This is exactly what one of my teaching assistants bought me the other day. It looks like a recorder with about two octaves worth of piano keys stuck on the top of it. I have no idea what this instrument is called. It sounds slightly Parisian, or maybe like something you’d hear on a pirate ship. Either way it’s awesome and I’m pretty sure Teacher Thurlow was harvested his first Teaching Assistant crush. Am I right? Do girls buy guys musical instruments normally? No they don’t. I’m James Bond.
I’ve been using ‘The Instrument’ in class a lot recently. (I appreciate that if you’ve jumped to this paragraph first you may want to read the previous one beforehand as that sounded wrong). Getting kids to act out miserable vignettes while I play sombre harmonies and then notching up to positivity as I harp away on the high ones = teaching gold. Well, procrastination gold. Which reminds me, it’s time for The Teachers Handbook, Volume 2!
Apart from the aforementioned Air Piano Acting Game, I can also recommend the Air Piano Movement Game. In this sound-based classic, the kids can only move every time a note is played on The Instrument. During silence they remain still. During this silence I can move, cornering kids (for they cannot touch me) or at least getting very close so that their next move is vital. I will then play another note. The kids can only move once. Maybe I’ll move again, maybe I’ll play a few more notes. They don’t know, they’re at the mercy of The Instrument. The last kid to be tagged by me wins.
English used – ehhhhhh. none.
Game 2) The Chicken Game. I have a hand puppet that looks like a chicken. A kid must stand in the middle of the room in total silence. The class looks on in a similar hush. The chicken is revealed, first eyeing up the victim, then moving closer, before pecking at the neck and face. If the kid flinches, twitches or indeed smiles, they lose. If (and this is very rarely the case) they remain stoney-faced then the chicken loses. It’s a battle of wits at it’s purest and yes, most basic level.
English used – eeehhhhh. none.
3)” What happened.” I get the kids to shut their eyes and then select a couple of volunteers. I then lay them about the class with numerous bits of furniture on top of them. Maybe one of them has chalk on their face, Maybe the other is covered in sticky balls. The rest of the class then open their eyes and take wild guesses at what happened. Only I have the right answers and they are deeply subject to change, depending on the kid with the funniest answer.
English used – actually a lot! Only to be used if they can use the past tense. Other wise it’s ‘What Is Happening’ and that’s a tad easier to guess. ie- “Jimmy is under three chairs. He is sad.”
And that concludes Part 2 of The Teachers Handbook. There will be a short test to follow.