Language Resident: Aleksandra Bystrova
Class theme/topic discussed : the New Year in Russia
Goal of the class :
- Introduce traditions of the New Year celebration in Russia
- Practice the usage of adjectives in the text
- Practice the food vocabulary
- Listening and comprehension of a song
How did you structure the class?
I put my students in pairs and ask them to discuss the following questions: 1) Do you celebrate the New Year? How and with whom? 2) Do you sum up the results of the year? 3) Do you create goals to accomplish in the following year?
- Activity 1. The New Year’s table
I show my students a picture of a traditional Russian New Year’s table with different meals. I ask them to name what they see and come up with more dishes. This activity is focused on creating a perfect table for the New Year’s celebration and practice food vocabulary.
- Activity 2. Prepare a traditional New Year’s toast
I give my students a handout with a long traditional Russian toast. There are blank spaces that students should fill up with adjectives. They can be creative and funny while choosing words.
- Activity 3. A song about 5 minutes
I show my students a video of a must-listen Russian song, which sounds in every house 5 minutes before the New Year. I also provide students with lyrics of the song. I ask them to feel free to sing along.
- Activity 4. President’s Speech.
It is impossible to imagine Russian New Year without the President Putin’s speech. We watch a piece of a video from 2020 and discuss the content of this speech. This activity was performed with Advanced students.
Intermediate. What worked well in this class? What did not work?
The class went well. Students enjoyed talking about New Year in Russia. We focused more on the activity dedicated to food. I wanted to practice vocabulary with them, since they hadn’t known many words before we had our class about Russian cuisine. I decided to skip the activity with the President’s speech, because the language of the speech is too difficult to comprehend. We also didn’t do the “toast” activity because I felt like it could be too challenging for them. I decided to spend more time with the song instead. I asked my two students to come up with a translation of this song and give their opinion about it.
Advanced. What worked well in this class? What did not work?
My advanced students enjoyed this class. They knew a lot of words dedicated to food and Russian cuisine. The activity with inserting words turned out to be amusing. They came up with funny and sometimes unsuitable words. That made the toasts activity very lively. We skimmed the song and spent more time with the President’s speech. Students had a hot discussion about the content of his speech because some of them found it ambiguous.
How could this class be improved/ modified?
The president’s speech is an interesting text to analyze and discuss with advanced students. It consists of many topics, which students find curious to talk about. I would make a separate class about politics to discuss leader’s speeches. In the context of New Year and holiday atmosphere it is a challenging issue to discuss.