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"Emotional" Collage

My first class today was pretty rough. They didn't really want to talk, they didn't seem to get too excited about the activity. In general, kind of bland. My second class didn't show up (this was always a possibility). But my third class.... I was so excited.

My third class today started off ordinary. Introductions, rules, and then a Speaking with Emotion exercise. They read these sentences, like :
That was the best joke I've ever heard!
Did you hear that?
There's a monster under the bed!
The first time through, they just read them. The second time it gets pretty entertaining, because I have them read it with the proper emotion. The third time, they get to choose their favorite three. I love how they laugh at themselves and each other.
Today, I tried a new activity with the class. They were asked to rip up a single sheet of newspaper. Then they had 5 minutes to glue it onto the back of their worksheet in whatever fashion they wanted. Afterwards, I had them explain what they had done. To say the least, they were certainly unique pieces of art.
When they had each explained their methodology, I explained why I had them do it. I went over to the poster of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech. I told them that it was the celebration of his birthday yesterday in America. That in 1963 he had gotten up to fight for individualism, peace, and justice for everyone. That even though this class all had the same skin color, there were still other things that made them different - and their art proved it. No one had done the same thing. No one could have. And people like Martin Luther King had made it possible for everyone to not just be tolerated, but celebrated for their differences.
I don't know if all of them understood it. It might have wokred better if I had only used black and white newspaper. But I think it did something. I was still a little worried though, so I tied it back to the first activity as well. I asked them if they thought anyone would have listened to MLK if he had talked in a flat monotone voice. If he hadn't been passionate about the subject. I explained that when they gave their presentations and oral exams in English, a little emotional accessorizing would do them some good. Putting feeling behind the words was important to making htem well heard. And it would help cover up smaller grammatical mistakes. I think they understood that link much better.
After class, the teacher next door asked if we had been watching a video because she had heard strange noises. I told her it was just my class and me - no videos today. I think she was surprised a little until I explained what had been going on. She looked at me after and said she could tell I liked teaching now. I guess I do. I still can't do it all the time - but it is certainly entertaining when classes go well. I love making an impression and hearing them get excited about class. I'm really glad our laughter went through the walls. I'm going to hang their collages in the hallway. I want everyone to see what they can do when they put emotion into their activities.
Off for now, love always, ~Heather