Hi and welcome back to Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers!
Summer, fall, winter, spring…some children don’t get opportunities to take family vacations during the year.
What to do to help these kids feel the excitement of a getaway and get some good learning on route?
Take them on Make Believe Vacations!
When you take children on Make Believe Vacations you:
* introduce them to new experiences
* make learning magical
* build their skills and self-confidence
* add joy to their lives
Visit The Magical Sports Store – Tweak the English expression, “Just like a kid in a candy shop” into “Just like a kid in an amazing, magical sports store.”
Catch the class’ attention by announcing that you’ve got a mini-vacation planned for language arts time.
Hold up a plastic bat (or other piece of sports equipment popular in your region of the world) and explain that you’ll be taking an imaginary (or virtual, if you have online access in your classroom) trip to a famous ballpark.
Explain that the bat you have in hand has magical powers. Every time a player steps up to home plate and swings at a baseball with this bat…
When kids ooh and aah, tell them that they have a chance on this make-believe vacation to write about the experience of being at bat with a magical bat.
What short stories will they tell?
Ballpark Math with a Make Believe Vacation as a Sports Reporter – Some students might choose to report on a ballgame rather than play the sport itself.
Invite kids to track the stats on a Make Believe Vacation as a sports reporter.
Tracking stats is all about math and a love of numbers about super sports stars.
Tie math to language arts (a S.T.E.M. activity) by explaining how the collection and reporting of sports stats requires knowing who, what, when, where, and how…
key questions in non-fiction reading comprehension and non-fiction writing.
Where else can you take kids on a Make Believe Vacation?
Travel to Caribbean Cove to Train Dolphins – Most kids love the idea of swimming with dolphins.
Many children have seen these friendly acting ocean occupants in books, movies or online.
Hop aboard an imaginary airplane and fly with your class to Caribbean Cove to train dolphins on a Make Believe Vacation.
Training dolphins can especially help kids who are “feeling down.”
The expressive nature of these special animals seems to connect with the special needs of children.
Go online to a site that features dolphin training, or show a film on the subject as the highlight of your Make Believe Vacation to Caribbean Cove.
Pick up on the popularity of dolphins with a Dive Into Learning theme that begins with imaginary dolphin training.
Keep a folder with a dolphin on the cover in your classroom.
When a child seems “down,” distracted by worry, or frustrated by challenging school work, slip the dolphin folder onto her or his desk and explain that “the dolphin wanted to stop by for a visit.”
Invite the student to write a note to the dolphin and leave it inside the folder for you to pick up later.
The note may reveal the child’s concern and offer insight into how you can help.
Visit with a Make Believe Talking Animal in a Zany Zoo – Make “make-believe” work for attracting children’s attention in class.
Tell young children that you have a surprise in store for the day…
a Make Believe Vacation to a zoo as part of your teaching time.
Select a stuffed animal to show the class for your zoo vacation. Tell the class the animal’s name. (Make up a name that’s easy to say and remember.)
Talk to the stuffed animal as if it is real.
Explain that it’s just after feeding time. Ask children to be quiet so that the animal can “nap.”
Tuck the critter into a cozy spot, pat it with loving care, and promise the class that the animal has stories to tell later.
Young kids will “eat up” your dramatic performance and quiet down for lesson time.
Teachers and librarians who work with grades K – 2 use stuffed animals and dolls based on storybook characters to encourage reading.
Some educators motivate young students to read by allowing them to “borrow” a storybook animal or doll to sit with when they borrow a book.
Taking kids on Make Believe Vacations to near or far destinations is a fun and functional way to help children in multi-functional ways.
Remember, you don’t need to be a magician to work magic in any instructional setting!
Please send comments about how you use make-believe in teaching.
Talk with you next week,
Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet