Last Lessons

My last lessons of the year are supposed to be a little “fun.” “Fun” as it gets when you’re forcing a group of 30 kids in an overheated classroom to speak English, which 98% of them would prefer never to do. Just kidding. The kids do have fun. And so do I. We only go to school in the morning in June, and the classrooms are lined with a wall of beautiful big windows, so the overheating factor is (morles*) kept to a minimum.

*Story to come on why “morles” is my new favourite word.

With my sixth graders (6.º primaria) I’ve been playing a game called “Move your butt.” It’s a camp classic and perfect for practicing English and running around a lot. Desks are cleared to the sides of the classroom, and the kids make a circle with their chairs. There is one less chair than there are people.

The person without a seat stands in the middle and makes up a “Move your butt if…” sentence. Like, “Move your butt if you’re wearing red.” Or, “Move your butt if you can swim.” Or “Move your butt if Aesclinn is your favourite language assistant ever.” Um. That was one of mine. Yes, they all moved their butts… I didn’t really leave them much of a choice.

I’ve also adapted the “My name is Joe and I am Canadian” speech of Molson Canadian fame into a classroom activity, which I’m doing versions of with some of my secondary school classes.

They listen to the speech, then make their own version of it.

The results are hilarious and often brilliant.


Here is the one that has had the best delivery so far, from a tenth grader. (I corrected the grammatical errors.) It was read with the most attitude imaginable – awesome. There might have been a couple of “Don’t go there, girlfriend” finger snaps thrown in for good measure.


I’m not a bullfighter, I don’t live in a hut, and I’m not always eating paella.

We Spaniards are not lazy, and we don’t spend all day at parties.

I’m not called Paco, or Alejandro, I’m Guillermo.

We are not South Americans, we are Europeans. Despite the fact that you don’t know anything about Spain, we have much more history than Americans.

We are proud of our beaches, and our climate. And if you don’t know who we are, remember that we discovered America!

Our country is the most visited in Europe, the first nation of football, and we have the best food.

I’m Guillermo, and I’m proud to be Spanish.


This is the original text:

My name is Joe, and I AM CANADIAN! 

Hey. I’m not a lumberjack, or a fur trader, and I don’t live in an igloo or eat blubber, or own a dog sled.

And I don’t know Jimmy, Sally or Susie from Canada, although I’m certain they’re really, really nice.

I have a Prime Minister, not a President.

I speak English and French, not American, and I pronounce it “about” not “a boot.”

I can proudly sew my country’s flag on my backpack.

I believe in peacekeeping, not policing, diversity, not assimilation, and that the beaver is a truly proud and noble animal.

A toque is a hat, a chesterfield is a couch, and it is pronounced zed, not zee. Zed!

Canada is the second largest landmass, the first nation of hockey, and the best part of North America. My name is Joe, and I am Canadian.

Thank you.


1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

One response to “Last Lessons

  1. momma

    Wonderful ideas.
    Happy Canada Day!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s