> Mrs. O'Neill's Blog: Learn how to have fun in English

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Learn how to have fun in English

Do you remember the Hartley’s jam advert where you got to see the strawberries or raspberries being sealed into the jar and boiled up? Perhaps you remember the funny suction noise of the lid being slammed down? I was reminded of this advert on Friday last period when my second years arrived at my oven - sorry classroom.

We have a school policy of making pupils remove jackets and sweatshirts when they arrive in class. On Friday I didn’t need to enforce it. The kids were sweltered. In a different school, in a different time, I could have taken them outside and let them roll around the grass, make daisy chains and draw pictures of Marc Bolan (Okay, so now you’re getting my secondary school memories…)

Thank goodness I had planned to give them some word games. I’d put together a sheet of rebuses and ‘origins of words and phrases’. I believe that puzzling over words gives pupils the opportunity to learn about a whole range of things from problem solving to grammar.

My second years loved them, so we moved onto a few lateral-thinking puzzles. I had also made up some anagrams of their names which was really hilarious. If you want an anagram maker that’s fairly safe look at Blackdog's Anagram Creator.

My strategy is to present them with the anagrams and if no lights go on, talk quietly to one of the pupils whose name I have anagrammed and ask him/her if a particular anagram looks at all familiar. The thing is that they really do get a feeling about those letters. They can’t quite think where they have seen them before but something is nagging away at them about it. They almost always get it within about 2 minutes. They then become the 'expert' on deciphering.

All very satisfying. I must admit I was pleased when most of them wanted to take the worksheets home.

Answers to the puzzle above: - Too (two) funny for (four) words.


Wendy said...

I have the opposite temperature problem in my class. We're virtually in the basement with very small windows. It's always freezing!
Would love some more examples of word puzzles. Am always looking for fun word puzzles for fillers, end of term etc.

Mrs. O'Neill's Blog said...

Wendy you can find some more puzzles on this site:
They give the rebus and then you can click for the answer -good if you've got a whiteboard. They also have quite a good section on etymology and the origins of phrases that you can use for 'Did you know?' sort of things. I've got a few more sources at school which I will try to post.

Wendy said...

Thank you!

gpm said...

I seem to remeber we've got a book of these kicking around somewhere - Dingbats, I think they were called.

Mrs. O'Neill's Blog said...

gpm - I call them dingbats too, but when you search dingbats you get a lot of hits with fonts and emoticons.