The ESL class summer session starts next Tuesday. I think I've found a great reading to assign for the first night. It's called "Attention, People of Earth" and the first paragraph reads like this:
We are on our way to your planet. We will be there shortly. But in this, our first contact with you, our "headline" is: We do not want your gravel.
The aliens then go on to explain why they are coming to visit us on earth and to reiterate, over and over again, that our gravel is safe. Well, they might take a tiny little sample, just for scientific study, but it will be so little that we won't even notice. No need for alarm. ;)
If you'd like to read the whole short story, it's published on the New Yorker website here.
There are some cultural references (like Mork from Mork and Mindy - you know, the "... friendly, non-gravel wanting alien who visited Earth just to find out what was there, and not to harvest gravel.") that I'll have to think about. I might put together a glossary and/or do a little bit of editing to help them with those bits...
But I think it's very funny and should set us up to talk about lots of things - like whether or not they believe in extraterrestrial life and how you can tell when a person doesn't mean what he/she is saying...
I'm also excited about launching my ESL Challenge Course. I've put together this bulletin board to display in the classroom:
There is one section per mission and the idea is that, each time a person completes a mission, I'll take a picture of her with her evidence and then post that picture in the appropriate section. (The white squares are the size of the photos - I wanted to make sure that I could fit 6 per section - and, no, Sammy did NOT complete one of the missions...) Hopefully this will add visible reminders to their growing sense of accomplishment. :)