Number one for English language teachers

Keith's Corner: Entry 8: Sports and celebrations

Type: Article

In his eighth diary entry, Keith and his young learners bring winter to a close with an action-packed month learning about winter sports and Chinese culture.

Winter brought us two important themes to work with: winter sports and the Chinese new year. If you are reading this close to the month of January, you could use some of these activities to celebrate Chinese New Year.

Winter sports

Winter sports is a great topic for discussion and exploration. The children learned sporty words like: skiing, skating, ski jumping, bobsleigh, ice-hockey and curling. We also watched some short video clips of the different winter sports.

Classroom skiing

Learning about winter sports wouldn’t be the same without the chance to act some of them out, so we decided to have a ski race in the classroom! We created cardboard skis and the children ran races. We even had a medal ceremony where the participants were awarded gold, silver and bronze medals, made by the children of course. They were all very proud and excited about the awards ceremony.

Ice cube sportspeople

For a science activity we created ice cube sportspeople. These were slid across the classroom tables like skaters and skiers. The children learned that the melting ice creates water, which helps the ice move across the surface of the table.

Blow-straw ski jumping

We simulated ski jumping using images of skiers stuck to toothpicks and placed into a straw. The children had to see how far they could make the skier fly through the air by blowing as hard as they could.

The Chinese calendar

For the Chinese new year, the children were read the story of how the rat chose the other 11 animals (ox, tiger, hare, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig) to make up the 12 animals of the Chinese calendar. This was something new for me too! I discovered that I was born under the sign of the sheep and that most of the children at Anglia School were born under the sign of the rat, ox or pig.

Dragon dancing

The children were treated to the sounds and rhythms of a film of a Chinese dragon dance performance. This was followed by the children creating their own red and gold Chinese paper dragons on sticks in order to re-enact the dance they had seen.

Chinese lanterns

During circle time we had a show of Chinese artifacts that I had collected on a number of trips to China. The children oohed and aahed at the colourful artwork and intricate craftsmanship on the scrolls, banners, combs, fans and decorations. This led to a craft activity to make decorative paper lanterns, which the children designed themselves.

Find the animal

The game ’Find the animal’ was an instant success. We stuck two sets of flashcards (24 animals in total) around the room and the children were told to Find the tiger or Find the rooster. On one occasion, they read my lips before I had time to say the word – quite amazing! A table was drawn up on the whiteboard and once all the cards had been found we counted out who had collected the most. This involved picture and word recognition and numeracy all in one simple game – perfect!

We certainly had an exotic and active time this month at Anglia School! What could be next?

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