Toying with rhythm
In this lesson I introduce four rhythms to my five- and sixyear-old pupils, using toys to represent each one: a "doll" (minim), a "teddy" (two crotchets), a "racing car" (quaver, quaver, crotchet) and a "double-decker" (four quavers).
Sit the children in a circle and bring out one toy at a time, asking them to say, and clap, each rhythm. After a few rounds, start introducing different percussion instruments, ensuring the children know their proper names.
Next, ask the pupils to clap the rhythm back to you and guess the name of the instrument you are playing. If they are successful, invite them up to play.
In a subsequent lesson, we create rhythm cards by drawing the toy on the front and musical notation on the back. These can then be used for a range of activities.
Nancy Gedge is a primary school teacher
Link up to explain ionic compounds
Understanding chemical formulae is crucial in chemistry. Many methods can be used to convey the concept, but with my 12- to 14-year-olds I like to use "arms and loops".
Distribute laminated A4 sheets with a different ion on each one, and get pupils to hang them around their necks so that they become the charged particles. Pupils with a positive charge have to make a "linking arm"; those with a negative charge have to make a "loop" by putting their hands on their hips.
Then set about making compounds by asking students with the relevant ions to come to the front of the class to link arms and loops.
Students quickly get over their initial embarrassment and have fun creating ionic combinations. Photograph the different combinations to make a wall display.
Finally, get students to transfer the method on to whiteboards, by sketching positive ions with arms and negative ions with loops, then creating compounds. By the end of the lesson, most students are able to use the technique to write basic ionic formulae.
Shaun Thompson is a chemistry teacher at Yarm School in Stockton-on-Tees
Set your class a grammar challenge
This "grammar challenge" was designed to motivate my 14- and 15-year-old pupils and make assessment more fun and interactive.
Set up six stations around the room, each offering a different task. Make some directly grammar-focused (for example, identifying the correct auxiliary verbs for the perfect tense, or forming past participles) and others vocabulary-based (filling in diagrams to test knowledge of recent topics, or matching a photo to a paragraph of writing).
Split the pupils into carefully balanced teams of three and give them three minutes at each station. I use an online countdown timer that signals when it's time to move on. This allows me to circulate, checking progress and preventing cheating.
Once the pupils have visited every station, mark the answers, reward the winning team and highlight important grammar points.
Reviewing the completed worksheets can help you to identify the areas pupils find most challenging, allowing you to pinpoint what to work on in the weeks that follow.
Charlotte Baker is a French teacher at Brighton College
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