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I am thankful for...——The November JESIE Open Day Report

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On Friday November 3rd 2017, two of JESIE's American teachers, John and William, introduced Thanksgiving to two energetic and lively 6th grade classes at Little Red Flower Primary School.

William taught his class the answers to six questions about Thanksgiving: "What do we eat on Thanksgiving?" – turkey and pumpkin pie, "What do we drink on Thanksgiving?" – apple cider, "Who do we see on Thanksgiving?" –family and friends, "When is Thanksgiving?" – November, "What do we watch on Thanksgiving?" – American football, and "What do we say on Thanksgiving?" – what we are thankful for. He then played a vocabulary game where the students needed to shoot a dart gun at different vocabulary after being asked one of the Thanksgiving questions. Following the dart gun game, Will introduced two key American Football positions, quarter back and wide receiver, and had the class play a mock American Football game. One student would act as the quarter back and six other students would act as wide receivers. Each wide receiver would be assigned an answer to one of the six questions Will taught the class about Thanksgiving. After a roll of a die the quarter back would ask the corresponding question, and throw the football at the corresponding student who would then answer with the correct response. The students had a thrilling time playing with the football and learned some important Thanksgiving facts in the process.

The master of the Open Day, John, did not disappoint with his Thanksgiving Day lesson. His students not only enjoyed the class, they also learned some important facts about Thanksgiving, and even an interesting twist by learning how to express what they are not thankful for. After talking about Thanksgiving and eliciting some responses from the class, John introduced some Thanksgiving vocabulary and the phrase "I am thankful for..". He then had the class write down five things they are thankful for, and one thing they are not thankful for using the word "except". After the students completed the writing task, John led the class through a fun game of chutes and ladders using the previously written down sentences. The class was ended with a fun song about Thanksgiving called "Except for the Turkey" which had the students giggling, smiling, and hoping Mr. John would return one day for another worthwhile JESIE Open Day.  

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Teachers Amber and Jafar, appropriately, made the not inconsiderable pilgrimage out to my school and presented Open Day lessons on 2017 November 17th at the Qixia Experimental Primary School, on the theme of Thanksgiving. Both teachers opened with a warm-up, Teacher Jafar explaining some classroom rules and Teacher Amber entertaining the kids with a game involving throwing a toy bunny and asking for some of their English names and the things that they like. Both teachers introduced some Thanksgiving vocabulary, predominantly words relating to the food eaten in this celebration and what they are thankful for. Teacher Jafar, taking a Grade 5 class, drilled the children and then played several games with them to keep them engaged, including drawing a Thanksgiving turkey, some anagram games, and then a variant of Battleships. 

Teacher Amber, taking a Grade 4 class, explained that Thanksgiving is a North American holiday (Canada and the U.S.A.) and had the students playing a vocabulary-based running game, teaching what people do (e.g. see family, eat a lot of food), and experimenting with a coloured popsicle game in which the students draw a stick, and according to which colour was drawn trying to elicit what they are thankful for. Both teachers enjoyed their trip and impressed the local teachers, and all the children had a lot of fun.

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On Thanksgiving day, 23 November 2017, JESIE gave a special Open day at Wuxi Shuofang Experimental School on what this day is all about. Danny and Warwick were leading the fun and games on this day. After a great warm-up routine Danny introduced the students to different things we eat on Thanksgiving. He made sure they pronounced the words correctly and they were fully entertained by the games he played to drill down the new words they have learned. Then Warwick introduced his students to Thanksgiving and an array of mouthwatering foods associated with this day. He made great use of flash cards and games to keep the students interested in what they were learning. Scores were shared at the end of the day when the girls came back from behind to tie the day with the boys during the final game of identify the correct flashcard. A fun educational day was had by all involved!