The Wild Ones in Općina

Today I finished a five morning exploration of Maurice Sendak‘s ‘Where the wild things are‘ with a bunch of ten teenage English language learners .  It was a a great week for me, I only hope that they thought likewise.

As well as reading, watching and sequencing the story in its entirety, we delved into it and tried to squeeze as much out of the book as we could. We used it to teach us the differences between real and imaginary worlds. We  took from it the meanings of  ‘making mischief’ and ‘wild rumpus’.  It inspired us to explore Earthly forests and animal coverings, sea voyage and ocean life, body parts of the most savage kind, and what we ourselves would do if we were all crowned kings and queens of the Wild Things.

To finish it all off, in a most wild and ethical way, we adopted a gray wolf through the World Wildlife Fund.

Where the wild things are – The Fifth and Final Day

We started our fifth and final day by eating apples and muffins, and reading ‘This is London‘, which was brought along by one of the children. We sat, ate, read, and spoke about London, and all was well.

When we got inside the classroom, with paper and scissors, we began by distinguishing between wild animals and tame animals. This was a nice exercise and it got the children thinking and laughing.

The laughing continued with Dajana as the children made monstrous masks. Back outside again, the game changed once more: ‘What’s the time, Mr Werewolf?’. 🙂

Once inside, we compiled a list of seven laws which the children would enforce if they were kings and queens.

  • You must play.
  • You must not go to school.
  • You must study English with Michael and Dajana.
  • You must sometimes swim in larva.
  • You must not look at goldfish.
  • You must not drive a car.
  • You must ride a horse or shark.

Thus having put their kingdom in order they ‘let the wild rumpus start‘ by creating a ‘Wild Rumpus‘ mind map. It included such activities as drumming, tree climbing and water fighting. What a great party! 🙂

The final art activity of the week had the children rapidly sketching Dajana and I performing ‘Wild Scenarios‘ which saw us being monsters, playing drums, shooting guns and having Dajana effectively transforming herself into a human cat.

And so with the children running and singing and shouting outside in a final rumpus, we brought this astounding week to an end.

I hope our wild things had something hot waiting for them when they got home. 🙂

Where the wild things are – Day 4

We began the day with some apple cake which Dajana made at home. It was a delicious breakfast, even if some of the children seemed to think otherwise!

After having eaten, we started our ‘question circle’. The main point of the session was to distinguish the difference between ‘How are you?‘ and ‘How old are you?‘. I am happy to say that the children passed the test. 🙂

The theme of the day was body parts, but before we began we all gathered in the projector room and watched a short animated version of Maurice Sendak‘s book. The children really appreciated this.

Back into the classroom we went, and with pencils, coloured pens and paper we matched and coloured words and pictures concerning the human body. Some of these body parts were already known to the children, while others were new to their ears.

Soon after, Dajana and the children created child sized paper puppets. The initial idea was for the children to create a boy and a girl, but being a wild week they instead decided to create a werewolf and a female bearded monster.

When their horrific creations were finally completed  they returned to me from a little monster inspired English. Firstly, we named monster body parts, and then, taking descriptive lines from ‘Where the wild things are‘, we wrote and illustrated a four page ‘wild thing’ mini-book.

  • Wild things roar terrible roars.
  • Wild things gnash terrible teeth.
  • Wild things roll terrible eyes.
  • Wild things show terrible claws.

After this was completed, each child, with Dajana’s help, drew child sized fantasy creatures. Our classroom was soon full of colourful vampires, werewolves, and fairies.

This inspiring activity took the children’s minds away from a Nintendo Wii karaoke battle, and instead they were content to sing their songs while they worked.

Another great morning was brought to a close. 🙂

Where the wild things are – Day 3

Today was a day of oceanic adventures, but before we began on our voyage into the deep blue sea we had to make sure our stomachs were well prepared. So, with that in mind, we began our day with a wild breakfast of fresh apple slices and garden picked strawberries.  All of which were appreciated and eaten with gusto.

After having eaten, we moved to our questioning circle.

  • How are you? – Emphasizing the ‘are’.
  • What are you wearing today? – There were a lot of shorts!
  • What’s your favourite job?

That being done, we commenced our wild ocean voyage. We started by playing a hangman picture and word game concerning creatures of the deep. It was the class versus me, and I am happy to say that they beat me 7-0.

This took us to our first artistic exercise. Dajana had the children created multicoloured  denizens of the seas which were soon hanging from ribbons about our heads.  We were now officially living in a fishbowl, privacy had become a thing of the past!

