I didn’t even think about this, but it’s even St. Patrick’s Day as I write this! Well, by golly!
Bulletin Board (Middle School)
Shamrock decorations: I cut these out by hand using the green paper from the storage room by the office using this template (moms make the best decorations), and glued the ends together with liquid glue so it’ll stick foreverrrr! I guess I could just buy decorations, but I wasn’t anywhere near planning that far ahead, I had time to do this, and I get drawn in by all the pretty colors of paper in the office…I think the most time-consuming part of these boards after figuring out what to do in the first place is making borders. Hopefully, I can just use all the same ones next year.
Word of the Month: I’m really starting to like this section, because it takes up a lot of space, but still manages to remain educational and look good. If there’s too much English stuffed into this board, I feel like students won’t try to read it. I should probably change “word(s)” to “phrase,” since it keeps ending up being phrases anyway.
Mail section: I put the old Valentine’s worksheets in the left basket and filled the right basket with new St. Patrick’s activities. This time, I had this maze (I guess the pictures on the worksheet have changed since I downloaded this…?) and a hidden picture puzzle (#3 on the list–the original website has even more). These aren’t quite as “educational,” unless you count the words written next to the pictures you’re supposed to find in the hidden picture puzzle, but it was still fun enough to be a class distraction!
Happy Birthday: This month (March) is Keira Knightley, Justin Bieber, YUI, Sato Takeru, Becky, Matsuyama Kenichi, Sanji, and Shanks. If you’re looking to do something like this and don’t want to keep researching birthdays, now you know :)
St. Patrick’s Day Explanatory page: this was probably also unnecessary…there’s a lot of English on it and I can’t prove that anyone looked at it or tried to read it. I made it because I didn’t have time to do a St. Patrick’s Day presentation at the middle school, and felt like I should at least try to explain St. Patrick’s Day somehow, since no one really knows about it and the whole board ended up being dedicated to it. I scanned a blank version first, and I’d like to upload it later once I figure out where and how to use a scanner here.
Spotlight Section: I had a couple pages with pictures of different famous places in Ireland, sometimes a short explanation about the place, and also a map of Ireland with letters denoting where each place is. I know this is probably waaaay overboard in terms of English use, but I won’t know if it’s too hard/easy until I try!
Comics: Pusheen, pizza edition. The English in the St. Patrick’s-themed one seemed too hard.
Free-Write: I love reading this, haha, although pop culture and band member names tend to dominate it.
That pretty much covers the board! At the elementary school, I don’t use bulletin boards, but I had the freedom to spend an entire class on St. Patrick’s Day. My powerpoint was organized like this:
- St. Patrick (some kids noticed the snakes in this picture. Did you know that there’s a legend that St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland? haha)
- Where is Ireland? (& picture of Ireland)
- Wearing green or getting pinched
- Shamrocks/4-leaf clovers
- (quick introduction to Lucky Charms cereal)
- Leprechaun traps (real pictures)
- The color green–dyeing the Chicago River green (real pictures)
- The color green–green food (real pictures)
- Quick quiz at the end
The presentation took over half the period. I think the students were interested, though, and the teachers too, because unless they go to an eikaiwa (after-school English class), they probably haven’t heard of this holiday. It was really funny to see their reactions to the green food. I feel like American kids would be like “awesome, look at that gross food, I want to try it!” while my Japanese students were like “ewwww!” I guess I’m probably just reinforcing the stereotype that American food and sweets often have unnaturally bright colors, since in Japan, food (even snacks) don’t tend to have such bold colors. Roughly the same reaction for Lucky Charms, too. Still, there were still some kids who raised their hand saying they wanted to try these foods^^
After, I handed out blank sheets of B5 paper and asked kids to draw their own leprechaun trap! I really liked this activity, because it’s exactly what kids in an elementary school would do for St. Patrick’s Day in the US. Some of the kids got really creative, and were standing next to me explaining how their trap worked before turning it in. One kid even had a 10-step plan to trap the leprechaun and put him to sleep or something.
Actually, I had most of this finished in February, since I wanted to put the board up right away instead of in pieces like my Christmas board, and I’ve been working on April, which I hope to upload and explain here soon! I think this board is a little work-intensive, and I don’t know if I’ll be able to do something completely different next year or keep up with what I’ve been doing the last couple months, but for now, I hope this helps people get some ideas if you’re looking for them! (even if it’s a little late now…) Another theme for next year might be pi day. Somebody tell me if you do that–I’d love to hear your ideas!
~ * ~ * ~ Happy St. Patrick’s Day! ~ * ~ * ~
Song of the Day: “Catch the Moments As They Fly” (ignore random video)