Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Rocky mountains, polar bears, maple, cold, red-suited police men and hockey...

I taught a Canadian culture class to the Grade 9 Elective English class this afternoon and this is what they brainstormed. Or more accurately, what I dragged out of them. They got into it more after that. It was actually really fun! I had a whole two classes to myself to do whatever I wanted, preferably something about Canadian culture. So I taught Canadian culture.

After brainstorming some ideas, I had the students (and my teachers) write down the provincial capitals. I figured I should have some language training in there somewhere, and it was an okay listening exercise.

The most fun part was talking about bilingualism. I brought some empty bottles and things from home with English and French wrinting on them, which the students thought was really cool. Even cooler was teaching a French lesson! Very basic, but I did it all in French. Not that anyone in the room would have been able to tell how bad my French has gotten... and how much Japanese has snuck into my brain.

They were able to pick up counting, and some basic phrases really quickly. In some twisted way, I hope that the ease with which they picked up some basic French phrases gives them more confidence with their English. It was kind of funny to me that everyone (my teachers especially) was really into learning some French, maybe more than they usually are into English. Maybe because they weren't being graded on it?

For fun, I tested their knowledge of Canadian stars. Did you know that both Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Ann Moss (Neo and Trinity) of "The Matrix" fame are Canadian?

To a wrap up, I had the students design new Canadian flags, and talk about them. It was mostly an excuse to get these kids speaking in English, but there were some cute flags that came out of it. My favorite was the one with the hockey player in the middle, backed by the Rocky Mountains. I should have asked if I could keep it.

Map from here, the coolest page ever!

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