"Once upon a time there was a pyramid that had two scary masks. Someone went to the pyramib [sic] because they wanted to find the two scary masks, but they saw a big shadow, so they screamed and ran away. They ran over a bridge and they found a poisonous fountain. Then he drank the water from the poisonous fountain and he fell a sleep. He dreamed about a thunder storm and lots of lightning. The lightning hit an apple tree. He ran to a house and he locked the door."
If you've ever wondered how to teach kids whose first language you don't know, I'll give you a couple of hints.
My job is basically to play games, speak English and make sure that the people I'm talking to manage to use context clues, gestures, drawings, etc. to understand what I'm saying.
It's awesome getting paid to play.
But you can't really just keep playing the same games every week. It gets seriously lame and boring. I'm a pro now at making up games on the fly and finding different ways to play games so I can use the same materials multiple times.
My favorite is taking drinking games and turning them into classroom usable versions. Don't judge, you know you're thinking back to all the games your teachers used to play in your classes and thinking, "I bet money she used to take shots of tequila while playing that."
(Hint: Try not to use the booze-covered cards in class. People get suspicious and ask lots of questions you don't really want to have to answer.)
But games are games and who doesn't love them?
While I've been home I've been collecting small, transportable versions of games we all know and love that I can play in the classroom.
Let's just say, I'm going to be one of the favorite Caledonian teachers not long after I get back. (For those of you Caledonian/Tutor teachers out there — yes, I'll share.)
I have Slam (a card version of Scrabble), MadGab (MadLibs - SO difficult for second language learners), Pictionary (a card version which is way harder because you're limited to the pictures on the cards not to what you can draw), and Monopoly Deal (which is infinitely faster than the board version, though I recommend only playing with more advanced learners).
I also picked up these Story Cubes. It's a game with nine dice with a different picture on every single side. (The box boasts nine dice, 54 pictures, 10,000,000+ combinations!) You can play so many different ways. It can be played as a listening and speaking game or a writing activity.
I played it today with my youngest Korean exchange student today and these are the stories I got. They're amazing.
Once upon a time there was an alien on an airplane that was going to attack the Earth. He used a magic wand to make an arrow that would shoot to turtles. People on Earth were sad so they sand [sic] letters [to] another alien asking for help. So the other alien destroyed the first alien using a magnet and a special flower. All the people on Earth were happy."
Bizarre I know. I love creative writing.