Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Neighborhood Tour and Grammar Activity

LIEP Instructor Karen Greenstone
in her Halloween outfit
Many people in the neighborhood around Loyola University New Orleans decorate their houses and lawns for Halloween, sometimes quite elaborately. On Thursday, October 27, the Pilot Program students of the Loyola Intensive English Program (LIEP) took a walking tour of the neighborhood to observe and photograph these Halloween decorations. Upon returning to the classroom, the students used their observations and photographs in a grammar activity created by LIEP instructor Karen Greenstone.

First, we will show you some of the decorations in the neighborhood. Below are some photographs we took as we walked from house to house.

Nightmare on State Street
Spider in a tree
Halloween graveyard
Pumpkin in a pumpkin patch
Tree covered with a spider web
One lawn was filled with over two dozen skeletons, each with a creative name. Below are some of these interesting skeletons.

Bone Dry Skeleton
Deadly Glare Skeleton
Lazy Bones Skeleton
Till Death Do Us Part Skeletons
Skeleton Keys
After observing and photographing these Halloween decorations, the students returned to the classroom for the grammar activity. LIEP instructor Karen Greenstone asked them to write a description of what they had seen, using as many full and reduced adjective clauses, or relative clauses, as possible.

Below is the description composed by Pilot Program student Damesh Kirabayeva of Kazakhstan. The full and reduced adjective (or relative) clauses are underlined.

* * *

By Damesh Kirabayeva

Pilot Program Student
Damesh Kirabayeva
of Kazakhstan
This morning, my classmates and I had a walk along St. Charles Avenue. We saw a lot of houses decorated for Halloween. The first house that we saw had a gigantic spider climbing down from a tree and many old tombstones. Almost every house had a web covering the fence and trees and looking very scary. The most unusual decorated house we found on St. Charles Avenue. It was full of skeletons, and each one had a particular meaning. The skeletons, lying, sitting, or standing, all had a label with a description. Some of the descriptions had humor in their meaning, adding a little bit of fun to the scary creatures.

I noticed that almost every house looked similar to the previous houses, with hanging spiders, scary skeletons, screaming witches and their loyal black cats--and of course a little bit of humor in every front yard.  The only difference those houses have is the amount of money the owners spent on decorations. Obviously bigger houses needing more decorations must have required thousands of dollars to make their front yards look scary. Many of the owners seemed to have started preparing weeks before Halloween begins. Overall, this morning's walk made me realize that Halloween is taken seriously in New Orleans. I can't wait until the night when I will see all those kids wearing costumes and scaring everyone. Let Halloween begin!

* * *

Thank you, Damesh Kirabayeva, for sharing your description of the Halloween decorations near the Loyola campus and for using so many excellent full and reduced adjective clauses in your description. Thank you, also, to LIEP instructor Karen Greenstone for this fun and educational activity.

Our next post will return to our reading of ZEITOUN by Dave Eggers. We will tell you about an event related to this reading -- a panel discussion with three people who remained in New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina. These three Hurricane Katrina survivors will describe their experience for our LIEP students.

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