Monday, October 26, 2009

Halloween for little Hellions

It seems that the French do not really celebrate Halloween. Not too big of a deal for me honestly, but I imagine Ryan will be displeased to hear this as he will be here during that time. The kids in class told me that some of them dress up but not all of them and the teachers told me that the teenagers and adults in France for sure don't dress up or have parties really. One of the profs said that it was big for a few years but has become less and less important every year. It's an imported holiday that doesn't really do it for them I guess. They already have Christmas decorations up! At first I was they don't even wait until Thanksgiving? Thanksgiving!
Despite this - the kids seem to enjoy doing Halloweeny activities rather than actual work - no surprise - so I did a little Halloween story with my younger kids this week. I found the story online, real short:

The House on the Hill in the Old Forest.

I went trick-or-treating with my best friends _______, _______, and _______. Our pillowcases were full of candy, and it was getting late, so my friends wanted to go home.

I wanted a few more chocolate bars so I turned to my friends and said, “Let’s knock on a few more doors and then head for home.”

They were worried because they thought it was already too late. “Let’s go home now,” they said to me. I told them not to worry because we could take a shortcut through the old forest.

So after a few more houses, I took my friends to the path that went through the forest. We walked about 20 minutes, and then, suddenly, I felt very strange. I couldn’t remember the way! It was dark and foggy. We were lost. And to make matters worse, it started to rain. And then, it started to pour. Lightning lit up the sky and thunder rang in our ears. We wandered around in the rain for over two hours. We were very wet and very cold. And then, at about midnight, I saw an old abandoned house on a hill.

“I think we’ll have to spend the night in that old house and wait till morning,” I said.

My friends didn’t think it was a good idea, but they were cold and wet, so they agreed. We walked up the old wooden steps to the front door. The door creaked open and we went inside, sat down, and started to eat a chocolate bar, when . . .

So here is where the story leaves off and here is where I made the kids tell me what would happen next. I started with the sentence "We heard a noise in the house." And then kept asking "Et que-est ce nous allons faire?" (what are we going to do?). They looked at me with confused little faces or stared down at the paper looking for the answers.
Each class has one or two good students who will start the ball rolling with "maybe it's a ghost!" and from there when I ask what we will do EVERY class said "we should run outside." "But it's raining," I say. "Ok, we'll go inside and look for the ghost!" they say. Every class followed the same pattern.
So then we spend the next 10 minutes searching the house - which consists of the children yelling out rooms or hiding places in a mix of French and tentative English, while I furiously write the corresponding sentences on the board to make the story flow, rather than just being "toilet, la chambre, le frigo, le grenier!"
For each place we look I act out the movements. If we look in the attic I pretend to walk up stairs and look around and then I say. No ghost. After the first few times the kids catch on and after I act it out they all say, NO GHOST! I let this progress naturally until they decide as a group that YES! A GHOST!
One group found the ghost in the bathroom in the toilet, one found the ghost in the refrigerator and gave it candy, one found it in the TV and threw the TV outside and the last group found it in the garage and beat it up.
Im proud of my little hellions for participating - but honestly they were hellions this week. So hard to control because they were pumped for vacation.
Me too!
Next post will be from Paris!

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