Monsters in the ELC: Part One

Dorine Yang, Nursery Teacher

This is the second in a two part series on how ELC partner classrooms worked together on a “Green Monster” project. Read part two here.

As Halloween approached, the nursery students began talking about what they were going to dress up as for Halloween. They noticed the spooky and silly decorations around their neighborhoods and stores of ghosts and monsters. The teachers decided to harness this interest to reinforce the children’s Chinese-language knowledge of colors and help teach about the different facial features.

To help scaffold this learning, the children read 走开, 绿色大怪物 ! (Go Away, Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley) in both the immersion and English classroom. The students loved the story and loved looking at the book in both classrooms. This also allows teachers to align classroom curriculum to help children gain a better understanding of the language. Children were excited when they found out they were going to make their very own big green monster in the immersion classroom! They started by ripping large green construction paper into smaller pieces to practice their fine motor skills. Afterwards, they brushed glue onto different sized pieces of green construction paper and glued them onto a white paper plate. They covered the plate to create their monster’s green face.

Making the green monster
Making the green monster

Children then added the different facial features. They chose whether they wanted to give their monster big or small eyes, a big or small nose and a big or small mouth. Some children chose to make their monsters scary by adding lots of teeth. Other children decided to give their monsters long and short hair. Some wanted their monsters to have lots of hair, others wanted just a little hair. Each child was able to customize their monster to their own liking.

Making the green monster
Making the green monster

What began as a book exercise extended into an art project that allowed us to also integrate Mandarin vocabulary in an experiential and interesting way. We were able to focus on facial features such as  眼睛 (eyes),鼻子 (nose),嘴巴 (mouth),牙齿 (teeth),耳朵 (nose),头发 (hair) and 脸 (face), as well as different colors. As we were making the different green monsters, the students also gave their monsters their own unique features and personalities. Some children said that their monster had allergies to things like pretzels and apples while others said their monsters like to scare people. Although the materials we provided were the same for each child, every monster had their own unique look. And in the English classroom, the children did another STEAM-related monster project to help extend children’s learning and understanding in a different way.

Making the green monster