My lessons follow the curriculum of the Longman Picture Dictionary. We start with the introduction of vocabulary around a specific subject that is colorfully depicted in the book (so far we have done lessons on names of colors, the sea, cooking a Palestinian meal, types of vehicles, aspects of a town, and most recently a birthday party). Then we play a card game on the floor similar to "Go Fish" with decks of vocabulary cards that I have prepared at home. Looking at a cards in their hands, the students must and say "Do you have a ______?" to get a match. Their partners in the game must answer, "Yes, I have a _______" or "No, I do not have a __________." In this way the students learn the simple grammar formats for asking questions and for constructing negative and positive responses.
Then we regroup to perform the vocabulary chants (50 to 60 word declamations to a rhythmic beat) on the CD that accompanies the lessons. This forces the children to read at a normal rate without stumbling. After going over the chants several times, any student who wants to show off his proficiency is invited to recite solo. Finally we read and translate a short, simple story (with the help of my assistant, Samah) that I have composed on the subject of the lesson. We do this as a reading comprehension exercise, so that the students experience a context for the vocabulary they have just learned. Then I ask the students to draw pictures related to the subject of the lesson and then write a few sentences about what they have just drawn. This brings out their individuality of expression. Praising each student's work, I indicate all necessary corrections of spelling or grammar.
To acknowledge my appreciation of the students' hard work during this hour-and-a-half lesson, I hand out chocolate hearts to everyone. Placing our hands over our own hearts, we say to each other "I love you," and collectively shout: "Free Palestine."