Girliphants, Shellfish Casinos, and Italian Guys: Students’ Dream Countries

20151002_070849229_iOS“Get into your state groups,” I told my two Speaking and Writing classes this week. “We are going to create our own countries!”

The students scrambled to find their group mates and push the desks together into small circles. I clicked the next slide on the PowerPoint to share my dream country of Janinia, a tropical island where the inhabitants go swimming on the beach and eat chocolate every night for dinner. Students oohed and aahed at the pictures (such as the one below), whispering to each other about what they would want their own country to be like.


“Be creative!” I encouraged as I handed out sheets of paper with a series of questions. “You have twenty minutes to write. Go!”

I walked around the room, observing my students sitting in their circles with their heads bent toward their brochures. In the all-girls class, the students quickly finished their writing so they could decorate the front of the travel brochure. In the all-boys class, some of the students took special care to hide their writing from me.

“Secret!” they said, shooing me away from their precious work.

Others students were less secretive and wanted to ask some pressing political questions.

“Janine, what is word for not democracy?” one of the boys asked.

“You mean monarchy, like king and queen? Or dictatorship, like Kim Jong Un?”

“Like North Korea, China or USSR!”


“Yes! We are communist country!”

At the end of the class, the students presented their brochures. To give an example of their creativity, I have included some of my favorites below.

6G44M (6 Girls, 44 Men) – All-girls class

A land in which 6 women rule and are constantly surrounded by 44 good-looking men.



Girl Land – All-boys class

A country in which almost everything and everyone is a girl – girl animals, girl festivals, and human girls.

Girl Land

Bramansurstan – All-girls class

A country loosely based on Saudi Arabia, but with money showers, Ferraris, and Italian guys.   20150911_035812249_iOS

Tear of Shellfish – All-boys class

A country in which students can eat shellfish and indulge their burgeoning inner gamblers.


I think I have some new winter break destinations!


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