We have tracked back in and, I have to say, this is a particularly difficult time of year for me. I deal with something akin to depression every year in January and February. Whether you call it SAD or something else, it just becomes incredibly difficult for me to find motivation, inspiration, or much of anything.
Still, the students are here and the expectation is that I will rise to the occasion and offer stimulating and meaningful instruction . . . a difficult task when I'm not feeling it inside. I put on a smile and go through the motions on difficult days and pretend. It's a bit disconcerting how many people don't even seem to notice when I'm faking it. I'm reminded of Paul McCartney's lyrics to Elanor Rigby, "Waits at the window, wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door. Who is it for?"
Now, more than ever, it is important to bring activities to class that are interesting, fun, and engaging. Yesterday I had my Spanish IV students toss a ball around and, when it came to them, they had to share something with the class (in Spanish, of course). Here are some topics for sharing:
A present you received for Christmas
Something fun you did over track-out
A resolution for the New Year
A wish/hope for the New Year
A Christmas tradition in your family
A New Year's tradition in your family
I only give them about 30 seconds from the prompt until I toss the ball, so they have to think fast.
It's important to have a very soft ball for this activity because it is easy for things to get carried away or for people to get hit by accident - even in an attentive group.
Today I brought in a couple of toys I got for Christmas that I'm going to share with the students, even though they don't have any direct connection to Spanish. I can still introduce them and describe them in Spanish. One is a Tetris lamp that lights up as you use it - extremely cool. The other one might get me into trouble but I decided to risk it because the fun potential is so great. It is an air gun which shoots a puff of air at people up to 20 feet away. It doesn't do much more than ruffle your hair and papers, but it gets a great reaction from people. The product is called Airzooka and it is a hoot and a half - honestly.
After we play for a bit, we are going to write New Year's resolutions and make predictions for the new year using the future tense. I have until 5th period to come up with a way to make it super fun and engaging, but I think I can do it.
I don't get much in the way of comments and discussions here as a general rule, but if you have ideas for how you make your classes exciting on those days when you might not be feeling so excited yourself, I would love to hear them! Any and all inspiration would be appreciated at this time, amigos.