Greece, Day 4: Routine

“Once you establish a routine, it’s simple,” Sam tells us, snapping her fingers to illustrate the point.

We’re trying. Our lesson plans seem to be evolving to focus on vocabulary-related games in the first two hours, followed by a writing hour, and lastly, a play hour.

Lesson Plan Three  

First Hour

  • Flyswatter game: tape flashcards of different objects to the whiteboard and split class into two teams. Call out the name of an object and have one member from each team run up and “swat” the correct flashcard for a point.

Second Hour

  • Category game: name a category (ex. fruits) and have the class (split into two teams) write as many items belonging to the category as possible in ~5 minutes

Third Hour

  • Writing task: have the students write about their aspiration and the reason for it (ex. I would like to be a doctor. This is because…)
  • Play a game if time remains (ex. hangman or charades)

Fourth Hour 

  • Kickball (that’s all they seem to want to play…)

The first hour goes by relatively smoothly. I wouldn’t say that the game is a grand success, but the kids like it enough and get very excited at times when both team representatives are having trouble finding the correct flashcard. While we’re playing, I make the game more difficult by having them create a sentence with the object that they’ve swatted. For an extra point, of course. No incentive, no result.

Second hour is madness. They love the category game, in a rage-filled, madly competitive type of way. We let them choose the categories for the most part-countries, cars, fruits- which they appreciate. We give them about five minutes per category and their agitation levels skyrocket as they shout at their teammates, who are scribbling furiously at the whiteboard.

“Yellow! Purple! Blue, come on, blue!” intermingled with Greek exclamations creates a cacophony that is making my ears ring. I look over at Lucas and Sonny, both of whom are wincing at the noise. As the game progresses, some of the students attempt to run up to the board and grab the markers out of their teammate’s hands.

“No, no, absolutely not,” I shout over the noise, stepping in front of them to stop the mad rush to the front. They’re persistent.

Third hour is normal, comparatively. The night before, we’d toyed with the idea of playing Bingo again, but none of us are particularly keen on creating another racket. We look at the students as they come in from recess, sweating, eyes wide.

“Alright guys, let’s try something a bit calmer this time. We’re going to be doing some writing,” I announce. There aren’t any loud protests, so I suspect that perhaps they’re tired. Boy, am I wrong.

“Luca, Luca,” A kid shouts, running up to our translator and grabbing his shirt. I look on, bemused, before snapping out of it and walking over to urge him away. A lot of them have a tendency to do that, I notice. Touching Luca in some way, be it grabbing or kicking, seems to be one of the primary methods by which they get his attention.

“No, that’s not okay. You can’t throw yourself on someone like that,” I say sternly to another kid, this time a girl.

“Why not?” She asks me with a bright smile. I sigh.


Not all of them want to play kickball again, we discover in fourth hour.

“What options can we give them?” Luca whispers to me.

“Kickball, basketball, football,” I count off, “Relay maybe?”

“They might like a free hour,” He says. I shrug. Sounds good to me.

Sounds even better to them. Well over a dozen hands shoot up into the air when the possibility of a free hour is announced. And, like the previous days, they rush out into the yard, splitting into teams before they’re out the door.

I guess we are falling into a routine. Routine chaos counts, right?

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