I am always trying to teach my kids the difference between parts of speech… something that is often overlooked when teaching foreign language. I think that understanding the structure of a language makes it much eaiser to think in that language; at least that is how I began to really learn Armenian. Another one of my goals has been to introduce more projects into the class room. My students love projects! They love when I give them a long term project that they will have to present to the class, it makes them excited about class. Which is a switch from American students who groan when a teacher announces a new project.
So from these goals came the idea for an excellent project that I called Noun Town!! This was a three part lesson. The first part of the lesson students got into two groups and wrote all the people, places and things that a town would need to run. My fifth grade class really ran away with this part. One of the groups came up with 150 words!! Remember this is their 3rd language, and they have only been studying it for 2 years! So it was really fantastic to see such excitement. This is also my class that loves competition so it was really fun just to sit back and watch them try to steal words from each other and sneak peeks at the other’s list. My student Romela who by far is the brain in the class but also the calm shy quiet girl burst into an angry tirade when she caught a boy from the other team trying to look at her list. In the middle of class she yelled out I will murder you if you come any closer. The whole class was taken aback because it’s just so uncharacteristic of her… though I have to say English class does bring out the cutthroat in her!
The second part of the class the students had to draw a picture of their town and label it. Everything had to be on one small poster board, but the catch was that whatever they put on the poster board they would have to remember because they would have to present it as a group and be able to answer questions. The kids really loved this part. They all worked together so well making pictures and studying the new words. Finally they had to present the project to the class. Each presentation was about three minutes long… which is a lot of English for them to be speaking!!! They had to tell me what their noun town has and who works at the various places. I have posted the video of my 5th grades presentations on my youtube channel… it’s really cute to watch them! My sixth grade class also did this project but 5th grade just blew them out of the water with the depth of their projects…. The best part is hearing them correct each other and showing them what the other team was missing. You know your students are very involved in a project when they come up to you during the day and say Miss Alyssa the other team doesn’t have a bus station in their town, they can’t go anywhere!! So anyways we had a very exciting week in my classes and the winner of the presentations got stickers in their books as well as homemade cookies by their very own, Miss Alyssa! I couldn’t have been more pleased with this project and with my students!!!