Vexillology

Next to looking at maps, I love looking at flags!  International flags display many of the best devices and some of the worst transgressions of flag protocols with some surprising genius in the mix! U.S. state flags are mostly dreary, but a few stand out with pretty stunning designs.  What makes for a quality flag design and why do some fail so badly?

This is one of my favorite TED talks.  Roman Mars is obsessed with flags; a true vexillologist.  He clues you in to the most sublime and some of the worst crimes in flag design.

With Flag Day coming in June (6/14), I put together a lesson in flag design.  From hoist to fly, canton to saltires, the vocabulary of a vexillologist illustrates the construct and the details of flag design.  See why New Zealanders are so vexed about their own flag or which country’s flag has three flags all combined into one!  Do you know which canton is the upper hoist side? This lesson ‘splains it all!  Check out the preview here.  Then download the lesson!

Time for you to be the judge.  Does your state or country have a flag worth sending up the pole or does the sight of it flapping overhead ruin your day? Download this file so that the next time you’re looking at a flag waving in the wind you can decide for yourself if it is a rocking design or something best forgotten.  And better yet, wake up the budding vexillologists in your classroom and give them a Flag Day they’ll never forget!

If you’re interested in more flag fun, check out all the flag games and pennants in Donald’s English Classroom!

Happy Flag Day!

Don

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Swimming With Sharks

Download Swimming With Sharks and try it out in class!

On the lookout for games…

In my kids classes I am always looking for ways to anchor the question and answer dialogues they are learning with ‘real world’ application. Of course, there’s only so much that the ‘real world’ actually enters the classroom to allow repeated practice of such basic dialogues as What’s your name?, How old are you?, Where do you live?, Do you like…?. Do you have…?, What’s this?, and What’s that?  So I’m always on the lookout for games that can serve this purpose. Swimming with Sharks is one that I regularly use, and that the students really love to play.

Swimming With Sharks is a game that is introduced in Phonics & Spelling, Book 2, and is designed to get the students to practice reading and speaking the three-letter words they are learning. The game is very simple. Students place a game piece (an erasure, or some other small personal object) on Start. Then, each student takes turns rolling a die and moving their game piece that many places on the board. They have to then say the word they land on out loud.  If they land on “net”, they can climb over the net to the next space, thereby getting further along on the board to the goal of reaching the safe space of the ship. If they land on “red”, they must go back to the previous “red”, or back to start. And if they land on the “shark’s nose”, they must go back to start.

To use the same game to practice dialogues, I use a separate Swimming With Sharks game board that has blank spaces along the board instead of words. When students land on a blank space, they must ask another player a question. If the student cannot think of a question to ask, he or she must go back the same number rolled on the die. Likewise, if the student who is asked cannot answer the question, he or she must move their game piece back that many spots on the board. The same rules apply for landing on “net”, the color “red,” and “shark’s nose” as in the game in Phonics & Spelling, Book 2.

What games do you use to get your kids talking?

This “blank” version of Swimming With Sharks can be used with any set of questions-and-answer dialogues you want your students to practice. Download it!  It’s on us.   Let us know what games you use to get your students talking!

If you like to play board games in your classes, take a look at this Blank Game Boards Bundle from Donald’s English Classroom.  It includes Swimming With Sharks and a whole lot more!

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Free until Sunday 5/7/17

CVC I Have Who Has

You only have a couple days to download this CVC I Have/Who Has game for free!  5/7 is the last day!  Sign up, download and play!  Your kids will thank you!

 

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