Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Teaching manners to 6th graders

Today, I borrowed Lauren's lesson plan on manners to teach to my Junior 1 kiddos. Yes, that's correct. I taught manners to 12 year olds.

Part of it was because they genuinely didn't know what a lot of those words were, and part of it was because I really wanted them to actually use manners in my classroom. I tried to incorporate some things that I don't really ever see here - such as hold the door, excuse me, cover your mouth, form a line, etc.

We went over the basics - please, thank you, you're welcome, etc. But, as usual, I only had a chalkboard and paper to work with. (Update on that situation - I'm going over to the school this weekend to see if I can get my computer to hook up to their projection screen. Test drive!)

To get the kids interacting with me, I would walk up and down the aisles and go up to random students, "May I borrow your _______, please? Thank you!" Then, I would prompt them to say, "you're welcome!" or, "You're welcome, Miss Mary!". For some of them, it was easy. For others, they could barely stutter out a "you're welcome" without looking at the board or having other students help them.

We also worked on, "I'm sorry!" and "That's okay!" I would walk up and down the aisles and pretend to drop things on their desks. "Oh no, I'm sorry!" "That's okay, Miss Mary!" Of course, some kids took this as an opportunity to goof off, but I would go up to them next. Once they had the spotlight of the class, they would stop goofing off and actually participate.

We practiced saying excuse me as you walk through a crowded area, and I had the kids stand up and block the aisles. I would say excuse me and wait for them to move so I could walk through. (Note: In China, this doesn't happen. People pretty much just push you out of their way.) It was really awesome, because at the end of class, I was able to say excuse me when I needed to get away from the desk, and the kids actually listened!

Holding the door was also pretty fun. First, I would hold the door and have a student that was close by walk through. Once they got the hang of what holding the door meant, I had volunteers form a line at the front of the classroom. This is a line! I wrote it on the board, but it didn't matter how many times I talked about lines and made them form lines, no one knew what I was talking about. Next class. Anyway, the volunteers would stand by the door, and I would come up to them and ask, "Can you hold the door, please?" They would hold the door for me as I passed by carrying something and I would say, "Thank you!", to which they would reply, "You're welcome, Miss Mary!"

We also practiced covering our mouths when we sneeze or cough and saying excuse me after. I'm pretty sure they all thought I was a bit of a lunatic by the time I got around to the point where I fake coughed and sneezed into my arm in front of them. (I had previously stuck my tongue out at them to show them how to pronounce "th".) Then, I would go around the classroom and ask people to stand up, fake cough while covering their mouth, and say excuse me. I would reply, "Bless you!"

We practiced saying I'm sorry vs. I apologize, good morning vs. good afternoon, goodbye vs. see you later, etc.

I still think it's hilarious to watch them when I walk up and down the aisles, because they're not used to having a teacher walk around the classroom. Any time I walk by a student, they whip around in their seat to watch me, but I don't know if it's out of fascination or fear of what I'm going to do next.

Also, I'm pretty sure a girl videotaped parts of my lesson on her cell phone. Coming soon to Youtube, Miss Mary's lesson on manners! Just kidding, Youtube is banned.

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