The 60-90 minutes before the first kids Halloween party is always a fairly frantic and stressful affair for me as tables are dismantled and moved out of the classroom along with the chairs and pretty much any sign of regular school activity such as posters and so on. It’s also early on a Sunday morning and we have to put up decorations, change into our costumes, prepare the materials for the lesson (most are already made but we still need to find them!) and greet the students and their parents as they trickle in ready for the 10:30am start.
This year there were about 36 students in total with 20 of them belonging to the earlier group of predominately PG and KG levels. This meant that Lai Keun and I had to teach separate classes which was kind of a shame as its quite nice to co-teach on occasions and not just because it means less work!
My first group was nine kids including three regulars of mine plus a couple of their siblings which is always slightly more reassuring than having a completely unknown quantity. Regular activities included an actions warmer, name/age drill, flashcard stuff including stations, bowling, feed the pumpkin, adjectives of emotions (happy, sad, scared, angry) stuff and the classic pass the parcel where inevitably the music stops for each kid to win a prize. Who’d have thought it?!
I’m usually more than happy to stick with the tried and tested games but it’s nice to throw in one or two new activities and this time I excelled by including three new ones! These included balloon race (using a cone to carry a balloon across the room as fast as possible – silly but fun!), throwing hoops on witches hats and a pin the tail-type game where the kids are blindfolded and spun round before attempting to stick the nose on the witch.
The final couple of activities were basically just filler whilst I waited for Lai-Keun to merge the two groups for the craft activity. As things were behind schedule we finally decided, after much indecision, to scrap the snack break. As is tradition, we finished with hit the piñata where the kids bashed the well-worn star-shaped piñata a couple of times each before it was emptied all over the place and the kids scrambled to get their free candy. They were all given a couple of goodie bags and were sent on their way with the snacks we never stopped for.
Just under an hour later and we set off again with groups of just under ten students.
My focus, as it has been in recent years, was very much on the fun and games so we began with two teams competing in feed the pumpkin using chopsticks instead of spoons which the earlier group used. This went very well and I just wish I had more mini pumpkins for it too last longer!
Despite supposedly being a group of higher level students, their knowledge of the Halloween lexical nouns was probably lower than the previous group…or maybe they were just a bit more shy! I tried to elicit the words before drilling them and a simple game of Slap followed which is a common game for regular lessons but not one I’m usually too keen to do at a party. A chain drill was next and as usual was quite good fun for such an activity.
Activities didn’t stray too far from the previous session with bowling, balloon race, hoops on hats and the fairly spontaneous idea of using chopsticks (again!) to put the scary eyeball ping-pong balls on top of one of the bowling bottles! Not exactly oozing in production of English language but that was never the aim. I did plan to do a race and circle/erase game but with a couple of very young ones in the class I decided against it.
Sticking the nose on the witch wasn’t an activity I planned to do in lesson two but I went with it in the end and typically it was the most successful activity and provided lots of laughs.
As with the earlier lesson, both our groups came together for the craft activity and yet again the clock was running down so we axed the snack break and by the time we had taken a group photo, announced the costume winners and done hit the piñata we had actually gone ten minutes over which is quite rare. Unlike with the first group, there is a bit less pressure on us to finish exactly on time with the final class of the day.
Click on the years below to see my ‘Spook-tacular Halloween’ blog entry for each one…