Sunday, December 5, 2010
"Great Bouncing Icebergs!"
Had a great morning so far. I have never once in my three years of teaching here shown a complete video in a regular class, but today I changed that. Reality is, the grade 3s as I've previously mentioned have long finished caring about school as their exams are complete, and they are basically here going through the motions. Since they have nothing left to be academically accountable for, they are not into studying at all.
The other teachers combat this by emptying my classroom's DVD collection and presumably letting partial movies run in a loop for their students while they take care of marking. I, of course, am not allowed to do this, so in previous post-exam periods, I have simply made a review game, or worked far too long on a Sunday powerpoint to compliment some elaborate holiday activity.
Not this year. I decided instead to show "Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean", the classic 1992 holiday special and ask comprehension quizzes to the students in teams as they compete for a box of Pepero. There - problem solved, and I didn't have to plan late into a Sunday night.
The show is only 25 minutes, and we stop for questions 3 or 4 times - things like "Is Mr. Bean's girlfriend wearing gloves or mittens in the market?", then they frantically write their answers on a mini whiteboard before holding it up. It's worked like a charm - lots of big laughs and students leave with a much-needed smile on their faces. Grade 1 and 2 exams begin on Friday, so anything I can do to relieve stress for everybody is well worth my time.
I love Christmas specials. I can remember watching Mr. Bean's when it was first aired. I'm pretty sure I watched it in my parents' basement with my sister and my cousin, and my out-cast Christmas ornaments and extra tree. Pretty much anything Christmas related that I watched when I was younger, is something that allows me to easily recall a "Christmas moment" in terms of place, feeling, and anything affecting my five senses. Mr. Bean means little more to the kids than a good laugh, and that's okay, too, bu to me it means remembering details of home and family which couldn't be more valuable at this time of year.
For lunch, my English classroom was open for games and I had the Rankin/Bass 1964 Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer playing on the big screen in the background. I appreciate how my students are flocking to my classroom these days to sit with the lights off around the little lit tree. A holiday sanctuary in the middle of exam stress.