Tried and Tested - Get the chop

22nd May 2009 at 01:00

Subject: Religious education

Lesson: The 5K Karate

Ages: 11-16

Supplied by: Allen Hall, history and religious education teacher at Parrenthorn High School in Manchester

1. What is it?

A fusion of karate and religious studies that helps pupils learn the "5 Ks", or articles of faith, that are central to Sikhism.

2. Who is it aimed at?

It works particularly well with Year 7s.

3. What do you want the lesson to achieve?

Most Hollywood action films include dramatic fight scenes, often involving a form of karate to captivate the audience. After watching the classic film Enter the Dragon, I began to wonder whether Bruce Lee could help me in the classroom. Using a martial art as a memory aid is a great way to help pupils remember the main elements of the Sikh uniform.

4. What happens in the lesson?

Assign each K of the Sikh uniform with a relevant karate motion, as follows, and get pupils to shout out the Ks as they go: Kesh (uncut hair) - the pupil circles the top of their head with their right hand; Kanga (comb) - a combing motion from head to shoulder; Kara (bracelet) - rotate the right hand around the left wrist; Kirpan (sword) - touch left hip with right hand and imitate drawing a sword upward to the right; Kachera (shorts) - drop both hands below the waist and in a short repeated motion imitate pulling off a pair of shorts.

5. How do you know it has been successful?

Pupils tend to want to keep doing it, so its immediate success hinges on the fact that it's fun. To check your progress, pupils should be able to identify and explain the meaning of the 5Ks at the start of the next lesson.

6. Why would you recommend this to other teachers?

It's a bit of traditional teaching mixed with a "kick and chop", which should create a memorable learning experience, and the classroom becomes like a Hollywood set where the pupils leave entertained, motivated and informed.

7. Give us three top tips

- Keep it active and fun.

- Keep pupils thinking about what they are learning.

- Keep it focused and educational.

8. Useful resources

Why not try to tailor alternative lesson activities to reflect a love of films or another hobby? A good source that gets pupils moving and learning is Paul Ginnis's book The Teacher's Toolkit.


Title: Learning style questionnaire

Ages: 7-14

Subject: Personal, social and health education

What is it? A printable questionnaire to give to children to determine their preferred learning style. It could also be used as a stand-alone data handling lesson. Red questions could relate to auditory learners, blue to visual learners and green to kinaesthetic learners.

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