Every year in December, all the lessons become Christmas themed. We practice a couple of songs with dances, learn all the vocab words you would expect of the season (the 1st and 2nd graders freak out about mistletoe) and then we cap it off with card making. This is always a good chance to teach phrases like ‘Season’s Greetings’, or ‘Merry Christmas’, as well as the basic structure of a letter (Dear & From). It is always a popular time of year to be a teacher too, since even cookie cutter lessons such as these go over really well with the students, and can easily be made to suck as much time as is necessary.
As usual, I have a bit more play with what goes on at Kaminishi Elementary, which in this case always translates to a Christmas party. Last year I was able to do one of these as well, joined by Sandy, and we just had a game of tag, some relay, and dancing with gestures to The Twelve Days of Christmas. That went alright, but I wanted to make it better this year. I decided on a good relay race, and also Christmas Bingo, with the dirty stealing of presents from each other.
The relay went really well once I got them all on the same page, and resulted in cheerful merriment by all. Basically, I split the students in half and provided them with Santa hats, reindeer antlers, and assigned a helper elf to each team. Then, these trios had to grip a strand of tinsel, weave the ‘sleigh’ through a few cones, and then deck the teachers’ ridiculous Christmas tree costumes with ornaments (2 per run). After each run, they had to switch roles with the other people waiting before they could set out again. Finally, the tinsel strands had to be wrapped around the the tree to establish completion. By the end, the teachers looked terrifically festive, and the students were smiling ear to ear.
Here was the group shot after the games. In retrospect, “Ho Ho Ho!” wasn’t a wise substitute for cheese
From there, we went up into the lunch room and played Christmas Bingo. I had prepped a number of gifts, of varying worth, and wrapped them up. If a student got a Bingo, then they could either select a present at the front of the room, or steal another student’s, in turn facing them with the same decision. One of the presents had a brick wrapped with it, and the heft made it a hot commodity. When all the available presents were claimed, the game was over and it was time to open. The gifts were a mixed bag, and I about lost it in anticipation of what they would be receiving. I had them gather around a table and got right to it, all opening at once. While all of the gifts contained some varying amount of sweets, the other items ranged from a dollar to carton of tofu. I made sure that the value of the gifts wouldn’t vary to the extent that the butt-end-of-it students would be too disappointed.
As this was wrapping up, the principal busted in the doors, dressed as Santa, and surprised them with some cake and bubbly drink. He cited their hard work on the unicycle performance that I had posted before as the reason for it. Apparently they had been scheduled to perform at the Takamatsu Winter Festival as well and were practicing hard to do their best. It was definitely a nice gesture from the principal, and I too was able to inhale a piece. Thus concluded my best Christmas party yet, and left them with a great mindset just before we all left for break.
Some of the relay game, presents, Jingeru Berusu and cake.