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Kids World

Topics of interest to teachers of English as a second or foreign language to young learners.

July 15, 2005

An Ice Cream Adventure

Kids Summer is here, and the heat is going to affect all of us, nationwide, no matter which island we live on. It's understandably hard for our students to concentrate on English studies and equally hard for us to teach in the scorching heat of a typical Japanese summer.

I always pick the hottest day in July to take my students out of class and go on an adventure without disclosing to them where we are going. I tell them to leave their school bags in the classroom and just follow me. This is always pretty exciting for them as they have had no forewarning and have no idea where we are going or why.

Everyone is always really surprised and happy when we arrive there and the students realize they are going to be treated to ice cream.

We then say goodbye to the school secretary, leave the building and walk through the shopping area, passing stores, and making comments about things we see along the way. Our final destination is the local ice cream shop. Everyone is always really surprised and happy when we arrive there and the students realize they are going to be treated to ice cream.

I let the students huddle together to decide which flavor each one wants; this always takes a few minutes since we go to Baskins Robbins which has so many flavors to choose from. They then tell me their choice in English, after which they order themselves.

We sit on a bench and savor our ice cream in silence. Near the end, I ask again about flavors, who got what and why. I explain that I like coffee ice cream the best and always have since I was a child.

I then take them to a nearby coin photography booth (the ones used for passport pictures). We all squeeze in and smile for the camera and then wait impatiently for the prints to be processed. After receiving them and looking at them amid a good amount of laughter, we walk back to the school with the pictures in our hands and show them to the school secretary.

In our classroom we cut the pictures up and give each child a picture as a memory of our escape from English class on one of the hottest days in Japan.

I would like to encourage you to go out on an ice cream adventure with your students this summer. If the class is too big to fit into the small, confined area of the coin photography booth, or if there is not one available in your area, you can bring a camera with you and take a group picture in front of the ice cream shop.

On my desk I have lots of pictures of me with my students after our ice cream shop adventures from years ago.

Hot summer, cold ice cream, warm memories.

Happy summer!

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