“Because I’m Happy” – New Year’s Activity


Happy New Year! Naomi's Photos
Happy New Year!
Naomi’s Photos

I had to consider so many different constraints when creating this video-homework-task that it became quite difficult. Time will tell how effective it was.

1) The first constraint was actually time – I HAD to have it ready by Monday (two days ago). I’m trying to get my new students used to doing homework online, once a week. I post new tasks on Monday nights. Believe me, with this group it is an uphill battle.

2) We’re celebrating the New Year next week and I really wanted to have the activity relate to happiness in some way.

3) I really needed to practice the word “would” right away, even though many students haven’t learned the second conditional yet. It’s a very common word yet the electronic dictionary doesn’t help them understand it. My goal was to stress the hypothetical aspect of the word, and only that. Trying to imagine yourself participating in one of these two videos and thinking about what it would be like to have certain things happen to you, seemed to me to be the way to go.

4)  Students indiscriminate use of Google Translate (or alternative online translators) make it very problematic to assign certain types of tasks. If I just ask the students to create sentences to describe things that would make them happy, copy sentences into suitable columns in a table, or sequence events depicted in a video, they’ll do it all in L1. I call this situation:

“No English was harmed in the course of completing this activity”.


So I added gap-filling to the sentences before copying them into the table, simply to make it harder to use the online translator blindly. Not entirely satisfied with the results, but I had to stick to the “happy” theme.

5) I had to use TWO videos. I knew my deaf students would like the video made by deaf students at a Film Summer Camp. However, I have a group of new (very new) hard of hearing students who not only don’t use sign language, they don’t want to have anything to do with it.  I believe they will relax over time, I’ve seen it happen many times before. The kids study together! So I used a version without sign language and made sure the questions didn’t mention it.

6) I had to make sure the activity fit into one page. It is quite astonishing how many students do not “see” the part on the second page!

So, here are the two videos. Below them are two worksheets. The “blue” one is a bit harder than the “red” one.


 Because I’m happy blue2

Because I’m happy red



6 thoughts on ““Because I’m Happy” – New Year’s Activity”

  1. Just reading your task makes me feel like a ‘room without a roof!’

    I was just wondering whether they post their homework on a collaborative site, a blog or WIKI, or do they e-mail you their work?

    Just a great song to get the year off to a happy start.

    Shanna Tova


    1. We use edmodo, Jane. Only I see their tasks, which is actually important with these special ed kids.
      Shana Tova to you too!

  2. Great song for the new year – loved it. Just curious, do you teach ASL to the kids who use sign language? Is this teaching English to the hearing-impaired? Something I have never thought about before so sorry if it is a ‘stupid’ question.

    And Shana Tova to you all!

  3. Thanks Marjorie!
    No, we don’t teach ASL. We work on reading and writing. But I have a lot of ASL materials for the kids who are interested to look at.

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