This week I was full of anxiety and anticipation for my first middle school lesson. I didn’t know what to expect. Yes, I met them a few weeks ago, but I didn’t know how they would act over two hours or their comprehension level. I learned both very quickly yesterday as I gave a lesson on Thanksgiving. I even used my old trek tool of “hey” “ho” to get them quiet. (If you think middle school students aren’t very interested in history in America, try teaching a very brief segment about the pilgrims and the “first” Thanksgiving to 70 middle school students who can’t understand everything you’re saying.)
I did my best to make it interesting and be very animated. We talked about the basics of Thanksgiving and why we celebrate it. We also talked about how we celebrate. They loved seeing a picture of my family as we talked about spending time with family saying in unison that all of the women in the picture are very beautiful as I pointed each one out. We also talked about turkeys, pumpkin pie, football and parades.
During the lesson, I had them each write down what they are thankful for. I got some great responses and some where you could see that they copied it from their neighbor. They were thankful for the obvious things like parents, teachers and friends, but it was the extra things they added that brought a smile to my face. Here are some examples. They are thankful that/for:
- Earth is in space
- Taylor Swift (many said this one said because she gives good music)
- Every scientist
- I’m not dead
- Kevin (that’s me)
- My guitar (not mine the student’s)
- Two eyes to see everything in this world
Here is what one girl wrote:
“I am thankful for the flowers, they’re very beautiful. I am thankful for the sky, that we can live under it. I am thankful for my friends, they always give me happy. I am thankful for my teachers, they always worried about me. I am thankful for my parents, because they gave me everything.” (I transcribed it just how she wrote it.)
Here is a picture of my favorite two. I love the picture the girl drew with the captions and speech bubbles. It’s funny that she shows her dad defending his man bag since almost every Chinese man that is not a manual laborer has a man bag.
I had many thought and ideas for this lesson including having a parade of our own, but they didn’t fully understand the concept of a parade so I just gave them the paper hats I made and that was that. I made almost 100 paper hats the night before. They loved the hats and many had me autograph them after the lesson was over.
Although I know they didn’t understand everything I said and probably got a little bored at times, I think they had fun and hopefully they understand why we celebrate Thanksgiving. I gave them an assignment; before we meet again they are supposed to write a thank you note to their parents or teachers. We’ll see next time if they did it. I’ll be back in a couple of weeks. Don’t know what the lesson will be yet, but it should be winter or Christmas related.