For instance, today we had shortened periods, and my Seventh grade Exploratory Spanish class was the last "event" before a three day weekend, guaranteed to make any age kid squirrelly, but junior high age in particular will be prone to lose it...
So, figuring I was fighting a losing battle, I start class by turning to the board and drawing a table, then asking one of the top gals (all in Spanish) what words they know for things that could be put on the table.
They don't know all those words, so they start to guess, as they are supposed to. She comes up with CASA (house), so I say, (again all in Spanish) "Yes, the table is related to the house, but I don't think I'll put it ON the table." I draw a rug underneath the table so it is obvious it is INSIDE a house and pass to another student.
She selects "niña" (little girl), so I show a puzzled look on my face, shrug, turn and DRAW A VERY SILLY looking little girl, sitting on the upper edge of the table, feet handing over the edge.
Not getting it at all, the next child takes "niño", so I add a slightly taller head behind the little girl, two legs sticking straight out next to her bent ones, and stick a crew cut on the head.
Not to be outdone, the class clown chooses the doctor character, so I STAND him on the table, bending over, arms outstretched as if to PUSH THE KIDS OFF THE TABLE. They are pretty well laughing now, as 1) I can't draw people worth a hoot, and 2) the IDEA of a DOCTOR standing on a table is innately goofy and not something their teachers generally suggest.
The next kid takes a PLATE. WOW! A logical thinker! We then get a glass, spoon and chair in pretty rapid order.
Water! I draw it in the glass. Things are looking up. We might even be able to EAT on this table shortly...
Nope! The next suggestion is COFFEE, but nobody has given me a cup or bowl...
So, explaining (again, only in Spanish) that the coffee is hot and will BURN the doctor's feet and the little boy and girl, -- (lots of pantomime here) followed by a POT, labeled CAFE in case anyone didn't recognize my drawing...
Lots of laughter. Do I get a cup? Nope! I get a CAR. I look positively astounded, then shrug, and draw an arrow off to the side. I make the square for the table top, draw a car body and wheels HUGE on top, put two stick people partially out from the edge of the table, and tell them how sad the demise of the people was in the accident where the car crashed into the kitchen.
The next suggestion is egg, so with a happy smile on my face, I put it on the plate. Then comes knife, fork, and TREE. I stick the tree growing out of the roof of the car, and pantomime pouring the glass of water on it, saying that you always had to water a tree when you transplant it...
I stick the FISH in the car, figuring it could float around in all the water I'd just added in pantomime.
The bowl goes in the middle of the table, an apple on the only empty corner, with a banana next to it. (When I got the kid's drawings, someone had done it right, putting the bowl full of fruit in the center of the table, but, of course, the center of their tables were not encumbered with a doctor and two naughty children.)
Then, the little boy's hand. I put it flat beside the bowl, behind the little girl, then added the next item nearby, a pencil. A SHIRT followed that, and let me tell you, that table is getting REALLY FULL.
Bread shows up in the form of toast, meat in the form of bacon, both on the plate.
One little girl asks if she can take something OFF instead of adding something. I nod, so she takes off the shirt. I carefully explain that the mother, who has finished fixing breakfast, has finally found the time to put the rest of the clean laundry away before the kids spill their breakfast all over it. (They, of course, don't know the Spanish for one word in 10, but they are all attentive.)
The next student decides to remove the little boy, so I explain he got sent to his room for being naughty by sitting on the table. When the next person wants to add him back, I explain patiently that he can't come out of his room yet; he's still punished.
So, we get a CUP, finally. I fill it with coffee, making steam marks to show that it is still hot. That is the last of the sensible things that needed to go on the table, and we are down to the last 10 minutes.
I switch to English and congratulate them for their correct pronunciations of the words, and the creativity of what they wanted on their tables. Then I pass out blank paper and tell them they had to draw a table, put five SENSIBLE things on it, and label them correctly in correctly spelled and accented Spanish. This is the first time they've been asked to write an assignment that requires them to spell and accent correctly since they copied the words from the board. They all have been given their lists, corrected, back, so they CAN do it if they are careful.
I have NO idea what I will get. Everyone finishes their drawing and hands it in before the bell... and when I look over their work after calss, all drew sensible, recognizable things. (Mine were very poorly drawn, so it was OKAY for them not to be good drawers.)
Only one boy couldn't write his words correctly, and all but one student (who had 5/6) had the exact number asked for, or MORE than the required number, spelled correctly. Only two forgot and switched to English for a word. One girl who has just barely got a passing grade did a super neat drawing, and had 11 items correctly spelled on her paper, the class high. My expected overachiever had the next high -- 9. It was an amazing class for the time of day and situation.
I ended up feeling VERY SUCCESSFUL...