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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Belated April Fool!

This post should have appeared earlier but I have only just got around to writing it... for some reason I've not had the energy to write anything this week - blame the clocks going forward/a cold (but hopefully not hayfever!)/ my beginning running (a funny mixture of jogging and walking at the moment but I'm getting there)/this long, long term or whatever, but the fact is that I haven't even felt like going on Twitter or reading my usual blog list, let alone writing on my own. I haven't even particpated in ELTchat for the past three weeks! I hope it is not some kind of social networking burn out. However, having just read, albeit quickly, all the posts that were waiting for me on Google Reader, I thought it was about time I jumped back in!

Friday, as you know, was April Fool's Day. In previous years I don't think I have even remembered to pay special attention to the date, but with all the hours I spend on the internet at the moment it would have been hard to miss. As with one class we had just finished a unit of work, I decided to spend Thursday's lesson talking about April Fool's Day. There was actually a page in their book about this unusual day, so we had a look at that to see what it was all about, and role played the two situations that were illustrated (1- swapping salt for sugar, 2 - a whoopee cushion). I was very surprised to hear that very few of the nine to eleven year old children had never played (or received) a practical joke on anybody. Although the 1st April is just a normal day here in Spain, they have their own Día de los santos inocentes on 28th December where people play pranks and jokes on each other. I then played my the trick "The Severed Finger" on them. Of course, these kids were to old to actually fall for the trick, but they found it fun and all wanted to make one for themselves. You can see the video of the trick here.

I also have a class who hate using their course book and so more often than not we do alternative activities. I have written about these students before recently here and here.  These teenagers like to see a personal side of their teacher - they never stop nagging me about going swimming after I told them that my new year's resolution was to go swimming two to three times per week! They like to have a laugh in class, so I thought it might be nice to try an April Fool on them too, but this time a more sophisticated one. For the most part, it went down well, but one of the students actually got quite angry when he discovered that it was all a joke! I'm sure he'll have forgotten all about it next week, but it just goes to show how sensitive this particular age group can be.

In the previous lesson the students had been discussing uniforms (it wasn't part of the lesson) and I told them that we could talk more about that on Thursday - very un-dogme" of me, I know, but we were talking about something completely different and I decided to draw on this sudden interest for a topic in another lesson.
In the lesson in question, I asked them about their uniforms, what they liked about them and which of the uniforms they thought were nicest (they go to two or three different schools). They asked me about uniforms in Britain. I then handed out the attached document and we read through it, together. The document explains how our English academy is introducing the concept of a "uniform" for the students and that we would be running a design competition where the best design would be chosen by the school's head. You can read it for yourself here:

Tshirt Competition

The students worked in groups to think up their designs for the t-shirt. Skills practised in the lesson included reading, speaking (although quite a bit in L1) and developing a sense of humour! They seemed quite impressed with my word processing skills "If it's not true, where did you get this handout?" and I think they see me as quite a serious person, which is why they never suspected a thing! I just hope that they can bring themselves to trust me again...

And just a quick link here to Richard Whiteside's treat for us all  and Teresa Bestwick's lovely joke, both of which I enjoyed immensely.

And copying Richard himself, here is  of classic comedy video:
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