Skills practiced: observe differences (important in discerning differences between letters), describing, remembering order, also right-to-left or left-to-right; take tasks seriously.
B1: A Cupful
Needed: a cup with a handle for each student + enough small treats to eat for every student to get 5 or more (raisins, nuts, sunflower seeds, pretzels, grapes).
Activity: The leader places his or her cup with the handle pointing a certain way (right, left, straight ahead, straight behind . . . ). Everyone else places their cup with the handle in the same position. Everyone who has their cup placed correctly gets a treat in their cup. Keep playing as long as this is fun for the class & holds their interest. End by letting everyone eat the treats they have collected in their cups.
If there are not enough cups with handles, try one of these options: put a plastic straw or spoon in each cup. The leader positions the straw or spoon in different places and the students copy.
OR Everyone has a plastic spoon, a small stick, a spool of thread, a stone or other item which they place next to the cup. First the spoon might be laying to the left of the cup. Next the spoon might be right in front of the cup, etc., etc. Again, everyone who places the item correctly gets a treat in their cup.
!!Be aware that the group will follow your example by watching you. If you are standing in front of the, it will be as if they are watching in a mirror. Your left is their right and your right is their left.
If is too tempting for the children to eat their treats before the end of the game, give them leaves or acorns or paper flowers instead. At the end of the game, after each had counted the things in their cup, give them as many treats as the collected items they each got in their own cup.
Needed: empty plastic cups, empty plastic bottles or other containers, small empty boxes, egg cartons, blocks of wood, etc. Enough for every one in the class to have the same number of things.
The Builder builds a design by stacking 3 or 4 items in a certain way. Everyone else takes the same sort of 3 or 4 items and copies the design.
The leader goes around to check. Lots of praise when people get it right.
Variation 1: Architects. If there are not enough items for each person to do a building, they can all become “architects” and draw a copy of the building.
Variation 2: This time, everyone in the class builds their own tower without following the model of the leader. The one who manages to build the tallest tower is applauded and called the Master Builder of the class.
Variation 3: The students work in pairs. They take turns being the Builder and the Apprentice. The Apprentice copies the Builder’s design. Then the Builder turns around while the Apprentice changes one or two things. The other has to notice the change and copy it.
Needed: 4-5 small items for each student. Items could include buttons, nuts, stones, seeds, bottle caps, sticks, toothpicks, (burnt) matches, (plastic) spoons and forks . . . .
Activity: Work in small groups of 2-5. One person is the Master Mosaic maker. The “Master” chooses three items and lays them out in a pattern. Everyone else in that group looks carefully at this pattern, then tries to choose the next object needed to continue the pattern created before with three types of items. Everyone else in that group looks carefully at this pattern, then tries to choose the next object needed to continue the pattern created before with three types of items. The Master checks if the others have chosen the right item. In smaller classes, the leader may start as the Master. Everyone else watches carefully.
For example, the first person creates this pattern: one nut, a fork and a button. The second person must recognize and choose the next item needed to continue the same pattern. He must choose one nut first. Then someone else in the group is invited to choose the next item needed to continue the pattern (this time he must choose a fork). The game continues till everyone has had at least one turn.
Variation 1: If there are not enough items for everyone to copy the mosaic, the class may draw the mosaic on pieces of paper. The Master checks, or the class members check each other’s drawings, to see whether or not they are correct.
Variation 2: Everyone looks carefully at the design. They all close their eyes. The Master changes one or two things. Who can spot the difference?
This can also be done in small groups.
This can also be done the other way around. The Master turns his/her back and someone else changes the design. Does the Master notice what has been changed?
Variation 3: Work in pairs. Take turns being the Master. Also take turns being the one who changes one or two things in the design. The other has to notice the change and copy it.
B4: See the Difference
Needed: At least 5 students.
Three students stand in a row in front of the group.
The teacher says something about each of them (for instance: this boy has blond hair, this girl is wearing green pants etc.)
Have everyone close their eyes.
Have the students in the row change places.
Ask the group: can you see the difference? What order were they in before?
Add more people to the row and repeat.
Add even more people and repeat until the students can’t remember the changes anymore or until everyone is part of the row.
Variation – B4a: See the Difference with objects
Needed: several small objects or toys.
Use objects instead of students.
Put the objects on a table or in full view of the group and let the students look at them carefully.
Then ask them to close their eyes, while you take one item off, add one more, or just change the placement of the items.
Tell students to open their eyes again and ask them to tell what they notice as being different, using descriptive sentences as above.
Repeat a few times, or, if appropriate, give a few students turns to do the changing/adding.
Optional worksheet: Find the differences between two drawings.
Do one example together as a group, making sure that everyone understands exactly what to do. Advanced students can make up their own worksheets and exchange them with the other students.
Activity: One person is the “artist.” The rest all stand in a circle. At a signal (whistle; music starts playing; all start singing), they walk around the circle, waving their arms and hands. At the next signal (whistle; music stops; bell rings), they all freeze.
The Artist chooses the student frozen in the strangest position as a statue. All the other students look carefully at the “statue,” then try to stand exactly as the statue is standing.
Repeat as long as it remains fun to do.
Variation 1: The artist arranges the “statue.” Everyone must look carefully, paying attention to details. How are the statue’s fingers arranged? Is the statue’s head up or down? Looking left or right? The students then try to mimic the statue.
Variation 2: Change the statue. Instead of mimicking the statue, the students all turn their backs or close their eyes. The artist makes one or two small changes to the statue. Everyone looks again. The first student to notice the difference gets to switch with the statue or the artist. Repeat as long as students enjoying doing it.
Variation 3: Twin Statues. Only one student tries to mimic the statue. The rest of the class looks carefully. Are the two statues exactly the same? No? What is different? Repeat with other students until all who want to have had a turn.
Triple Statues. A student on each side of the statue tries to mimic the statue. Are they exactly the same? No? What is different?
Variation 4: Combine #2 & #3. The Artist changes one statue. Can the class see which one is changed and how?
Variation 5: Sight-unseen Statue. The Master Artist arranges the statue. Another student is the Artist-in-training has his/her back to this statue. Once the artist is finished, members of the class take turns describing to the Artist-in-training what the statue looks like. The Artist-in-training tries to arrange his/her statue to match the Master Artist’s.