We then asked ourselves the question of what we would take on a private boat if we were going on a year long adventure. We soon found out that the room was made up of both practical minded young sailors and land-ridden dreamers. 🙂

Next we moved outside to a little ‘sink or float’ experiment. The children gathered an array of objects and one by one dropped them into a bowl of water to see which floated and which sank. It was a nice game to play on a sunny day.

Dajana, then led the group in making paper origami boats.  Soon we had a whole ocean scene decorated with boats, and personalised make-believe children sailors. The real children really loved this activity.

We continued with singing, first we learnt and sang a YouTube enhanced ‘Spider Pig‘, however, as the singing involved neither microphones, nor point scoring, the children weren’t very impressed. So, back to Nintendo Wii we went with the two songs of the previous days.

We ended the morning with ‘What’s the time Mr Wolverine?’. This metamorphosis of our earlier game occured, because one of our young wild things brought with him his X-Men Wolverine claws. 😀


Where the wild things are – Day 2

 The second day has finished and it was a hot one. We started the day with our conversation circle and we concentrated on two questions:

  • What did you have for breakfast?
  • How are you?

We spent our circle time solely on these two because the children were slightly muddled between ‘How are you?‘ and ‘How old are you?‘. To help them overcome this we wrote ‘How are you?’ in large chalk letters on the playground floor. We’ll revisit the  question tomorrow and see how they do. 🙂

Inside the classroom their English work concentrated on one of the book’s the first scenes; Max’s bedroom. We looked at the picture then created a mind map about the things we often find in children’s bedrooms.

Next, the children worked with Dajana, they drew forests and created forest crowns, it was great to see them delving into their imaginary kingdoms.

We continued the forest theme and I read a short text concerning what Max may have seen in his own make-believe forest kingdom. I pointed out the tall trees, the long grass and brightly coloured flowers, the mud and river, and Max’s discovery of a wild pig in a deep dark cave. We went on to learn the names of  some common forest animals and we ended the forest unit with a forest themed crossword and  word search.

Dajana then showed the children how to make paper claws. The children made their own, and were soon roaring and clawing like wild animals.

We moved on to learn a new song; Row, row, row, your boat. The children were enthusiastic to transfer it into a Nintendo Wii karaoke battle, so we moved to the projector room. The group naturally formed itself into two wild teams; the boys versus the girls. The battle began. They sang their new song, as well as returning to ‘The Alphabet Song‘, which is always a firm favourite.  It was a gruelling battle, but in the end the victory was given to the girls.

We ended the morning back outside with ‘What’s the time, Mr Wolf?’

Another great day was brought to a close.

Where the wild things are – Day 1

What a great start to the week’s activities! We kicked off the course outdoors with a ‘question time’ circle.  The questions being asked on this first morning were:

  • What’s your name?
  • How old are you?
  • Where are you from?
  • What is this? – While indicating to something.
  • What’s your favourite colour?
  • Can yo show me something red? – Working through the basic colour list.
  • What’s your favourite animal?

We then went inside and the children were introduced to this week’s book: Where the wild things are by  Maurice Sendak. We started off our book activities by looking at the difference between the concepts of real and make-believe, which was easy for the children to understand.  With our pencils, scissors and glue we completed our first worksheets. Dajana expanded this by having the children draw make-believe portraits of themselves and of each other. It was great fun. 🙂

The next topic concerned the difference between making mischief and having fun.  This was a little more difficult for the children to understand, but with the aid of scissors, glue pencils, laughter and imagination, we made good progress.

Next, we were off to the projector room where the children saw, and were read Where the wild things are. On the large screen and in great colour we transcended the language barrier, and the children enjoyed the book immensely.

Our indoor activities were brought to an end with the week’s first song; The Alphabet Song. Firstly, we ensured that the children knew the words and then it was back to the projection room for a Nintendo Wii enhanced karaoke session.  The kids loved this and were eager to pick up the microphones and battle it out.

Our morning ended outside with What’s the time, Mr Wolf? and  Policemen and Robbers. And then, the tired children were collected and taken home.

Where The Wild Things Are – Five mornings of wild English fun

Hooray, the ‘Where the wild things are week’ has been confirmed.  Next week Dajana Koćevar and I will be crossing oceans, delving into forests, meeting monsters, and eating suppers with a small group of excitable children.

We’ll be talking, writing, mind mapping, and creating all things wild. I am so looking forward to it.