The final stretch was English camp at my school this past week, which had me a little worried at first. Not only would my mother arrive in the country the weekend before so I'd have to prepare early, but I would have to plan to teach a mix of third and fourth grade students in three rotating groups of twenty at a time for 50 minutes each. I'd never taught the third grade before, and only see the fourth grade on Fridays (half of the fourth grade classes, alternating every other week). After asking about what to expect from the third grade, I was warned ahead of time that they were in the beginning stages of English- in fact only just learning the write the alphabet. Oh dear. Mrs. Shim was set to be there on Monday and Tuesday, Mrs. Im for the other days, so at least I wouldn't be without assistance. And my mom would be there to sit in for a couple of days which was really cool. The worrying went away after I got there and saw everyone all together.
It was great to finally be able to interact with the third grade (my English room shares their hallway but we only talk in passing) and spend more time with fourth. The younger kids seems more willing to speak up around their peers and play without being embarrassed. Plus, with two students writing "Voldemort" and "Barack Obama" on their name tags, the tone for the week was set to be very fun.
(Above: "Barack Obama")
This is the topic breakdown I settled on for the camp:
Day 1: Body parts.
Day 2: Letter games.
Day 3: Animals.
Day 4: Colors, Shapes, Numbers.
Day 5: Likes and dislikes.
On day one, I learned that they already seemed to know most of the basic body parts. Though a few of them still needed to be taught that we have two feet and not two foot. Mrs. Shim encouraged me to teach additional words upon pointing and asking me what things were, and I'm not sure which was more funny, having twenty little kids chanting "belly button" or "butt."
On day two, I found that the third grade had been misjudged. Not only could they write the alphabet, they could write several words and, on a worksheet I challenged them with, the letters that came before and after after other letters. I played two games that went over very well. For the first, I put magnetic letters on the whiteboard and made them form two lines. When I called out a letter (uppercase or lowercase- I had both sets up there), the pair at the front of the lines would have to find and circle the letter on the board. Each team had a different colored marker, and the winning team had the most circles in the end. For the second game they formed three lines. I showed the student in the back of each line a letter, and they had to draw the letter on the back of the student in front of them, which was then passed forward until the person at the front of a line could say the correct letter. The first game required more speed and quick thinking, while in the second the team that went the fastest seemed to make the most mistakes during the letter transfer.
Animals for day three started with a focus on plurals and basic articles since I found out quickly that many students had a vast animal vocabulary already. It can't just be "dog" in a sentence- drilling vocab is great until they start saying "I have dog" or "dog is pretty." We also talked about how animals move and put them into the categories: walk, run, fly, swim, hop, and climb. for the final activity, I made them choose three animals, mix them together, and make them into a new animal. Then they had to circle Yes/No questions (Can it climb? can it fly? etc).
Day four was my favorite. After counting to twenty and reviewing what they already knew about colors and shapes, I put all three things together. I brought a bunch of cut up shapes from various colors of poster paper. I told all the students to scatter them throughout the room, then when I called out a color (blue, green, yellow, orange, purple, and pink), they had to race around the room and find them, then place them around the corresponding color name card on the ground around the room. One student chose to put a blue triangle in Mrs. Im's hand, so she had to stand there in the same place holding it up until I called out blue- which of course I held out on for a few rounds. Once all of the shapes were found, I made them tell me the number of pink shapes, blue shapes, squares, triangles, animal shapes, etc.
Afterwards, they returned all of the shapes to me, and I called out other colors or shapes for them to find in classroom objects. The door was a rectangle, the computer a square, the clock a circle. My favorite was oval- one girl pointed to my face, another boy found a paper cup and squished the top of it down a bit.
Day five was shorter than the rest, because the start of the day was spent on surveys and the end on a quiz game and distribution of gifts to all of the students. The class was only thirty minutes, so I spent the time talking about likes and dislikes and what our favorite things are. I ended with a game where everyone sat on chairs in a big circle with one person in the middle to start by asking the question "Do you like _____?" If the seated students liked whatever they chose to say, they had to shout "yes I do!" and quickly run to a new chair. The person left standing without a seat left had to ask the next question. It wasn't a game of winners and losers, though in one class they deemed me the loser because I was the one left without a chair, well, "teacher, six times!"