I love teaching my little Year 3s. They are the MOST enthusiastic little people imaginable, and although it can be a little like herding cats at times, there are only 12 of them, so it’s not a big herd.
As I drove into school this morning, I thought to myself that it was such a beautiful day, I must make the most of it and take my class outside. My wife and I always buy a few teaching supplies whenever we are over in France visiting her family, and one such purchase was a pair of hardback books, one of “Jeux d’extérieur” and one “Jeux d’extérieur”. (I’ll add a pic of them and more details tomorrow when I am in school, if I remember!)
I leafed through the latter, chose about 7 or 8 games, grabbed my whistle and half a dozen tennis balls, and went to get the pupils. After warning them that the only way this would work was if they behaved sensibly, we single-filed outside past classrooms of studious indoor children, and onto the tennis court…
We started off with a game whose name I can’t remember. I borrowed a jumper to tie around a volunteer’s eyes, and put my whistle around their neck. The aim of the game is to creep up on the person who is “up”, and blow on the whistle before they realise and grab you. It worked really well to stir up even more excitement than their had been before… If we play it again, I would make sure I have a longer lanyard to use, as it was too easy for the person to feel someone grabbing the whistle, with just my usual short lanyard. I didn’t bother trying to build any language into this game, but it would be easy enough to teach a few phrases such as “Je t’ai eu!”, “Tu m’as pa eu!”, “Ah, zut!” and so on.
Next we played “Un, deux, trois… soleil!” (more familiar as “Grandmother’s footsteps” in the UK). One pupil stood facing the wall, while the rest of us lined up about 8 metres away. We crept towards the wall, and whenever she slapped the wall 3 times, calling out “un, deux, trois… soleil!” and turning around, anyone she caught moving went back to the start. Brilliantly, Fin tried to make it ALL THE WAY TO THE WALL, EVERY SINGLE TIME we played – and never made it (but didn’t stop trying! Hilarious!)
Once we’d played that a few times (EVERYONE wanted to be the wall-slapper!), we were all nice and warm, so we played a different game to slow things down a bit. Each pair took a tennis ball, and faced each other across a line on the tennis court. Each time they threw the ball backwards and forwards between each other, they counted up from one to twenty in French, and took a step backwards. As the gap got wider, it got harder, and if anyone dropped the ball, they had to go back the middle and start from one again.
The next game was “la fuite de l’ombre” (I think that is what it’s called). This one ONLY works in the sunshine! The person who is “up” has to try to stamp on another person’s shadow, and if they do, that person is now “up”. If they are finding it a bit hard, they can called out “par deux, les ombres!”, and the others have to hold hands in pairs, making them easier to hunt down… This one was familiar to the kids from PE lessons, but the extra TL content was a fun extra.
The last game was the most hilarious to watch, and also the least successful, because the little people were a bit too little, I think: “Mille-pattes”. I put them in three teams of 4, and they had to get into a sort-of “wheelbarrow race” kind of position – but with each person’s feet hooked over the shoulders of the one behind them. The aim of the game is to get from one line to the finish, whilst still staying in “mille-pattes” formation. I video-ed this one, but I was almost wetting myself with laughter SO MUCH that I fear the footage may well be too jerky to share! And they didn’t even cross the START line, let alone the finish!
It was all great fun. I dread to think what they were like for the next teacher who taught them…
In future, I think the MFL content of the lesson could easily be ramped-up, with us perhaps discussing in advance what sort of language THEY would like to have up their sleeves for playing the games, now they know them, and then learning them and practising the phonics before we head outside and play. And I certainly plan to get them playing some of the games at “normal break time”… 😉
Do let me know if you know any other good games we could try, or how you get on if you try these at your school…