Friday, October 23, 2009

An Island Adventure

Lesson of the Day: Island Adventure. Including review of "would" and "will," critical thinking skills.
Idiom of the Day: N/A
Video of the Day: "Survivor" by Destiny's Child (oddly, not on Youtube, but I found it here on Daily Motion
Lunch: Miso soup with tofu and mushrooms (yum), rice with chestnuts and ginseng in it (not so much), spicy fish thing (too many bones to actually eat), pumpkin soup, and something that was trying to be cake, but I could tell just from the visual that it was gonna fail. There are few things sadder than bad chocolate cake, so I didn't try it. The pumpkin soup, which I've had other places before and hated, was great. Kind of like if cream of rice had a baby with pumpkin pie. Weird that I would dislike the version I tried at a restaurant but dig it in a high school cafeteria!
Highlight Thusfar: Discovering that my affection for the first graders is mutual. In two of my three classes, kids came to class early. Instead of chatting in Korean or doing work or sleeping, students from both classes struck up conversations with me. They asked about my plans for the weekend, about the specs on my iPod (I had it out to use as a stopwatch for my lesson), and chatted about what they'd had to do that week in school. It was really nice :)

Today's Lesson:
I came up with the kernel of the basic idea yesterday, and expanded it a bit with Sarah's help over tea at Dunkin Donuts later.
My original thought for today was to do something I'd done in an improv class a million years ago, where everyone picks a celebrity or fictional character, gets in groups, and then is informed that they are in a hot air balloon that will sink and crash unless they kick someone out. Then everyone has to defend their own importance.
But I figured that that probably wouldn't take the whole class, especially if my kids didn't fully participate. So I planned to add in a segment about what they would bring with them to a desert island, and somehow connect that to the hot air balloon business.
But then this morning, a lesson plan leapt out of my head fully formed, with flashing eyes and a tasseled aegis.

First, I told them we would be going on a journey by boat, and drew a boat on the board. I announced that I was their captain, and drew a stick figure version of me proudly standing on the prow. I asked them where we should travel (oddly enough, in every class, someone suggested "Mars," which meant I could use the same patter every time. Nice). So I drew some water and vamped a little bit about our sea voyage until drawing some rocks dangerously near the boat, and "crashing" the boat via white board image. I then apologized profusely and admitted that I had never before successfully piloted a space boat to Mars, and probably ought to have stopped trying after I crashed NARO (they were delighted I'd heard about this).

I drew a distant island on the board and told them they had been able to swim to safety. To set the scene, we then watched - ahem - Destiny's Child video for "Survivor". I passed out a lyric sheet for "Survivor" with definitions for the slang stuff in the song (ie "to be broke: to have no money. To be chillin: to be relaxing," etc.) with some words blanked out, so they had to listen to the song to figure out the missing words.

After going over the sheet, the actual activity was all set. They got about 8 minutes to do each of the following activities. After their time was up, I set the scene for the next part of the narrative, and they had to move on with whatever they had.

1. You've crashed on a desert island! Luckily, you were very smart and fast, and managed to take 5 things from your luggage. What did you bring? (I wrote "choose 5 things" on the board, and reminded them they could take 5 things that would fit in their luggage - ie a helicopter was not an option)

2. While exploring the island, you find the 3 people you sit closest to in Miss Kaye's conversational English class! What a coincidence! Together, the 4 of you will try to survive on the island. You find a good place to camp out, but you can only carry 15 items between the 4 of you. Compare lists and decide what 15 items to bring (I write "Compare lists, choose 15" on the board)

3. You are not alone on the island. While looking for food, your group sees a group of people native to the island. They don't speak Korean, Chinese, English, or any other language you know. They are angry that you have invaded their island! With your group, make a plan to stay safe. Will you make friends with them? How? Will you fight them? With what? (I wrote "You've got company" on the board and explained the idiom)

4. Congratulations! You are so smart, you have figured out how to build a new boat. However, your boat is small. You can only bring a limited amount of weight. You must choose - either bring your entire group, but no food, water, or supplies, OR bring food and supplies and choose to leave one person behind. If your group decides to leave one person, you must explain why you are valuable. Why do you deserve a place on the boat?

Thoughts on this lesson: This lesson went over pretty well across the board. It required almost no preparation (I had to make the lyric worksheet for Survivor, but that was pretty much just an excuse for me to listen to vintage Beyonce for a half hour), and it's always great when I can spend more time teaching a lesson than preparing it. This was especially fun with the kids who speak enough English and/or have enough enthusiasm and energy to have a good time with it - one of my favorite groups said for #3 that they would show the island people their PMP (these things are everywhere in Korea - my sibs have one, and I see 'em all the time on the subway) so that the island people would think they had magical powers. Then for #4, they answered that they wouldn't use the boat at all, because "For island people, we are as gods." Obviously, that made me think of this and almost lose it.

I'm recycling this lesson for Monday. I hope it goes over as well with the second graders, especially my super-sullen class, since they sometimes have trouble keeping it together for group work. But I have high hopes!


Mr. Kim (USA) said...

Beautifully done. Reading this post and following the links is like having a make-your-own sitcom experience. (And yes, I'll admit to having to Google "tassled aegis". Miss Kaye teaches English to adults, too! Or maybe it's Greek. . .)

Adam said...

When i clicked on the link about being worshipped as gods I was expecting a video of C-3PO on the forest moon of Endor, but what you posted is good too.

Anonymous said...

I'm still trying to figure out what five items I'd take. And I'm really glad my brother, Mr. Kim (USA) had to look up "tasled aegis" too. Now I don't feel so dumb.