions to interview each other, coming up with one answer that was a lie. Then they started presenting their classmates. After each one was presented, I asked the class what they had said, and then asked for the lie. If the class got it, I told them that the presenter was obviously a poor liar! Only two sets had time to present. We’ll continue tomorrow.

The intermediate group was a little more challenging because it has a lot more lower-level kids this year. I told them the Russian class news in English first, then in Russian, circling some of the information. I have five boys and a girl coming to help with media stuff tomorrow! Then we came up with nine yes-no questions, reviewing as we did question formation. (Actually, we came up with ten, but one was “Do you know how to fly?” and that is probably not as useful for this bingo game!) In pairs, the group then practiced interviewing one another. I wanted to make sure that everyone was clear on that. Tomorrow we will do the human bingo game; that was really fun in an English class.

The last class of the day was my Russian 1 (with four or five Russian 2 kids mixed in). We practiced the rules, learned some letters as I wrote them on the board, and got to know a few kids’ names. We did: This is, yes, no, or, girl, boy, loves, basketball, tennis, hockey, fishing (it is Alaska, after all!), and debate. On the one hand, I was shocked at how long it took going slowly to do those. On the other, we’re building a classroom community, and I think they all got it all.

We did name tags, because no way am I going to survive without having those names down. Tomorrow they’ll serve as place cards, so that they sit in different places in the room. It is true that it helps to have information, however little, on each kid.

I had forgotten how much fun it is to teach. All the messiness of the start of the year gets left behind when real kids enter and we get to talk with them.

Forgot to take roll. Oops.

Onward! All I have to do is put in a couple of speaking grades for four kids and type up what we did today. I didn’t have anyone in the advanced class keep notes today, but at least I have the blog, and I’m hoping they’ll remember what they talked about. Just a review opportunity, otherwise!

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