Sunday, 25 May 2014

Detective games

Last week we had a lesson full of mystery games in a Year 3 group. Their topic for the term is "We are the detectives", so I planned the following activities:
There were 5 missions in 5 envelopes full of props. I will describe them in the order they appear in the photo, but it is up to you how you want to play them.
1, Un buen detective tiene que estar en forma. /A good detective has to be fit.
Exercise time with "Corners"! The teacher puts signs up for the four points of the compass in the 4 corners of the classroom. The pupils walk/dance to "Los puntos cardinales" by Los Pimpollos. They can point to the right corner when they hear the words in the song and sing Po po po pon chiqui pon chiqui pon pon pon :-) When the music stops, they have to choose a corner, and a volunteer picks a compass point word from the bag. Those who are staying in that corner leave the game. At this point I tell the children to sit well and sing, and the best singer can become the next one to pick a corner word from the bag. The video has an image of Machu Picchu, and Los Pimpollos are from Peru, so we tick the Intercultural Understanding box while dancing to this catchy tune. Beware! Once you click on "Play", the song will be in your head for a good few days!
2, Un buen detective tiene que reconocer la voz misteriosa. / A good detective has to recognise the mystery voice.
We play "the mystery voice" all the time! I am sure you all know this game, I have a Spain football scarf to blindfold the volunteer and somebody else says the word in a mystery voice. Our words were "norte", "sur", "este" and "oeste"; the mystery person had to hold a compass while saying the word and the blindfolded person had to wear a detective moustache on a skewer. 
3. Un buen detective tiene que encontrar el objeto perdido. / A good detective has to find the lost object.
The classic hot/cold game: a volunteer hides something (in this case, a compass) while  another pupil is out, when this comes back, the rest of the class whispers the word/sentence and gets louder as the pupil gets closer to the object. Our words were "norte", "sur", "este" and "oeste".
4. Un buen detective tiene que encontrar la señal secreta./A good detective has to find the secret signal.
Another favourite game we play all the time! It works really well with lists (days, months) and numbers. Two detective pupils (wearing moustaches) leave the room, the class agrees on who gives the signal (pulling an ear, winking, scratching the head etc.), and when the detectives are back, they have to guess who gives the secret signal, they have 2 chances each. The class can only say the next word if they see the secret signal.
5, Un buen detective tiene que reconocer las caras sospechosas. /A good detective has to recognise the suspicious faces.
This is a popular hiding game, two detectives wearing sunglasses go out, and the teacher gives out different objects to 5-6 kids. They all put their hands under the desks. The detectives come back and can ask 3 questions each (in any topic: ¿Cuántos años tienes, ¿Qué deportes practicas?...).The chosen children answer and put their hands up. If they have something under the desks, they have to give the object to the detectives. At the end everybody puts their hands up and we count how many objects the detectives have found.
6. Un buen detective tiene que hacer muchas preguntas. / A good detective has to ask many questions.
The pupils have to change identities and put a finger puppet on (good for the shy ones), then they have 3 minutes to ask questions to as many pupils as they can (and wait for the answer, of course!).
More ideas:
Poundland foam shape stickers could be used for giving and drawing a description about somebody who committed a crime (hair+eye colours, clothes).
 For only description of hair/eye colours, you could use foam faces from Poundland.  The blank jigsaw puzzle (Wilkinson's) would be good to play language detectives (write a sentence, mix the pieces and your partner needs to puts them together). The moustaches are from Poundland, too. I didn't want the children to stick them on, and glued them on skewers. I haven't decided what to do with the emotion face stickers yet.
For detectives and mentalists only: this is how my mind works when planning a lesson!


Thursday, 15 May 2014

Greg Horton's tense dance - my primary version

On a Saturday morning last month, I went to an ALL CPD event in Manchester called "Active Learning" by Greg Horton. It was absolutely amazing, he really got us out in the middle of the dance floor, we laughed and learnt a lot. We promised to try his activities immediately in the classroom, and I have included something "active" in most of my lessons ever since then.
The "tense dance" is suitable for secondary learners, you dance with a partner, who says a sentence in present/past/future and you have to move accordingly.
Present: one step to the side
Past: one step backwards
Future: one step forwards
Opinion: twirl:-)
In primary school we only speak in present tense, so I came up with different challenges for my classes today.
Year 3

Weather sentence with a silent letter: one step forwards!
Weather sentence without a silent letter: one step backwards!
Weather sentence with an adverb: one step sideways!
Weather question: twirl!
Year 4

Sentence with a feminine noun: move forwards!
Sentence with a masculine noun: move backwards!
Sentence with an adjective: move sideways!
2 verbs in a sentence: sentence: twirl!
Year 5
Sentence "on the hour": move forwards!
Sentence with "half past": move backwords!
A question: move sideways!
Opinion: twirl!
It was a loud and messy activity, we loved it! I demonstrated the dance beforehand with a volunteer, and it was so funny:-) I even put some background music on ("Jota de los toros", our eTwinning partner Natalia sent us from Valladolid), so the noise level was similar to a Saturday night in the disco! I walked around, helped out with the sentences and danced with the shy ones.
The PowerPoint was up for support, but I made it clear that they could use their own sentences. They took turns saying a sentence each. The classroom was just about the right size, but next week I will take them to the hall for the dance.
Thank you Greg for this fantastic idea, I remember you travelled for 5 hours to get to Manchester, but it was well worth it, you made about a hundred children laugh and enjoy their active learning today!

