October 27, 2010

Happy Halloween Week!

I think one of the biggest perks of my job is the fact that I get to do all sorts of fun crafts in the name of teaching my students about American culture. Seeing as this is Halloween Week, our schedule is packed with all sorts of festivities that I'm super excited to share.

I introduced several activities to introduce the holiday, and then I asked each of my three newcomer students to select an activity (I gave them some ideas to choose from) of their own to prepare and teach the class. The great thing about this is that it forces them to use their English (as the teacher) and it relieves me of the burden of buying all the supplies (therefore, allowing us to take on even more projects).

Here's what's on our agenda for the week:

1. Pumpkin Carving - This was hilarious because none of my students have ever even seen the inside of a pumpkin before. Watching their faces as they cleaned out out the "guts" was priceless! They were most excited for this activity because they've seen jack-o-lanterns outside peoples' homes but don't have any of their own (mostly for financial reasons) so I was super happy to give them this experience.

2. Witches Fingers - This is a relatively easy activity where we used air-dry clay (Crayola makes some, but let me tell you it is not easy to find. I finally found some at Office Depot in case you're interested.) to cover our pens. If you use a little extra clay in the middle and add some detail with a toothpick, it looks like a knuckle. Then, we glued on some fake nails and painted them green with nail polish. Once they dried, the clay cracked a little bit, which I think makes them look even more like an old, witch fingers. My students are super excited to write with their new pens tomorrow once they are fully dried.

3. Spider Cupcakes - For this activity, I first taught them my "magic trick" of making cupcakes with cake mix and a can of pop. They thought this was incredible, and I'm certain they will never again make a cake with oil and eggs. Haha! Once the cakes were cool, we frosted them with chocolate icing, placed licorice pieces to make spider legs, covered the top with an Oreo cookie, and used icing to make two little eyes. Even my administrators had to stop by to enjoy the sweet treats.

4. Dancing Skeletons - I found a cute skeleton template online, which we transferred to poster board. After cutting out all of the bones, we attached them with paper fasteners so that each joint can still be moved. Not only are these adorable decorations in our classroom, but we will be able to refer to them in the future when we learn the names of the bones in our bodies!

5. Cup O' Worms - This is pretty much the "dirt cake" I made as a kid, only it's made in individual plastic cups so the kids can see the levels of dirt and the hidden worms. Also, the student who taught this project insists on sour worms because they are "so much gooder!"

6. Halloween Breakfast - I am not ashamed to admit that I got the idea for this in an Eloise Halloween Movie we watched today in class. In one scene, the butler serves pumpkin pancakes and jack-o-lantern juice (AKA orange juice). I'm kicking it up a notch by adding chocolate chips to design faces on our pumpkins and some red food coloring to my syrup so each bite can be dripping with "blood." My students are super excited for this treat, which we plan to enjoy on Friday.

7. Books, Books, Books! - A quick trip to my public library later, I had two hands full of great Halloween books for children. I'm reading several to the class, and then each student is in charge of learning one on their own, which they will read during our Spooky Storytelling time on Friday.

Sounds like a fun week, huh? I'm already looking forward to Thanksgiving!

October 19, 2010

Today Was Good

Today was a good day. Here's why:
  1. I woke up just before my alarm went off. As in one-minute early (pretty good internal clock, right?) This pleases me because I hate being startled awake.
  2. I got a free coffee at 7-11 this morning. Because they were out of the fat-free French vanilla cappuccino I was craving and I had to wait a whole two minutes. So nice, huh?
  3. I acquired a new, stainless steel Air Pot, which my mom was going to sell at a garage sale this weekend because I thought it was white (like the other one I opened)... which definitely doesn't match my kitchen. Never mind the fact that I don't even have my own house yet... the kitchen is planned in my mind, and it includes all stainless steel appliances. Anyway, when the time comes, I can now refill your mug with hot coffee in style! And for free! Be jealous!
  4. I hurt my knee at Zumba last night (this isn't the good part), so I decided to give myself tonight off from my "Anything Goes" class to rest so I can be ready for Zumba again tomorrow. This turned into a surprise blessing (a phrase stolen from my dear friend, Maria) because I didn't have a chiropractor appointment today either, meaning I didn't have anything I had to do after school today for the first time since my car accident. And. It. Felt. Awesome!
  5. I was treated to an after-school date with my Mama at a smoothie/shake place where I enjoyed a caramel apple shake, which was not only delicious but also healthy. Yes... you read that right. Each shake has 24 grams of protein and less than 6 grams of fat. I may have found my new favorite treat!
  6. I received an email from the Director of ELL in my district today asking if I would be willing to cover my current position for the remainder of the year since the teacher has decided not to return this year. This means I will be getting a salary again... and benefits... and that I don't have to worry about finding another job until next year! I cannot tell you the sense of relief I feel at this moment.

Hope your day was as good as mine! :)