Sleeping Lions

28 02 2013

sleeping lions

In a recent A-Level lesson, I decided to give the students a sense of ownership by asking them to select our warm up activity. I was extremely surprised by their suggestion of ‘sleeping lions’ but at the same time touched by their childlike enthusiasm and warm fuzzy feeling about this game.

I always try to ensure that any ‘games’ I play have some sort of link to the main topic and objectives of the lesson e.g. wink murder suits ‘Murder Mystery’, and improv games are suited to lessons devoted to devising drama.

If you don’t know the game; sleeping Lions is designed to calm children down when they are excitable or over tired. They must all lie on the floor and pretend to be sleeping while the teacher attempts (usually unsuccessfully) to spot anyone who moves, if you are ‘caught moving’ you are out. I occasionally play sleeping lions with the 6 year olds at the end of a lesson I teach and they are ALL AMAZINGLY GOOD AT IT in the sense that I never seem to catch anyone. It is a means of sending them off to their break or back to their parents, relaxed and calm after a lot of physical activity.

I asked my A-Level students to consider the last time they had played sleeping lions – they agreed that it was at primary school. I also asked them to consider how successful they were and whether they could recall ever losing a game of sleeping lions – they could not. It took some time for them to connect the dots and realise that this wonderful game is a teaching strategy that gives the teacher some downtime at the end of the lesson if they have a couple of minutes before the break and gives them a chance to calm down the more ‘enthusiastic’ children.

I felt like a monster in a fairy tale revealing the real purpose of this game and witnessing the disappointment in my student’s eyes. I also felt a little bit sad that these ‘almost grown ups’ – who will be legally allowed to vote in a few months along with the other privileges that adulthood will afford them – are in many ways still children themselves and despite the desperation of most 17 year olds to be accepted as adults in many ways they are still clinging to the childhood that will soon be over.

I'm part of Post A Day 2013




2 responses

3 03 2013

I just began reading your blog and I’m interested in finding out more about what you teach. I teach high school and I have found my “young adults” are still really children. They still get excited over SPonge Bob. They love stickers on their test, all of that stuff. I realize I haven’t done stickers in years, although I still have many packed away. I think this is more because I am growing old then the likes and needs of my students changing.

3 03 2013

I am a secondary school teacher so teach ages 11-18.
I know what you mean about thm being young children. What do you teach?

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