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A Tree for All Seasons

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With the holidays long past, I find that my classroom "holiday tree" is still standing. There just isn't enough time to take it down (an artificial evergreen, about 7 feet tall). The class made origami decorations as an exercise in following simple directions in English and as a way to review shapes in English. They enjoyed making origami cranes and flowers. Now that it is time to move on to practicing verb tenses, introducing literary terms in poetry and other grammar points, I think I will use the tree as a way to display visually what we are trying to learn. The students in my beginner ESL English classes will make chains of sentences in various tenses (using different colors and shapes of paper on which to write the sentences and linking them together with yarn). They can also make Valentine hearts with metaphors or similies written on them (such as "My love for you is like a plate of hot french fries!"). Every season or grammar point could lend itself to some creative decorations. I find that my students become totally absorbed in the act of creating something and then they go back again and again to look at the art work on display. Some ideas that come to my mind for future decorations for the tree are: spring shapes (flowers, rabbits, chicks, eggs) with sentences in the present continuous; April Fool's jokes using exaggerations, adjectives, adverbs; raindrops with statements about things students miss about their country or will miss when school is over. I hope your imagination will be sparked. If you don't have an "real" articifial tree, a large tree could be designed out of paper for a wall or bulletin board.

Joan Lafleur
Charlotte, NC
frenchflower@juno.com

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