Friday, August 1, 2014


Graffiti Parties

Here one of my students is decorating my t-shirt
Do you ever have a chance to throw a celebration in your classes?

In the summer I teach a temporary job where students from all over the world come to San Diego to visit the city and practice their English.

Saturday my Italian students left, so we had a small party at the end of class on Friday to send them off! Students were encouraged to bring an old t-shirt or buy an SDSU t-shirt at the college gift store. Those who did not bring a shirt participated by making, "memory books."

Students were given easy rules, "Write in English only unless you want to add your name or a brief phrase in your native language." I normally keep it to English only, but Italian students like having Japanese and Taiwanese words on their shirts, and I consider it sharing cultures!

My finished t-shirt!
That's pretty much it! Students can wear the shirt and have other students write on them, or the shirts can be placed on desks. I find sharpies work best to keep the writing permanent. If students have problems writing on the shirts you can tape them down or put sandpaper under them to make them stick. They are easier to write on if someone is wearing them, but with older students you need to be sure they are only writing in appropriate places.

For 15-30 minutes students go around class asking, "Will you write on my shirt," and "Teacher, how do you spell enough?" I have never had problems with students writing inappropriate things, but if this did happen I would simply remove the student from the party and give them a worksheet to finish.

Students enjoy this, and I usually keep the radio on for background noise.

Our beautiful blackboard that doubled as a backdrop
If a few students finish early I normally ask them if they would like to decorate a board that we can use as a backdrop for pictures.

In this case one of my students created a red, white and blue background which stated the name of the University where the classes took and the year. I think she made it look quite nice given the fact that she was dealing with a chalkboard!

I won't embarrass my students by posting pictures of them online, but here's a corny picture of me posing in front of the blackboard.

If I wanted to make it look better, I could crop out the tables, but I kept them in to let you see we were dealing with your normal crowded classroom!

I know this seems like a pointless activity, but students practiced their English, listened to some English music, took thousands of pictures, and have a memento to make sure they never forget their time at SDSU. Plus, I get a memento of them!

You can see the t-shirt that they made for me (above) is a lot of "thank you" along with some personalized messages that will always make me smile when I wear it.

Do you do anything special the last day of school?

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