Thursday, 10 May 2012

Book Report Season

Recently in the English Department  at school we've been running a book contest for the children. A day before it started all the foreign teachers were given 5 minutes to throw together a promotional video for the school's website.



I really don't understand why I haven't picked up a major Hollywood film debut with my wonderful acting...

Since that day, I think I've read the book Mary Elizabeth's House by Pamela Allen about 100 times as we demonstrate to the kids how to write a book report to enter the competition with. The main points being in bold below, the students just had to finish the sentences. Imagine how hard it was to keep a straight face when I noticed that the majority of the kids' answers went something like this...

This story is about...Mary Elizabeth and her monster killing the boys.
I liked it when...the monster killed the boys.
I wonder why...the monster didn't kill Mary Elizabeth too?
If I were the monster then I would eat all of the boys.
Tomorrow... Mary Elizabeth will kill the rest of the boys.

They're literally obsessed with death and dying. Natasha and I are endlessly coming back from classes with stories of how they have somehow managed to bring up some sort of morbid subject.

In my 6th grade class we spoke about special event days, such as Valentines day, Halloween etc. and then told the children they had to think up their own that the school could celebrate. One of my boys decided to introduce Mafia day where everyone walks around shooting each other...ok you creepy child. Another example is when Natasha used a photo of a forest to elicit some vocab, e.g. what would you find in the woods? Her third grade boy answered 'dead bodies'.

They're also infatuated with the old finger-across-throat gesture to show someone's dead. I was teaching my 5th graders a story about a llama(don't ask) and when I told them the llama had died, did this gesture. This was greeted with a standing ovation, and then a re-enactment of the whole llama death scene.

In a culture where the adults are so so timid, it's absolutely bizarre to see their crazy children and the things that they become fixated with. Lots of times the kids are so literate in English that I forget how young they are, until they're allowed free reign in a writing exercise, which always acts as a wake up call!