Friday, 8 February 2013

Valentine Bird Buddies

Today we break for half term. It doesn't seem long since we went back after Christmas, but a 5 week half term is pretty unusual. Even more unusual is the fact that when we go back it's only 5 more weeks until we break for Easter! All well and good, but we'll pay for it eventually - probably with two 8 week half terms in the summer...

I wouldn't say that there was a problem with a half term holiday, except this time it's come at a pretty awkward time. Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday) is on 12th and Valentine's Day on the 14th. But I'm not one to let my kids miss out, even if I don't have a class of my own. So this week we're doing some fun Valentine's activities.

Bearing in mind that all of my kids are at various stages of learning English, it's been quite a challenge to come up with activities that have a curriculum base rather than just fun craftivity that they can make and take home. I wanted to assess how well they could understand spoken English and follow directions, so some of my younger children followed instructions to make Valentine glyphs. Some of the instructions were straightforward, like "draw a blue triangle if you have any pets." Others required just a touch more understanding, like "draw a pink circle if you prefer ice cream, and a purple one if you prefer chocolate." They loved this activity, and it gave them something to take away too (I usually have to keep all their work as evidence).
Just look at this cheeky chappie - he always manages to make me smile.

Some of these children preferred Christmas to Easter - see the fab Christmas tree...
Some of my children are further forward with their English acquisition, and were ready for more of a challenge. Cindy's fantastic "How to Make a Valentine Bird" was the perfect thing.

I started by telling the children their Learning Objective: to listen, understand and follow verbal instructions to make something to do with Valentine's Day. I explained that I would not be showing them what their craft should look like and that the only clues would be the verbal instructions I would give them. They would know how successful they were at the end of the project when I showed them the diagrammatic instructions and an example of the outcome. They were raring to go!

Most of the birds turned out just fine, although there were some legs sticking out of some very odd places...

Here are some of our Valentine Bird Buddies:

Some of the children then went on to write up the instructions using sentence strips to scaffold their writing.

Well done, guys! Great job!

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