To celebrate the end of a hard years work for my kids I treated them to non-textbook special lessons in the last week of March which marks the end of the school year in Japan. This was basically the follow up to last years Kung Fu Panda special lesson
and involved the manipulation of their standard text to fit in with the animal characters (from the Kung Fu Panda film) flashcards that I made and laminated and the making of a Po (the title character) mask before the culmination of some games played whilst wearing it. To be honest, I was quite disappointed with these lessons as I hadn’t anticipated so many students being absent as they were on school holiday. My efforts had been geared towards doing this themed lesson with the majority of kids in attendance.
Anyway, despite my somewhat wasted efforts (cutting out many rough templates of the Panda mask using old cereal boxes the night before each day) the lessons were still enjoyed a by a fair number of kids (I teach a lot of kids groups which were all mostly depleted that week) and gave them a break from the normal course syllabus.
Kung Fu Panda
was the surprise hit of last year for me as I originally thought it was some horrible cutesy cr*p aimed at the Japanese market. I saw it on the plane last summer when I went to Malaysia and again when I went to Laos via Bangkok as I was so tired that I fell asleep with 20 minutes left the first time I watched it.
While at home at Christmas I bought a cheap Kung Fu Panda
annual in the sales which inspired me to use some of the material inside it as part of my special Kung Fu Panda lesson recently. Having photocopied many pictures of Po (the star of the film), and a maze, wordsearch and ‘cut out’ mask I went about constructing a special fun-packed animal lesson loosely based around some of the units in the kids books. I never do craft work in kids lessons as I have always been of the opinion that in regular lessons it is bit of a cop-out when they are there to learn, practice and produce English via a wide variety of activities and games. However, I guess there’s a time and place for craft work and as a couple of my groups were ahead of pacing I decided to allow them to make a panda poster one week (using the target language of the recent units) and then a mask the following one which was worn while playing the ‘fishing for animals’ magnet game (see pictures to get the idea!)
On top of that I also incorporated some of my personal items into the lesson such as any random animal photos I have (i.e. me holding a crocodile, me and Gromit the dog, swimming with fish, riding an elephant, Jaws, an Okinawan buffalo, my ‘Pringles’ duck impression and so on), my frog ‘croaking’ guiro-type thing, my Aussie magnets, coasters and cork hat.
Special ‘Fu Juice’ was on the menu in one of the lessons which was basically just a bottle of green tea with a new label on it. The kids were fooled up until they tasted it! I also shared out some cheap animal biscuits which had the written English word on them which was a chance to re-enforce their phonics and not just me trying to buy popularity!! Overall, the students seemed to enjoy these special themed lessons and I will now keep an eye out to see how I can shoehorn other such film related things into my lessons.