Today I taught my first 8th grade English class. Finally, I got to be the one that understands what's going on! 8th grade is a challenging class because its students are generally the loud, obnoxious bunch with a sprinkling of the too quiet and shy to speak crowd. I think I managed to get most of them engaged in today's lesson though. Of course, my giant bowl of candy which I liberally doled out to anyone who attempted to participate didn't hurt. I did have to send Justo out of the class for misbehaving and refusing the pay attention. I'm not naive and I know he acts like that for all of his teachers, but it really hurt my feelings that he treated me like that on my first day. The rest of my boys were pretty well-behaved, though, and that encouraged me.
I decided to teach the names for animals. So, I began by having a volunteer read Genesis 2:19-20: "So he took some soil from the ground and formed all the animals and all the birds. Then he brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and that is how they all got their names." Then, I wrote the new vocabulary on the board and we practiced saying each word while they copied it into their notebooks. I had them try to guess what the Spanish word for each animal was. Then we played a game to help us practice saying the words out loud. First I taught them to say "I walk in the woods and I see a _______." Each person had to repeat the phrase and fill in the blank with the animal they see and the animals of each person who went before them. It was like a memory game. Every time they got it right, they got a piece of candy.
Tomorrow I'm going to play a different game and teach the story of Noah's Ark at the same time. For homework, they'll have to draw a picture of the ark with animals from their vocabulary list and label them correctly. It may sound a little babyish for 8th graders, but I think they need a little diversion from the usual memorization routines they're used to. Besides, it will give them a chance to be a little creative, which they rarely get to do.
I never pictured myself as a teacher, but after class several of the students told me how much they enjoyed the class. I think they paid attention and had fun...and maybe accidentally learned some English too!