The Beginning of the End

Yesterday marks the beginning of my final classes with various homerooms.  There are only eight more days of classes between today and summer vacation.  So, although it seems early to me (I STILL HAVE 6 WEEKS), I am running out time.  The second years all are going to be doing internships next week instead of attending classes, so that makes the time crunch even rougher.

For my final class with the students I knew I needed to do something different.  I considered doing a cooking class, but buying all the supplies ended up being too expensive.  I settled on doing some camp-style games that only barely used English.  I did not need them struggling to understand my last class.  I just wanted them to have a good memory afterwards.

The schedules worked out so I was able to have the first two final classes in the gym.  That made setting up ahead of time a lot easier.  I tried to fit a lot into the fifty minute period, so that definitely helped.

First, I gave the students one minute to break into four teams.  They then chose a leader and sent them up to get a piece of paper to write their team names on.  Once the teams were forged, I showed them what they would be competing for: American “fun” sized chocolate.  That’s always a great motivator.

The first challenge was the human knot activity.  If you aren’t familiar, students stand in a circle facing inwards.  The reach across the circle and grab the right hand of the person standing across from them.  Then they grab the left hand of someone else.  They then try to get untangled.  The end goal is to have them all standing in a circle holding hands.

It doesn’t always go perfectly.  One group ended up have two interconnecting circles by accident.  I had originally planned to get them to speak English while attempting the challenge, but decided it wasn’t worth the effort.  I might try it with some of the higher level classes.  After awarding points for the three fastest teams (first place got 5 points, second 3, and third 1), we moved on to the next challenge: Alphabet Relay.

Each team lines up a few yards away from a set of alphabet tiles I’ve scattered on the ground.  Then I call out a word in which no letter appears twice (except for in one case when I called out hairbrush by accident).  One student from each team runs to the grouping of letters, grabs one of the letters to spell the word I said, and returns to their team.  When they think they’ve spelled the word correctly, I check and award points.  The students had no trouble spelling the short words like movie or action.  But their spellings of kitchen and dinosaur were nothing short of creative brilliance.  (Somehow one team ended up spelling dinosaur as D-I-N-O-A-R-S-E, which I had to suppress a giggle over.)

After a few rounds of that, we moved on to the last event: Wacky Relay.  The students run a relay in pairs.  The twist is that they have one of my Pokeballs and must carry it together in various ways.  The first round is palm to palm so they have to carry the ball between their palms.  Next is elbow to elbow.

Then back to back.  One team came up with a creative loophole to this one:

One of the boys simply carried the other and they switched roles on the way back.  It is something to fix when I explain the rules with the next class, but at the time I was laughing too hard to stop it.  I was also impressed by their problem solving skills.

After that, I announced the winner of our mini sports day.  The winning team members got a piece of chocolate and the satisfaction of winning.  Then I said a mini goodbye speech just the, “Thank you for being good students.  I’ll be your teacher forever, so don’t hesitate to contact me if you need help with anything.”  And after a question from one of the students, “Yes, you can follow me on Instagram.”  I’ve also taken a picture with each homeroom, so that will be nice to put in my photobook after I move.

Now I’m trying to think of the best way to allow the students to keep in contact with me if they want.  Instagram seems like a good idea since more people seem to have Instagram than Facebook at the moment.  However, I’m hesitant to give out any digital means of communication that parents’ can’t see or monitor.  I want to give the students the option of being pen-pals with me and writing actual, physical letters, but I know some of them don’t have the funds to spend on mailing even something as small as that.  In the end, giving them my e-mail address might be the best choice, but I’ll be sure to run it by my co-workers first.



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