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Teaching Physical Education in English using CLIL method
There are many great activities that can be incorporated into a CLIL P.E. (Physical Education) lesson. Below there is a list of our favourite games, activities, action songs and yoga that develops motor skills and language skills at the same time.
Storytelling with Movement
Combining movement with storytelling actively engages children and allows them to reinterpret the text or spoken words. Using movement, gesture, posture, and dance are excellent ways to bring characters to life while storytelling.
Going on a Frog Hunt
The storks are standing in the pond. First on one leg, then on the other. They are spreading their wings. Now, the storks are flapping their wings. They are very hungry. The storks start to walk around in the pond looking for frogs. They look left and they look right. There they are! Sitting on lily pads, there are two fat frogs. Yummy! The storks are standing still for a while and then they catch the frogs as fast as they can. Hm...they thought, why don't we play with the frogs before we finish them up? Toss your frog in the air with one wing and catch it with your other wing. Poor frogs. I can't play with them anymore. I'm so hungry. Let's just eat them.
The sun is shining bright. So many beautiful colours - the trees are beginning to blossom, the grass is green, beautiful daffodils, hyacinths, tulips and daisies everywhere. Spring is so wonderful. But clouds are coming. White clouds, then grey clouds. It is starting to rain. Ice is falling. Oh no, our beautiful flowers are in danger! It is raining hard. The wind starts to blow. The rain is pouring down. Lightning strikes. Boom! Thunder Roars. The rain is slowing down, the sun is coming out and there is a beautiful rainbow in the sky.
Sunny: Make a big circle over your head with your arms.
Cloudy: Squeeze two imaginary pillows above your head.
Rainy: Wiggle your fingers down in front of you, simulating rain.
Ice: Drum your fingers on the floor.
Windy: Sway your arms left and right like you were trees.
The rain is pouring down: Hit your legs with your hands.
Lightning: Raise your arms in the air, shout 'boom' and hit the floor hard with your hands.
Thunder: Hit the floor with your fists.
Let's pretend to be flowers. What flower would you like to be? I'm a tulip. A beautiful red tulip. Please, crouch into a ball. We are bulbs. We are growing like a flower. Rise up slowly and reach out the arms as if sprouting. Now the wind is blowing and we are swaying and waving our leaves (arms). We get thirsty (droop over forward) but someone waters us (we straighten up), that was delicious! Nighttime comes, so let's close our arms like petals do. We are sleeping now. Look, the sun is coming out, let's stretch our arms upward.
Story: The King, the Cat, and the Rose
First, I present the characters of the story. All the characters have their own gestures or movements that we come up with together. Whenever they hear the name of the character, they have to role-play it.
Once upon a time, there was a huge white palace. A king lived here. He had a cat. It was a lazy, big, fat cat. The king liked walking in his garden. There were many flowers, but his favourite was a wonderful red rose. When the king watered the rose it was stretching out to the sun. But when the king forgot to water the rose, it dropped its head.
The king's cat didn't like walking, he liked sleeping. But one day, the king became sick, so he couldn't go walking. Instead, he ordered his cat to go to the garden and water his favourite rose. The cat felt miserable.
While he was walking down the stairs, a spider landed on his head. The cat got scared, he was afraid of spiders and started to run as fast as he could. The spider, who was sitting on the cat's head, was also scared. He was afraid of speed.
The cat, with a spider on his head, bumped into a ballerina, who was dancing in the garden. The cat, the spider, and the ballerina all fell into a bush. The ballerina stood up first. She was angry. Don't you know that you can't go running around in the garden?! The king loves his rose so much. If anything happens to it...
Suddenly the cat remembered the rose. He left the ballerina and the spider and hurried to the rose. The cat watered the rose, the ballerina became friend with the spider and the king recovered fast. They all lived happily ever after. The end.
Cosmic Kids Yoga
Yoga and storytelling is a great combination and Jaimie has a wonderful British accent. We really like the Calypso the Flamingo story but there are many great Cosmic Kids Yoga videos, too.
Ballet Dance from My Little World of Songs
Look at these girls. What are they wearing? Can you see their hair? It's in a bun.
Warming up and stretching is the first thing a ballet dancer does when entering the studio. Let's see how little ballerinas do this.
Ballet Warm-up Dance is a great video for children. The movements are slow and easy to follow. The song is also good for listening practice and consolidating body vocabulary (shoulder, arm, hip, knee, etc).
Games and Activities
Mother Witch Tag Game
One person is chosen to be the witch. The witch walks in the front and everyone else walks behind her chanting in unison the following rhyme:
Slow, slow Mother Witch fell in a ditch,
She picked up a penny and thought she was rich.
The person who is the witch can stop at any time and ask in a spooky voice
“Are you there, my children?”
The group of kids can either say Yes or No. If they say No then the witch continues on and the group continues to chant. But if they say Yes, then the witch must turn around and tries to catch someone who becomes the next witch.
I stand to face the girls with a small space between us. As I wave my arms, jump, step, wiggle, bend, hop, spin, skip, run on the spot, dance or otherwise move, the kids try to “mirror” my movement. After they have imitated me for a few minutes, I let them be the mirror master one by one
Bean Bag Drop
It is a great activity to improve the fundamental motor skill of catch. The children face each other one meter apart. One of them is holding one bean bag in each hand at about eye height. She drops one bean bag and the other girl has to catch it before the bag touches the floor.
