Due to circumstances I chose not to control, this week has been a bit chaotic in my classroom. On the plus side, that has given me an opportunity to play around, which means I got to use Juan Alberto Lopez Uribe’s flying handkerchieves for the first time.
My 9 and 10 year olds have been learning to describe family members and I wanted to review with them. This seemed like a golden opportunity. I let them choose their own color of handkerchief and we wrote the colors down on the board (red, orange, yellow/gold, blue, purple, beige*, white)
They chose a descriptive word to go with each color (tall, short, young, old, smart**, small, big). Then when I called out a family member, they each made a different sentence and threw the handkerchief up. (Imagine 12 kids yelling “My mother is ___.” at the same time!) After practicing this, they all stood up. Then I called out a different family member and they threw the handkerchiefs into the middle of the room. Three by three (so they don’t attack each other) they went to get a new color and play again.
Then I varied the activity and called them to the middle pile of handkerchiefs one by one. I gave them a family member and they found the color they wanted and made a sentence: “My grandfather is old.” They enjoyed the activities, and even the quiet ones participated.
What I liked about it was the movement and the variation. They got a lot of practice, thought they were playing, and I felt confident that they could all describe family members confidently by the end.
Total time: about 15 minutes.
Ideas for next time: have student work in pairs and describe their partner’s family members (“His father is tall.”); assign family members to each color and let students group themselves into families and describe each other (“Jason is the brother. He’s young.”); put students in teams and see who can create the most fun activity using handkerchiefs with target words/language.