Thursday 3 July 2014

A la Plage

A la Plage - Seaside-themed activities

Last week Carmel O’Hagan @OHaganCarmel shared a wonderful Belgian tradition with myself and Janet Lloyd. The activity is described about 2/3 of the way into this blog post   - Belgian seaside activity. Children create beautiful flowers and set up a flower shop on the beach. They then ‘trade’ using shells as currency. So cute!

It was then up to Janet and myself to ‘run with the idea’ and create some teaching and learning activities based on it. Janet has already posted her fantastic ideas on her blog and here is the link….

Janet Lloyd’s Bloemenwinkel

I wanted to order some resources for what I had in mind and so I have had to wait a few days for these to arrive….

I ordered some fluorescent sand and some shells from Essentials for Education. Delighted with them! The sand comes  in a selection of 6 fluorescent colours and is in bags of 1kg.

I bought a large plastic flowerpot from Homebase for £1.99 (28cm). I could have used a washing up bowl but I wanted to re-use the sand-filled plant pot for my flowers at the end. I bought a large plant pot to minimise mess as the children would be searching for shells in it. You could use a smaller container or several small containers for this but I would recommend placing it on a tray.

I used 4 bags of sand but you could get away with less.
I then wrote some key graphemes (letter strings) on the shells . You could link them to those that have cropped up in some beach-related vocabulary if you have covered it, such as...

ge – coquillage, plage
eau – seau, château (de sable)
u – dune
oi – poisson
qu – coquillage

The shells were then buried in the sand.

You could use as many or as few graphemes as you like. You could include different graphemes for the same phoneme, as I have done (é, ez, er) or just one. If you want to simplify this, just choose 4 key graphemes and repeat them.

The children then take turns hunting for shells. As they find a shell they must say the sound.

This activity would work well as a group activity, with a pot on each table, or you could sit the children in a circle and pass around a bucket with the shells in and a little sand on top.

My son (Yr 3) LOVED this activity and laughed with delight as he discovered the hidden shells.


Next, tell the children about the lovely Bloemenwinkel tradition and show them the pictures from the website.

If time allows, discuss what the children know about Belgium. Perhaps, given the World Cup, they know the colours of the flag but do they know the languages spoken there?
The 2 main languages are Belgian Dutch (Flemish) in the north and French in the south but German is also an official language.

The next step is to create some beautiful flowers. Below are suggestions for 2 different methods of creating flowers and a different activity to accompany each.

Idea 1 – layered tissue flowers / poems and bartering

Here’s a link to some instructions for making different types of paper flowers…. and here’s one I made earlier!!

Layer some squares of tissue paper on top of each other. Fold them concertina-style then bend the whole thing in half. Attach a pipe cleaner or wire and twist to secure. Finally, separate the sheets of tissue paper and fan them out to look like petals.

The children can them set up a flower shop in groups and trade with shells, just like the children do on the beaches of Belgium in the summer. This is a great activity for practising numbers. You can also pacts phrases such as “je voudrais…” and, of course, colours.

Idea 2 – paper flowers / personal descriptions

I used a template and cut out flower shapes from 2 different colours of paper.  On each petal the children can write an adjective or phrase to describe their favourite person or celebrity. They can use all the petals on both layers or just a few from one of them, so the task is open-ended.

Next place one flower on top of the other and push the end of a long green pipe cleaner through the centre of both flowers and bent the tip to hold it in place I curled the petals of the top flower around a pencil so that the one underneath was more visible.  Finally, the children can stick a small picture of their person in the centre of the flower.
The completed flowers can be displayed in a bucket of sand or flower pot and the children can enjoy reading the descriptions.
Here’s one my daughter (Yr 9) did about Taylor Swift. Her opinion of the activity? “These would be well cool to make!"

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