Don't forget to keep your eyes on the bean bags. Don't turn away, don't take your eyes off the bags. Stand with elbows bent and hands in front of your body. Try to catch the bag in a nest made by your hands.
Bounce and Catch
Drop the ball, let it bounce once, and then catch. Now, do it in a row. Drop and catch.
The girls try different sizes of balls. They start with larger balls, then continue the activity with smaller ones. Apart from developing hand-eye coordination and fine motor control of the hands and fingers, it is also a good way of practising the words drop, bounce and catch. We do a little maths, too.
Which ball is the biggest? Which one is the smallest? Can you put them in order by size?
Cotton Ball Target Drop
Stand on a chair and drop the cotton balls from about eye level. Try to land them in the bowl below. First, we start with a step-up stool, then a small chair and finish with a normal size chair.
Action songs may appear to just be fun, but they can also strengthen memory and recall, develop fine and gross motor skills, enhance hand and eye coordination, increase language skills, vocabulary and word understanding and much more. I like Patty Shukla's songs because they are easy to learn and remember and provide great opportunities for burning off kids energy. Her music is interactive and focuses on positive, educational messages for young people. You can find her videos on YouTube. One of our favourite Patty Shukla songs is Stand up, Sit Down. Its story is simple and fun, makes the kids burn their pent-up energy while they're learning simple instructions like stand up, sit down and turn around.
STAND UP, SIT DOWN
There once was a troll
Who guarded a bridge
wouldn’t let you pass
Until you did what he said
And his special request
went something like this
Stand up, turn around and sit down
Repeats and gets faster…
Skip to my Lou Song
Step forward with one foot, hop once on that foot. Now quickly step with your other foot and hop once on that foot. Let's sing Skip to My Lou and clap the rhythm. Let's start skipping, singing and clapping at the same time.
Song: One wombat on a trampoline
Trampoline time is loaded with health benefits. It improves balance, agility, coordination, and spatial awareness and the up-and-down motion helps children reduce stress and anxiety.
Linda Bance in her Music for Early Learning book invites us for a creative and linguistic adventure with her One wombat on a trampoline song. It provides an excellent opportunity for playing around with rhymes, expression through movement, expanding vocabulary and moving with confidence and control while having fun in a trampoline.
One wombat on a trampoline,
Boing! Boing! Boing!
One wombat on a trampoline,
Boing! Boing! Boing!
Suggestions for the song: One wombat, two tigers, three fleas, four firemen, five fish, six silkworms, seven sailors, eight apes, nine knights, ten trumpets.
We can also make up the verses with any kind of creatures.
How would a flea jump? What else can they do on a trampoline?
Can you swim/skip/spin? Can you show it?
See-saws are good fun and encourage collaborative play and patience, as they require coordination and balance between children. My kids really like it and it's a good opportunity to learn the nursery rhyme, See-Saw Margery Daw.
See-saw, Margery Daw,
Johnny shall have a new master,
He shall have but a penny a day,
Because he won't work any faster.
Outdoor Games and Activities
Who's up for Hopscotch?
Apart from having fun, this game provides countless benefits for children. It helps children to master body control and to manage body rhythm. The movements involved build body strength, balance, eye-hand coordination and more.
Who'd like to play hopscotch? How many pucks are there? What colour are they? Which one would you like to play with? Who comes first? Who's turn is it now? Count from 1 to 10. Now, count backwards, from 10 to 1.
Kids can learn many new words as bow, arrow, pull back the bowstring, shoot the arrow, it's your turn now, etc. Apart from entertaining them, archery is immensely beneficial for them as it improves hand-eye coordination and balance, and increases focus and patience.
Nature scavenger hunts are perfect for outdoor play and a wonderful way to encourage children to slow down and observe their environment. They have many benefits on health, gross motor skills and provide great opportunities for language learning. There are many excellent printables on Woodland Trust's website for free!
What colour paper would you like to use for your kite? What about the streamers? What colour do you need?
Let's go out and fly the kites. Wait for the wind to start blowing (it wasn't a windy day, just a breeze now and then). Look at the trees. Are they moving? Now, start running.
Spotting shapes in the clouds is a delightful calming activity after so much running.
What kind of clouds can you see? Can you see fluffy/fat/thin/white/grey/high/low clouds? How are they moving? Fast/slowly/up/down/left/right? Can you spot any shapes in them? Which one is your favourite?
Blowing bubbles is not only an easy way to have fun with children, it’s also an amusing way to work on a lot of developmental skills, such as fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, visual tracking skills, gross motor skills, social and communication skills and much more. After letting the girls delight in their bubble blowers, I give them directions on how to pop the bubbles.
Clap the bubbles, poke them, squeeze them, jump on them. Pop with your finger, your elbow, your knee, or your nose. The bubbles are going up (or down). They’re going fast (or slow). There’s a bubble in front of (or behind) you. I see one next to you. There’s one above (or below) your head. It’s to your right (or left). That’s a really big (or little) bubble.
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