Thursday, March 24, 2022

Classroom joy

Day 24 of 31 at TWT!

 "Teacher!" 5 minutes before the first bell rings, the Mexican twin boys from my 3rd period class burst into my room, springy curls flopping on their heads as each playfully tries to block the other from entering. "We're going to do something special today, right? It's our last day to see you before break!" 

I giggle and raise my eyebrows. "I thought we could play... Go Fish!"

"YEAH! GO FISH!!! That's special!!!" They jostle each other some more and scamper happily down the hallway. 

It's funny how classes develop their own personalities. Last time I was a teacher, the year that never really ended, I had a class that LOVED Bingo. Tough high school boys, constantly begging to play Bingo! They cracked me up. This year, my students enjoy Bingo well enough, but they love, love, love Go Fish! It doesn't matter how recently we've played; almost every time I see them, at least one student asks "Can we play Go Fish today?"

So when 3rd period starts, after we go through our beginning of class routines, I give them a choice. "Do you want to play 2 different games, or do you want to play Go Fish for a long time?" 

The Mexican boys nearly knock over their chairs. One flops himself over the table. "GO FISH!"

I glance at the quiet Chinese and Korean girls. "What do you think?"

"Go Fish!" they each quietly nod.

We head over to the round table, I deal out a set of emotions vocabulary cards I made from our recent unit featuring Dr. Marc Brackett's MoodMeter, and we start to play. "Let's start with the green set; since some of you want to relax over break, we'll practice our calm, good-feeling words first. Then we can play again with the yellow set since many of you are excited for break!" 

One boy is already stuffing cards up his sleeve. "We see you hiding those cards, R!" We all laugh. 

By the time it's her turn, the timid girl from Hong Kong's usually placid face transforms into one of her rare grins under her mask. "L, do you have..." she pauses a second for dramatic effect, "...serene?!" Her eyes twinkle as she asks one of the rambunctious boys for a card he'd just asked someone else for. 

"¡La racha empieza!" his brother yells out.

"Oh yeah, watch out, she's on a roll again!" I call in English to let the others in on the joke. Somehow, that girl almost always ends up hitting lucky streaks, usually several times a game. (We play that if you get the card you asked for, you get to ask again right away.)

More eyes twinkle. Cards come in and out of sleeves and hoodie pockets. Cards are jokingly withheld and then handed over at the last second. There's table pounding, smirking, shouting, shrieking, and bursts of laughter. 

This class playing with a sight words set in the fall.

There's also lots and lots of using English confidently! There are newcomers reading, listening to, and speaking words like "tranquil" (green round) and "ecstatic" (yellow round) with little hesitation. We might all stop for a particularly tricky work like "enthusiastic" and say it together before continuing the game, or I might quickly interject a reminder like "Remember, 'motivated' is when you're excited to work hard to reach a goal! It's pretty high on the MoodMeter!" 

Students in another class playing with the yellow feelings set.

We're having fun, learning, together.

Learning <=> Community <=> Joy. <3

1 comment:

  1. I love this post so much. A simple game (for us) becomes a magical, vocabulary building exercise in confidence for your students.


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