Friday, 28 October 2011

Trick or treat? Getting spooked!

Trick or treat? Getting spooked!

My kitchen table getting ready for some Halloween action!

It's this time of the year once more! Halloween takes place every year for practically a week at our school. In my view, it's important for my students to learn something new about a different culture. And what's better than this opportunity of diverse celebrations. Experience taught me that Greek students find Halloween a little "strange" at first, however they eventually succumb to its magic!

My -last year's-Jack! (credits to my beloved mommy who has become an absolute expert in carving pumpkins over the years)

Younger students are usually taken aback by the decorations all around school and in the classrooms; they also declare of being afraid of the "ghosts and ghouls" and all the other mysterious creatures scattered everywhere. This is a good moment to make something clear: play with the young students, don't try to scare them. A great opportunity to do this is by starting with some arts and crafts projects. I often begin making some decorations in front of them so they wouldn't be so surprised when they come in for the actual celebration. Eventually, I "lure" them and they end up making the decorations themselves! That would be a nice time to begin something together! There is a variety of sites to get help from-there are so many of them, that sometimes it is overwhelming! Of course, you will soon get the hang of it and remember to store your creations for the next year's celebration or to bookmark sites and note down interesting ideas.

Young trick or treaters (an amature Greek version, wearing only masks)

From the youngsters to the older ones, students can get busy with activities such as card making, Halloween coloring pages, crafting, playing with flashcards and of course, watching "appropriate" spooky Halloween films and TV episodes for a classroom or even listening to some wonderfully narrated spooky stories.

Obviously, if you have never tried presenting something similar to your students, please don't get disappointed or discouraged by the lack of enthusiasm-not of the students!- but of the schools' owners or unfortunately, of your colleagues! If you carefully plan and make an organized presentation to your "boss", I'm sure that he/she will be convinced to try it at least once! I'm absolutely positive that when they'll see the students excitement, they will too embrace this celebration and make it a part of their annual program. I had never had that opportunity to do so when I was an employee, so now that I'm an owner, I have the time of my life every year! Give Halloween a chance and you'll never regret it!

Happy Halloween!

Useful links:

youtube vids:

Nightmare before Christmas

Scary stories

Alfred Hitchcock's Ghost Stories for Young People Part 1

Halloween Songs for Kids

Five Little Pumpkins

Witches' Brew--Hap Palmer

Famous Ghost Stories

Pumpkin Feels Lonely

Scary Halloween Story

Arts and crafts, printables, worksheets, history: (choose wisely)

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Excuses, excuses

There's something I always remind my students: I was once one of them and I used excuses in my everyday school life. Case in point: months have passed since my last post and I have a zillion of good excuses. Are they good? We'll see...

Things are still a little crazy after September's enrollment season with having to organize everything, from the Curriculum to the schedule and the last details before the beginning of the school year. The fact that my mother broke her arm didn't help either... God bless her though, she has been one of the best patients ever! Does she have a good excuse to complain? Yes, of course she does.

My students and I still struggle to get used to our daily routine between home and school, however I know for a fact that we'll be just fine in about a week's time. We are just waiting for the weather to change and it has changed since yesterday. Do we have a good excuse to whine and say that it's still early and we still have to "adjust" to some things? Naaah, I don't know about it...

Everything's changing around us, day by day. Some see a gloomy world, others are indefferent and have a more fatalistic view of the current situation in Greece at the moment. One thing is for sure though; no one is optimistic.
What can you say to a child about all this? To a teenager who doesn't get the same amount of pocket money, or even no pocket money at all? How can you explain to them that their parents are the ones that really struggle every single day to get by. What to you say to one of your former students, whose parents don't earn enough to enroll him to my school, just because they both lost their jobs and they cannot find new ones. When people don't have the means to put food on the table every day, they won't send their kid to my school or to any other school for that matter. Do they have a good excuse? Yes, of course they do.

What is a good excuse for public schools not having books? The Recession? Perhaps, the world's financial crisis is a better one? A country proud of its heritage, but so uncertain for the future. A country which does not offer the right to free education to its children, to its citizens. So, do I have a good excuse to refuse help and reject them when some of my students ask me to help them also with some other subjects at public school, find some websites for them to practice and let them use the school's computers. I definitely have run out of excuses. I always try to follow my wise father's piece of advice. "Do whatever you can for yourself and for others, and don't expect anything in return. You'll be a happy woman." No more excuses...