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In this season of graduations and impending summer vacation, we thought it would be appropriate to reflect on different ways to bring the celebration into the classroom. Keep reading to learn 4 ways to celebrate in the TEFL classroom.
Summer break is almost here and students everywhere are anxiously awaiting their final days in the classroom. With everything from testing to parties going on, it can be a time where emotions run high. Students may be moving away from a favorite teacher or a group of friends. Teachers may be sad to see a great class move on to the next level of study. Therefore, it’s a wonderful moment in the classroom experience to take a breath, celebrate how far everyone has come, and look to the future with a sense of happy anticipation. So put on your party hat and let’s dive into 4 ways to celebrate the end of term in the TEFL classroom!
How it works: First, the teacher has each student write their name on a slip of paper and put it in a hat. Then each student chooses a name from the hat but keeps it a secret. The teacher then explains that they will be making a “Congratulations Card” for that person. Paper and art supplies are provided to the students and they are given a few minutes to draw, decorate and write nice messages to their classmate. Finally, the students get to “send” their card to their secret partner and enjoy reading their own. The teacher may choose to finish this activity by placing the cards on display and allowing the students time to walk around the class and read the messages.
How it works: This drawing and speaking activity is a great way to involve students in celebrating their classmates’ upcoming achievements and showing support for one another as they leave one class and move to another. It is also the perfect opportunity to review future tense grammar, if that was a topic covered in the course.
To begin, the teacher passes out a piece of blank paper to each student. The teacher then models the timeline on the whiteboard by drawing a line with four to five milestones at different points. These milestones can be personal and professional—anything representing achievements the person wishes to make in the future. The teacher continues the model by having the students ask follow-up questions related to the drawing such as:
What are you going to do in 20____?
Where do you hope to travel to in 3 years?
Why do you want to go to graduate school?
When do you plan to buy your dream home?
The students create their own timelines, stand up, find a partner, and interview each other on their future goals and dreams. After speaking to three or four students, the class can return to their seats and report back to their partner about what they learned.
How it works: Imagine that you are teaching a last day lesson for the certificate level at your school. The students are graduating and moving onto bigger and better things, using their hard-earned English skills to further their life purpose. If you want an activity to boost confidence and also give a feeling of both closure and excitement for the future, this is a wonderful choice.
To begin, the teacher reviews the format of letter writing. The teacher then explains to the students that they need to write a letter to themselves from the future, which they can open in five years. In the letter they must detail all they have accomplished in those five years and how they feel about each one as if it has already happened. They can congratulate themselves, encourage themselves, offer advice or support. Then the teacher passes out paper and allows the students 10 to 15 minutes to brainstorm and write their letters. The class can have fun folding up their letters and sealing them in envelopes labeled “Open in 20___”. Afterwards, the students could share in pairs or small groups about some of their future accomplishments. Alternatively, the teacher could hold a “reunion party” where students mingle with one another as if it is five years in the future. As they speak, they must describe what they have done over the past five years as if it has already happened!
How it works: The teacher starts by seating the students in a circle. The teacher then hands out small pieces of paper, asks each student to write a “never have I ever” statement that is true for them that they believe none of their classmates know, and to fold the slip of paper in half. The teacher collects all the slips of paper and places them in a bowl. Each student then draws a slip from the bowl. All students place one hand (five fingers) on their desk. Each finger represents one “life”. The student with the most “lives” left at the end of the game will win.
To begin, one student is chosen to go first. It is best to use a strong student. They must read the statement they drew and guess which classmate it belongs to. The more the class has bonded, the more fun this part will be. All the students must “answer” if they have done that activity or not. If they have, they must remove (bend) one finger. If they have not, they can leave their hand as is. The game moves from student to student around the circle until everyone has had a chance to speak and share their statement. The student with the most fingers, or “lives”, remaining on the desk wins!!!