The first class with the students was advertised as a "demonstration class" and any interested parent or teacher could sit in and watch the foreign teacher in action. Gulp. Imposter syndrome, anyone? The faculty had decided upon the theme of the camp -- "My Dream" -- and they decided the kids would study Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech and would memorize and deliver a short speech themselves. The "Dream" speech has very challenging language for ESL students. It's stuffed with biblical allusions and has so many metaphors that if metaphors were candied fruit, "I Have a Dream" would be fruitcake. So I thought I'd better get the kids started on recognizing metaphors and similes, No problem for low-intermediate kids, right?
For the activity part of the lesson I prepared dozens of strips of colored paper printed with metaphors and simple aphorisms like "Hold on to your dreams," "Life is what you make it," "Every life needs a dream," etc. Every student was invited to choose five slips and arrange them to make a poem, which they assembled on colored paper with glue sticks. Hooray, the activity worked, the kids got it and the bravest ones read their poems aloud in class. With the colored paper it all looked very pretty, too.