Sunday, June 21, 2015

The English Speaking Tea Party

I have a weekly adult English class that I just love.  They are so enthusiastic about everything.  A couple of weeks ago I introduced a lesson about party planning.  The vocabulary included RSVP, venue, and party favors.  We discussed what you need to know to plan a party: why have it, when to have it, where to have it, who and how many to invite, and entertainment, among other things. 

After all that, I suggested we host an English speaking tea party and they thought it would be fun.  They chose a date and time and decided who to invite. They made and decorated the paper invitations, seriously considering what information the invitation needed, including things like whether to spell out or abbreviate Saturday. One person wrote the information of the chalk board during the discussion and when everyone agreed on the information, the invitation making began.

We decided to play a few games for the entertainment.  I taught four games to them one week and they decided who would teach each one, using Rock, Paper, Scissors.  The next two weeks they practiced teaching and playing the games, in addition to making the “props” needed. I did not give them the directions or rules written out because I wanted them to understand the games, then process them into their own words, rather than to read off or memorize my words.

The first was a get acquainted name game. Basically, the first person says her name and a food she likes that begins with the first letter of her name, for example, my name is Pamela and I like peaches.  The second person does the same for her own name, then repeats the previous person’s name and food. Each subsequent person does that for all the previous people, so the last person says everyone’s names and foods.  In order to make our guests feel comfortable, we decided to make name tags at the party and to make little cards with initials and food, just in case our guests couldn’t think of a food in English or remember the other people's names.  I knew all of the people, but they didn't all know each other before the tea party.

The next game is called Occupations.  They made cards ahead of time with the names of different occupations.  One person pulled a card, keeping it to herself.  The rest of the people took turns asking yes/no questions, such as is your job dangerous, do you wear a uniform, does your job require a university degree.  The others try to guess the person’s occupation.

The third game is a counting game called Fizz Buzz.  The group counts off, trying to get to 50.  Instead of five or multiples of five, the person on that number must say Fizz.  Instead of seven (including 17, 27, etc.) or multiples of seven, the person on that number must say Buzz.  If a mistake is made, the group starts over with one.  It’s harder than it sounds!

The fourth game is also a yes/no question game.  A card with the name of an animal is pinned to each person’s back.  All at the same time, people are trying to figure out what their animals are by asking the other people yes/no questions, such as do I have a long tail, do I have four legs, do I breathe fire. They were very creative in using the 12 Chinese Zodiac animals.

We made little fabric pouches with tea bags inside to give as party favors.  I stitched the casing for the ribbon with my sewing machine and they stitched the bag and put the ribbon in the casing.  They could have done all of the stitching, but this is an English class not a sewing class.  I could have stitched the whole bag, but I wanted them to feel some ownership in the little gifts they were giving. 

In addition to the name tags, they also made a Welcome sign for the door.

So, yesterday was the party day.  I meant to take pictures of the wonderful food the students brought and a few pictures of the game playing but I forgot!  Someone else remembered to take a group picture with a timer before everyone left.

Everyone was wonderful using their English skills. They claimed to be nervous, but I couldn’t tell.  The explanations were perfect and everyone else understood. The food was delicious. The games were a lot of fun.  I think everyone had a good time.


Manami said...

I was waiting for this article! Thank you very much for yesterday! It was a great fun. You are such a great host.
I learned from you a lot. This party and experience became my precious memories. And you gave us confidences through this experience. And thank you for giving us a chance to meet new people. Thank you, Pamela-san!
I'll keep learning English, so please help me.
See you on Thursday^o^/ Manami

Pamela said...

Thank you for your kind words, Manami!

Sarah said...

What a fun learning experience. Tea parties are always fun. Too bad you fogot to take pictures of the food - that would have been a learning experience for me :)