The idea popped into my head when I was taking a relief class with Year 1 at SKP. Now, I've had a little experience with Year 1 pupils when I went for SBE at SKP.
(Wait a mo', I just remembered. Both schools that I went to, for SBE and teaching practice, have the same initials- SKP! Well, the one I went to for SBE is SK Palekbang in home sweet home Kelantan while the SKP I went to for teaching practice is SK Pegoh. What do you know... huh? I wonder if I'll go to another SKP when I start teaching... anyway...)
From my SBE experience with Year 1, I realised that you have to be really active in class. I mean, really, really active. If you've read about the Year 1 pupils at my school, you'll understand why.
Anyway, during a particular relief class with Year 1, I wanted to show them how to make animal masks. At first I had planned to give them some worksheets to work on, but as soon as I began to take them out, the children began to complain and turn on sour faces. They were tired of worksheets. They wanted to do something interesting.
So I gave way and sent the class monitor to get some fresh sheets of drawing paper from the staff room. So we waited. Now, it's a dangerous thing to have nothing to do in class. You must always have some sort of activity so that the children don't start getting noisy and rowdy. In a sudden burst of inspiration, I invented the Silent Game.
It's quite simple and can probably be implemented for 5 minutes or so before the children start getting noisy again. But trust me, with these particular group of children, 5 minutes of silence is a blessing... a great blessing.
The game goes like this.
(1) Explain to the children that they will play a simple game. In this game, no noise must be made. They are absolutely forbidden to talk or even whisper.
(2) The teacher will asks some simple Yes/No questions.
(3) If their answer is YES, they must put up their right hand and do a thumbs-up while smiling.
(Don't ask me why, like I said the idea came out of nowhere)
(4) If their answer is NO, they must use their arms to form an 'X'. (Again, don't ask me why).
-couldn't find a suitable picture-
And that's it. Yeah. Haha. I hope you're not too disappointed.
It actually worked quite well, because the children were so determined to stay quiet that some of them bit their lips. (You could actually add one rule, in that anyone who makes a single noise would be punised, or something). It also took all their will not to shout out or make a noise. When I played the game with Year 1, I could see that it took a lot of effort for them to hold themselves from jumping up in excitement.
The trick is to ask interesting questions that relate to the children. When it's interesting, you can see them getting all excited.
* You can probably invent questions depending on your creativity
* It helps if you start the question with a short introduction or even story
Question: I have a pet cat at home. (If you have a story then blablabla...) Do you like cats?
If you want to make the game short and simple, then just ask a bundle of questions at one go.
I also used this game with Year 3, but in a different way. But that, is another entry, haha.
p.s. 1 - If you're able to exude that spirit and excitement when you're with children in class, even the simplest game can become interesting :)
p.s. 2 - If anyone does try this game, I'd be really interested in knowing the outcome, so drop me a line through your comments!