The week before the exam is tough. I’ve never been good at applying the right amount of pressure – my students all care massively about the outcome of the exams and the stress is starting to take it toll. In fact, I have a box of tissues in my classroom and I’m starting to think my teaching job is at least 50% councillor at this time of year.
To try and alleviate some of the stress, I decided to design a game based starter using the type of parachutes that infant or pre-school use. I spent most of Saturday ‘supervising’ its construction and owe a great deal of thanks to @nicboardman.
I took my AS class outside and they all held an edge of the parachute. We started off warming up by playing some of the more traditional games, things like:
If you birthday is in May run underneath the parachute to the other side….
If your name has an E in it, run to the other side…….
This could have gone on for quite some time, but aware that the exam is looming I though some more content based games would be a good idea. The first game we tried relied on some student made scrunched up paper balls. Before going outside they had all written three ‘answers’ on paper and scrunched them up. We had about 50 paper balls bouncing about on the parachute and the students were told they weren’t allowed to fall off the edge and that they had to also try and catch them. MUCH HILARITY followed and they were quite competitive to catch the balls. Once all the balls had been claimed they had to state the question to the answer they had caught. Nice to reverse question, but it was excellent content revision for theorists, dates and key terms.
After about six rounds of this I brought out some ball pit balls with the P.E.E. structure on, so some balls had P on, some E, some had intro, and others had conclusion. Same rules applied and the students had to try and catch the balls. Once this had happened they sat down around the edge of the parachute, and those with the balls had to apply their content knowledge to an essay structure of a past exam question. Often they replied on peer support, but I found once we were inside the classroom again they worked more effectively on planning past questions.
I love taking my classes outside, and this lesson felt like a win in terms of how much brighter and happier they seemed. I suspect it could be developed with more structured activities and would appreciate feedback. In the mean time I have have an awesome parachute which can double as a super hero cape.