January in Brazil

In Brazil, January is usually a period for vacationing. After New Year’s Day though, many people continue working normally. School term, however, only starts in February. This year in particular, because the World Cup will be held here, school term will start late January. Apart from New Year’s Day and Peace Day, both on January 1st, there are no other significant celebrations this month.

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Happy Birthday!

After being introduced to vocabulary related to birthdays (gifts, party, cake, balloons, and names of toys) my students also learned to congratulate someone for their birthday and how to ask Yes/No questions with the verb TO BE.

Student 1: Happy Birthday!
Student 2: Thanks.
Student 1: This is for you. (a gift)
Student 2: Thank you very much! Is it a …….?
Student 1: Yes, it is.

Student 1: Happy Birthday!
Student 2: Thanks.
Student 1: This is for you. (a gift)
Student 2: Thank you very much! Is it a …….
Student 1: No, it isn’t. It’s a ………

After being presented to the dialog and practicing for a while, my students were given a sheet in blank.
1) They folded their sheet in two.
2) They drew and colored ( ON THE INSIDE) a gift they would like to get for their birthday or a gift they have received for their birthday.
3) Then, they drew a gift like picture ON THE OUTSIDE of the paper. (wrapping paper patterned and a ribbon)
4) Monitor students, so you have an idea of the gifts there are because later on, they will exchange their gifts. Thus, it’s important to mentally arrange them in pairs in a way everyone receives an appropriate gift.

5) After that, I chose the pairs and called them out and two by two, they acted out the conversation above and exchanged their gifts. Remember that during the dialog, they have to guess what the gift is by asking “Is it a ….?” In case the student doesn’t guess it at all, you can encourage students to ask “What is it?” In my class, there was one student alone, so I participated by drawing one gift myself. During the dialog, students exchanged their gifts and sat down
6) In the end, they glued their gift drawing to their notebooks and wrote a thank you letter.

Let’s go to the zoo

My students learned how to describe animals’ physical characteristics and abilities. The structure  learned here was the verbs HAVE and BE. Among other words, they learned MANE, STRIPES, SPOTS, FEATHERS, TAIL, SCALES, FINS, HORNS, FUR, WHISKERS, TRUNK, WINGS,TEETH. Here is a fun task designed to consolidate the structure and vocabulary:
1) Students drew, colored and cut out their favorite animal. (In order to prevent too many students from drawing the same animal, which is likely to happen, you can write the animals’ names on slips and have students draw one. That would also prevent arguments among them.)
2) After they finished their animals, they taped them to brown pieces of paper and taped them to the board.
3) We played a game.
Option 1- Q/A Practice: Students individually go to the board, point at an animal and asks a peer “What DO lions look like?” or “What DOES a lion look like?” or “What does THIS butterfly look like?” Yes/No questions can also be practiced such as “Do lions have a long tail?”
Option 2 – Hot Potato: Students sit in a circle. When the music stops, the student with the ball answers a question based on the cut outs. There can also be two balls, one for the question and one for the answer. (Another option is to simply say a sentence such as “Lions have… or Lions are… or Lions can…”. )
Option 3 – Wacky Race: This activity is suitable for children after they practice describing wild animals (abilities and physical characteristics). Students are given a sheet of paper in blank. Each student draws, colors and cuts out a different animal of their preference. After all students finish cutting out their animals , take them to a large place (in case the classroom is not big enough) and use duct tape to make a start and a finish line on the floor. Students sit behind the start line and wait for the teacher’s command (‘This animal has beautiful feathers’, ‘This animal can run fast’, ‘This animal has a long trunk’, etc…). The students whose animals’ characteristics match the commands blow their animal on the floor so it moves forward (Yes, they can´t use their hands). Tell students that they can only blow the animal once for each command, otherwise they are disqualified. The winner is the student whose animal reaches the finish line first.

Super Duper Worth it

Well All they have left now is their memories of this fantastic trip. Take a look at the album they made.

           Suggestions for Activities

Boo hoo! Vacation is over and we’re on our way back to Brazil. Although many people think traveling is more exhausting than relaxing, I think otherwise. Traveling and being able to meet different people  and see different places is totally worth it! It’s worth the twelve-hour flight and other little inconveniences such as the freezing weather.  I’ll have wonderful memories and stories to tell.The activities below have as a final outcome ‘writing about your last vacation’.

Super Duper Bummer!

Nooooo!!! Time flies when you’re having fun. It’s a bummer that we’re leaving tomorrow. There’s still so much to be seen and done! Today, we went to  MANITOU SPRINGS. We went hiking exploring, shopping and, of course,  we grabbed a bite to eat. A great place to spend some time in and shop for souvenirs.  The weather was about 8o C in the afternoon, hotter than the previous days but still cold, compared to Brasilia. The houses built there are magnificent. I only wanted to take pictures of them.

Super Duper Awesome

Going to Colorado and not going skiing is like going to Brazil and not eating feijoada or having a caipirinha (a local food and drink). We would have loved to go to Aspen but it was a four-hour trip, so we chose to go to ARAPAHOE BASIN, a ski resort which is known for having one of the longest ski seasons in North America (often from mid-October to early June) and is only two hours away from our hotel. Needless to say it was totally AWESOME!

Super Duper Family Fun

Colorado Springs today was beautiful. Let’s face it! I love my hometown, Brasilia, but snow is something I will never see there as long as I live. Therefore, I’m enjoying every minute of this fantastic trip. Despite the temperature, which was -5o C, we didn’t have any snow. We had the sun and a few clouds, though. PIKES PEAK is one hour and ten minutes away from our hotel. We left the hotel in the morning, so we could enjoy our visit as much as possible. We’ve been to GARDEN OF THE GODS, too, where we have exhibits, walks, hikes and tours. Never before had I seen such beauty. I’m delighted by it’s uniqueness and breathtaking views!

We’ve been to CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN ZOO, where we tried delicious food, visited and fed the animals and watched the Animal Show.

What do they look like?

After my students learned how to describe themselves and their peers, we did a wrap up coloring activity. Each student was given a piece of brown paper, colored pencils and markers. First, they drew and colored themselves. After that, as they taped their drawings to the board, they described themselves using the structure learned, which is “I am… / I have….”. During their description, make any necessary corrections in pronunciation. Then, they played a guessing game. I arranged them in two groups (boys X girls) and allowed them to practice the structure by referring to the drawings. For instance, a student from the boys’ group said to a student in the girls’ group “This student is…/has…, who is that?” After discussing with her team, if the girl answers the question correctly, the girls get the point. They take turns for awhile until they have practiced enough. The team with more points is the winner. Students can also ask “What does ____ look like?” (Make sure that they answer the questions by using “He is…/He has…”)

 Optional: Tic Tac Toe
In case there are 9 students or more, tape their drawings on the board as in a tic tac toe grid (three columns of three drawings each). As students describe the drawings correctly, tape cut outs of Xs or Os on them.