Saturday, 11 May 2013

Snowballs in the classroom

The class that didn't need me

Ever had a great moment when you know things have gone well? 

How about a class being self starting working on a topic or idea that you have kicked off in a lesson before and they carry on without you? 

Sounds almost impossible doesn't it but it happened to me. This idea is simple and it works.

Many of you will already know this activity a numeracy game at its best, but for those that don’t it is great fun. One day I was late for a class , the school was built on two sites and it took at least 3 to 4 minutes to get from one site to another. 

By the time I had arrived in my class the pupils had organised the starter for themselves and were playing snowballs. How many lessons would that happen in?

Want an instant resource book for starters? This book is full of ideas that are easy to implement and will provide you with starters that you can use straight away. 

An excellent book that will get any lesson off to a flying start Letts Red Hot Starters - Maths (Letts 101 Red Hot Starters)

 The game

The game starts when you select two pupils from the class. Stand them back to back  at the front telling them they are going to have a duel. There are no guns allowed but they can use snowballs. 

They have to cup their hands in front of them into which you place an imaginary snowball. Instruct them that you are going to count to three and at each number they have to take one pace away from each other. On the count of three they stop back to back at 6 paces apart.

You ask a question for example ‘how many sides does a pentagon have?’ or ‘what is 4 x 9?’ My favourite re the multiplication tables as this is  fun way to practise them. 

When one of our duellist has the answer they turn around and say the answer out loud, if right they throw the snowball at their opponent, if incorrect the initiative goes to their rival who has to give an answer. 

If correct they can throw the snowball at the other person. The loser sits down and another challenger is selected. If they are both wrong they both sit down. This great fun and has endless variations.

After the snow has melted

There is no better way for  child to become comfortable with the tools of numeracy than if they are playing and having fun. 

It sometimes difficult to stop the non-combatants from whispering the answer to one another or getting excited that they know the answer.

After doing this activity the atmosphere in the classroom is very positive. The children often ask if they can start, or end, a lesson with snowballs.

I have adapted this game to include division, addition, subtraction, fraction of quantities etc. there seems to be no limit. 

The more activities you can find like this to add to your teaching portfolio the better for everyone especially if they are fun.

I was amazed that the starters book can even be purchased for 1p from Amazon. Click on one of the links to buy the book.


Letts Red Hot Starters - Maths (Letts 101 Red Hot Starters)

More resources for your classroom click on resources 

For general books on how to move your teaching to outstanding click on general teaching books

Books to feed your mind click mind food

Just looking for a good read click good read