During the week in Wehretal in Germany we teachers learned many nice things to do with pupils, both outdoors and in the classroom. We are looking forward of trying the outdoor games this spring! Here are two examples of some nice classroom games, which already have become part of our lessons.
The first one is a good game for learning for example vocabulary in foreign languages. We had just talked about names of animals in Swedish with the sixth-graders and wanted to practice the vocabulary a bit more. The teacher had made small cards only with pictures of the animals, so the pupils had to know the names of the animals in Swedish. First we tried to remember the vocabulary together and after that every pupil got a card of his/her own. The pupils started to move in the classroom, and every time they met each other they had to ask “Which animal do you have?” The other pupil answered for example “I have a dog. What do you have?” After getting the right answer both of them said “ Lets swap!” and they had to swap the cards.
The second game we learned in Germany was like a small tournament in the class. In this game four pupils at a time each get their own corners of the classroom. The teacher starts to ask questions about things they have learned during the autumn and the pupil who gives the right answer first, will get the permission to go forward to the next corner. So the one who is the fastest can move on and the pupil who is the first one back in his or her own corner wins the round.
Each pupil takes part in at least one round and depending how many pupils there are you will go on from the first round to the finals. Our pupils loved this game, and they would have wanted to play it again and again. Here are some pictures of our seventh-graders.
We want to encourage our pupils to learn independently inside and out of the classroom so we have created these fun challenge cards! Each card explains how to play a game or activity and every card is different. Some challenges require a group of people to play, others can be completed independently. Photographs and a ‘star rating’ help pupils to choose suitable challenges for their ability and environment. Each school created 10 challenge cards so we now have a pack of 50 fun outdoor activities to try in our schools!
Pöllönkangas school had a “a cross country skiing month” in February. On the 25th of February we had our skiing day. Students could choose if they wanted to join in a skiing competition of make a small skiing trip, around 5km. Next pictures are from our competition arena.
On Thursdays we have 2h optional subjects. One group of 5th and 6th graders have P.E. as their voluntary subject. A couple of weeks ago we had “snow building” in P.E.. It is very important to know how to prepare a snow cave as a shelter, if the weather conditions change rapidly to very bad. There are some important rules on how to do it, and we learned these. First students made a basic cave. After that the ventilation holes were added. If you must spend a night in that snow shelter, it is good to have a “bed” also. So, that is a good structure in a snow cave. If you build the snow cave too airtight, the consequences are the same as in an avalanche, you don’t get any oxygen.
We wanted to try some things, which I learned at our LTT teacher training in Germany. Outdoor teaching was a big part of our visit and that’s why we decided to go to the forest with my pupils.
It’s winter and it has been a very cold week in Finland. The temperature has been about -25 degrees and we have lots of snow here. That’s why the outdoor activities were a little bit different to do here than in Germany.
Today the weather was really beautiful. The sun was shining and temperature was about -21 degrees. First we were playing “Pöllöhippa” “Catch the Owl” at our school yard. Kids liked to play it and they were running a lot. That was a good start, because they became warm. After that we walked together to the nearest forest.
In the forest we learned how to do “fox-walk” and “owl-eye”. Then we did the same exercise, that we also did in Germany. We walked alone like foxes around the forest and did “owl-eye” when we wanted to. It was important to be quiet. Pupils thought that the exercise was nice and relaxing. After that we were playing “hide and seek”-game together. It was really fun to run in the snow and also a little bit hard. But we loved it! And everyone was asking the same: “Can we do this again someday?”
We definitely must do lot more outdoor activities! It is nice to be out of the classroom and the forest is definitely the place where your mind can relax.
For the sake of your own well-being its good to learn how to relax. Relaxation encourages healthy mind and body. Relaxation through mental images at the beginning or end of class only takes a few minutes. Guided relaxation stories and scripts and widely available in the internet in various languages. In addition to taking time to relax in class, some classes also do child yoga in Pöllönkangas school.
This game is a nice moving break for any lesson. In the pictures you see our fourth graders playing.
Instructions: Music is played while pupils move around the room. When the music stops, teacher calls out one of the words and everyone tries to save oneself as fast as possible.
Flood: get your feet off the floor to stay dry
Storm: grab someone so wind will not take you
Fire: dive on the floor and lie low on the ground under the smoky air
If you want, you can also make this a competition: After a few warm-up rounds the last one to save him/herself falls out and becomes a judge. One by one everyone falls out and the last one standing gets a good round of applause.