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Tag: folklore

RU S22 ADV: Limericks (Chastushki)

Language Resident Name: Aleksandra Bystrova

Date: 02/08/2022

Class theme/topics discussed: Russian Limericks (Chastushki)

Goal of the class:

  • Learn about Russian folklore – limericks
  • Develop translation skills

How did you structure the class?

  1. Warm up (10 mins): Discussion
    1) What is the definition of “chastuska”?
    2) Why do you think people compose them?
    3) Which topics do they raise?
    4) Do you have something similar in your culture/country?

I ask students to discuss those questions. Even if they don’t know what is chastuska, they can be creative and just guess. Students present their thoughts and results of a discussion by writing the main ideas on the board. Then, I show them a slide with an official definition and main elements of “chastushka”.

2. Activity 1. Read “chastuski” and translate (10 mins).
I give my students a handout with several limericks to read them and analyze. While they translating them, I add some cultural background for them to better understand the lyrics. We read it together and I also show the rhythm.

3. Activity 2. Watch a piece of the cartoon and translate the limerick (25 mins).
I show my students a piece of a cartoon. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zv5lIQPRCPY (11:03-12:50). In the video, folklore characters sing a limerick. Before watching I give my students handouts with lyrics. After watching I put them in two groups and ask to come up with an English translation of the limerick. While translating they realize, how unexpected the lyrics are.

4. Activity 3. Chastuskki in Modern Russia (10 mins).
We watch youtube videos of limericks in modern Russian culture.
TV-show “Voice” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjJtiSKPTz4
Political Satire https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgYrPV_d3tg

What do you think of limericks now? Do you like them?

What worked well in this class? What did not work?

Students loved the topic. During the warm-up students found a lot of facts about limericks and managed to create the right understanding of their implementation. Their research made it easier to work later. Even though listeners of chastuska have to possess the certain cultural background to understand the content, students were open-minded and tried hard to understand them. While working in groups, students managed to come up with correct translations of Baba Yaga’s chastuska and were surprised, when we summarized the meaning of it.

How could this class be improved/ modified?

The activities did not take as long as I expected. Students managed to finish the activity very fast. We had 15 minutes left, so I had to improvise and show them videos of modern performances of chastuska. If I could modify this class, I would provide students with lyrics of those songs as well. If the students are comfortable with composing rhymes, the instructor could ask them to come up with their own limericks.

RU S22 ADV: Myths and Mythical Creatures

Language Resident Name: Aleksandra Bystrova

Date: 02/01/2022

Class theme/topics discussed: Myths and Mythical Creatures

Goal of the class:

  • To learn more about Russian traditional mythical creatures
  • To practice storytelling
  • Ice breaking

How did you structure the class?

  1. Warm up (10 mins): Discussion
    1) What is myth/mythology?
    2) Why do people need myths?
    3) Do people use myths in the modern world?

2. Activity 1. Mythical creatures of your culture or region (20 min)
I present to students 3 most famous Karelian (Russian/Slav) mythical creatures and explain how you can “meet” them in real life. Leshiy (the host of the forest), Vodyanoi (the host of the lakes and ponds) and Domovoi (the house creature).

After demonstrating my students those creatures, I ask them to think about one example of mythical creatures from their home region. After small research, they share their characters with the rest of the class.

3. Activity 2. Create a story (30 minutes)
I ask my students to come up with a story, where every mythical creature (that students presented) meets each other. I explain my students the rules of composing any story before they begin. They create visual story (like comics), where their chosen creatures meet each other and deal with a problem.

What worked well in this class? What did not work?

It is easier for advanced students to discuss this topic. They have more vocabulary to answer questions about myths and mythology. I had only 5 students, so I decided not to split them in groups and let them work together as a team.

How could this class be improved/ modified?

I would dedicate two classes to discussing the myths and mythical creatures. It is a broad topic that deserves to be covered. I would find a cartoon or a Youtube video, where the characters from my culture are presented. For example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jva7QXMziL0

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