SPARKLERS / Ready for learning

Continuing Continuums

These simple ‘line up’ activities are great warm ups, promoting communication (sometimes non-verbal) and encouraging tamariki to be aware of others.
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Why we love it

Sometimes we forget that talking isn’t our only way to communicate. This activity helps tamariki understand what we ‘portray’ without talking can help us form friendships, overcome conflict, be more open and be responsible for what we might be ‘saying’ through our non-verbal communication.

It also helps tamariki recognise that things are not the same for everyone - we come from different places, are physically different, have different opinions and that we feel things differently - continuums are a great way to demonstrate all of this (without the lecture!).

What to do

Ask tamariki simply to ‘line up’ in a row, and 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?

This time let them know you’re going to ask them to line up again in a different order. You may need to mark out the ‘line’ along the floor by indicating, or let them know to create the line the same as they’re standing now.

  • Line up in the order of their birthday (not year!). Let tamariki (know and point to) one end of the line being the 1st of January and the other end is the 31st December . Go! 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.

If you like, let tamariki know that this is a continuum – a collection, progression or sequence of ‘anything’.

Ask them how easy it was to put themselves in birthday order? Why was it like this?

Say you’re now going to get them to create another continuum, but this time silently – without speaking.

  • In the order of: the size of your shoes.

This is a great to get them comparing and communicating in another way and again you might want to join the continuum. You may have to do some playful ‘shushing’ as they go about their feet continuum, but that’s okay and part of the learning.

Once they’re satisfied they’re in the right order, ask them what it was like doing this silently. Why was it like this? And what did they need to rely on? Who found this hard and HAD to talk?

Continue by allocating one end A and the other Z, and asking them to line up again silently in:

  • Alphabetical order of their middle names.

Playful shushing will be a normal part of your role here!

Once they're 'complete', do a quick check to see they’re in the right order, by asking tamariki to state their middle name. Anyone out of sequence can just jump into the right spot - it doesn't have to be perfect.

Ask tamariki again what was it like doing this silently. Why was it like this? And what did they need to rely on?

Let them know you’re really pleased with how they’re doing – the best you’ve seen a class complete these before (lie even if it’s your first time, it will build their confidence and it will set them up the next challenge!).

Tell them because they're so skilled at this, you're going to really challenge them.

This time and again silently create a continuum of:

  • Where you were born – set the continuum up with 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 generally associate positively with their birthplace. 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 discussion and activity 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 your tamariki know what you noticed that they did really well.

We recommend to keep revisiting continuums and include some of the ideas below.

What next?

Once tamariki are familiar with continuums, they can be a great way to start you day or check in after lunch, with how people are feeling e.g. mark the floor from 1 to 10 and ask tamariki to put themselves silently in order of ‘enthusiasm for the day’ or ‘tiredness for the rest of the day’. Then depending on the vibe, you might follow up with an energiser game or a calming activity.

Other continuum ideas:

  • Length of your hair – easy and great for younger tamariki.
  • Time you get out of bed on a school day – set the continuum up with 6am at one end and 9am at the other.
  • Street or Road Number of your house - Set the continuum up with 1 at one end and infinity at the other and ask them to line up in the order of the number of their house address, e.g. if you live at 34 Dublin Street, you need to place yourself wherever 34 is on the continuum…
  • How you’re feeling today – set the continuum up with really mellow one end and really frustrated at the other. Again, we would recommend a debrief around this, but it’s a great activity to ‘check-in’ with your students regularly once they get the hang of continuums.
  • How many people in your house
  • How many people in your immediate whānau (e.g. parents or caregivers, siblings, cousins who live with you)
  • How many pets you have – expect them to all gather at the lower end (unless they’re on a farm and consider all the animals their pets!)
  • Where you ‘belong’, where your iwi or whānau have come from and where you associate with.
  • Get your students to come up with some other ideas and run the continuum!

This is also a great way to describe situations and ask tamariki to line up according to how they would feel - calm at one end and outraged at the other. Examples might be:

  • Your friend says they're too busy to come over, but then you see them out with another friend on instagram.
  • You forget it's mufti and arrive at school in your uniform. You're the only one.

These are great discussion topics - ask the tamariki at the calm end why they'd feel like that. It's good learning for those at the 'outraged' end!

Move to Energy Rollercoaster and Sliding Emotions to put continuums into practice around noticing energy levels or emotional levels and being able to manage these appropriately for the circumstance.

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