Monday, 12 May 2014

Weather activities

In year 3 we are learning about the weather, these are some of the activities we really like:

 Weather props

These are my toys I use while practising the vocabulary. I blindfold the children, they have to pick one from the feely bag and guess the weather. They are good for "Heads down, thumbs up", and hiding games. A hiding game we like is when 2 detectives go out, and while they are out, I hand out some toys or props. Then I ask everybody to put their hands under the tables, regardless of whether they have a toy or not. The two detectives come in and they have 3 guesses each to find the toys. They have to ask "¿Qué tiempo hace hoy?" from pupils who look suspicious. The pupil who has been asked puts his/her hands up and says: "Hace frío/calor", etc. When the detectives run out of guesses we count how many toys they have found. And I forgot to say, the detectives have to wear those plastic rain hats:-) The boys love them!


This idea is not mine, I read it in an email by Alison McLucas, she was advising on how to teach PMLD children in the primary languages forum.  This is how I used her idea: I took a water spray (Está lloviendo.), a fan (Hace viento.), cotton wools (Está nevando.) and a hair dryer (Hace calor/frío/viento) in the classroom, I blindfolded volunteers and made them a sensation challenge: they had to touch the cotton wools, feel the hair dryer blowing out hot/cold air, feel the fan near their faces and they even got a bit wet when I sprayed water on them! It is such a funny activity!

Playdough weather:

I am a big playdough fan, they are not messy (as long as they stay on the tables) and pupils love being creative with them. The children work in pairs, each make a weather statue/picture, and the partner has to say the sentence in Spanish. Here are some photos I took last year:
Weather report:

I don't call it a weather forecast, because we don't use the future tense yet, but it looks exactly the same. Years ago, on a CPD event, I was given a pen that I can pull out to make a long stick, the children love holding it while standing and speaking in front of the class. I have a big South America map I found on the TES website ages ago (sorry, don't know whose it is, if you recognize it, let me know) and I put it on the IWB. The pupils come out in pairs, with 30 children it takes a while, we usually do the reports in two lessons. We video the reports, and we have lots of fun watching ourselves later! A typical weather report looks like this:
Buenos días!Me llamo Amy. 
Buenos días! Me llamo Joe.
Hoy hace frío en Argentina. Hace calor en Perú.
Está lloviendo en Ecuador, y está nevando en Chile.
¡Adiós! Adiós!
As an extension activity, they can say the temperatures: Hace 20 grados en Ecuador.

Mini book

I came up with this idea when I found a long forgotten mini book templates folder I had printed out from Clare Seccombe's blog. The template had the umbrella in it already, but I wanted to add more pop up pictures, and looked for instruction on the internet here. Scroll down a bit to see how to make the middle of page, where you will glue the images.
I didn't find the template online any more, but here is a photo of it, that is where you will have to draw/cut the umbrella in your mini book. The small papers will be the pop up pictures.

We could add the months and the seasons, as well.

Sol, solecito....  A very good song to sing in the cloudy England, we always want more sunshine! We do the actions while singing the song, the lyrics are here.

Another good song is ¿Qué tiempo hace? on the Español, Español
CD by Carole Nicoll. We sing the first 8 lines and do the actions at the beginning of the lessons, as a warm up activity.
Muical intstruments from Spanish speaking countries:

The windpipe is from Peru, and it imitates the sound of the wind. We look at the Andes on the map and listen to some panpipe music from YouTube. The rainstick is from the Atacama desert in Chile, it is made of cactus. I ask the pupils to make one at home (plastic bottle with rice in for example) for a small reward, but also tell them not to shake them too much as it rains enough in England!

Behind the scenes:

This is how mini books are really made in my house:-)

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Meet my puppets!

Here is a list of my puppet activities:
Zig and Zag/ Pablo and Rosa
They were my very first puppets, I got them from a charity shop.  They lived with me until they retired to sunny Spain in 2012. I actually carried them in my handbag to two different holidays in Spain and took photos of them (making a fool of myself many times:-). They both send us postcards and we talk about where they are, what the weather is like and how to write a postcard.
Rosa lives in Ibiza, she likes the sun!

Pablo prefers big cities, he lives in Sevilla and he wants to know what we think of bullfights! This question comes up every time we talk about los Sanfermines and divides the class in two.

Finger puppets:
My first two came from Ibiza, from this street seller:

Then I decided that we all needed one and bought loads from eBay, these are hand made in Peru, 30 cost me about £20. Each pupil gets one, they walk around the classroom and ask/answer all kinds of questions. The shy children are more likely to speak this way and everybody is keen to speak with more partners because they want to show off with their puppets. We look at Peru on the map and mention that it is a Spanish speaking country, like many more in Central/South America.

My String Puppet
I don't know who she is, but she can do actions very well. She is quite new, so far we have used her to demonstrate verbs in our school topic ("Juego en el patio.", "Leo en la biblioteca.", "Como en el comedor." etc.).

The two dragons
These two dragons are really good because you can move their mouths with your fingers at the end of the sticks. If I have the IWB on without the computer attached and the screen is blank, it actually shows the shadows of them when the children hold them in front, very scary!


María and Pedro
They come from the airport duty free shop, as you can tell by their stereotyped look! We use them to perform short role plays, they are really popular and I always get plenty of volunteers to come up in front of the class to play with them. They are my models when we learn what nationalities we are, they say "Soy español" and "Soy Española."

Valentín: love at first sight
I bumped into him on Valentine's Day in the charity shop, that's where his name comes from. When he is with us, we always remember that there is no "v" sound in Spanish. He can do actions, he can freeze like a statue and we have to guess what verb/sentence he is acting out. He loves football and he keeps up with the League tables, he is wearing a Manchester City jacket and a Real Madrid shirt at the moment.

What are your favourite puppets? Leave a comment or tweet me!