Ask tamariki simply to ‘line up’ in a row. Let them do this as noisily as they like, asking questions etc.
If it gets out of hand though, just count them down from 5, saying that at 1 they should be in place in a line.
Ask how difficult this was for them? It should be fairly simple and your students may be a little confused by your question! Ask what made lining up simple?
Repeat tamariki lining up, but say:
- This time, line up in the order of... your birthday (not year!). Make one end January and the other December. You might want to place yourself in the line too!
Check everyone’s in the correct order, and if not, just get them to jump into the right place... it doesn’t matter. Ask tamariki how easy it was to put themselves in birthday order? Why?
- This time, line up silently! in the order of... your shoe size. This is a great to get them comparing and communicating non-verbally. Again, you could join in.
It will probably be necessary to do some playful ‘shushing’ - this is fine and part of the learning. Once they’re satisfied they’re in the right order, debrief how they found it.
- This time, line up silently in alphabetical order of... their middle names. Allocate one end as A and the other as Z.
Once they're 'complete' do a quick check by asking tamariki to state their middle name. Debrief about how they found this one!
Let them know you’re really pleased with how they’re doing – the best you’ve seen a class complete these before – fib even if it’s your first time, it will build their confidence and set them up positively for the next challenge!
Tell them because they're so skilled at this, you're going to really challenge them!
- This time, line up silently in the order of... the place you were born. Allocate Stewart Island at one end and Kaitaia at the other. Tamariki born in the same place can group together.
Bear in mind tamariki born overseas usually enjoy this as they like being unique and associate positively with their place of birth. Our experience is that they will place themselves off the continuum, in the context of the rest of the world. Let them know this is ka pai!
If the group becomes muddled or is talking more than than they have with other continuums, ask them to freeze where they are and debrief about what’s proving tough – this is all about the learning, rather than getting it perfect.
If you need to help them distinguish some ‘signs’ for the places they were born you could ask them for some characteristics of ‘Christchurch’ for example – wobbling about like an earthquake might be one! Wellington might be blowing to indicate the wind, the UK might be sipping cups of tea.
Once (or if) they complete this it's great to debrief – what did you notice? – it will generally take longer and you could comment on this. Why did it take longer? Ask them what helped? Let tamariki know what you noticed them doing really well.
You may also like to say that what they're forming is a continuum – a sequence of ‘something’.
We recommend to keep revisiting continuums and include some of the ideas below, or make up your own.