Silly Snakes

‘Snakes’ is such an interesting word. It starts with the blend ‘sn’ and has a bossy e at the end so the letter ‘a’ is a long vowel (says it’s name). The word snake conjures up images of a reptile with a limbless narrow body, overlapping scales and unblinking eyes.

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Room 13 students had the opportunity to create an accordion snake as a fun activity that supported their phonemic development (the ability to recognise the individual speech sounds that a letter makes). As a bonus, positional language was used during the making of the snake - up, down, left and right. I casually mentioned that I could make a snake as long as the white board. Who knew this remark would unleash the competitive spirit of a classroom of enthusiastic learners. They were adamant they could make a snake longer than mine. A competition was on!

When the day of the Great Snake Measure Off arrived I was not surprised that the majority of students predicted that I would be very unlikely to win. Naturally, they backed themselves as being very likely to win.  The snakes to be measured came in a variety of lengths. Some of the students were excited that their snake was nearly as tall as they were.

The serious part of the competition began with students measuring their snake in a pair against each other. The student with the shortest snake returned to the circle.

I learned that you have to start at the same place. You have to put the heads right next to each other.

You have to keep them straight. If they are curved they won’t be as long

Don’t stretch them (the snakes) over far because they might break.

When I was about to bring my snake out of hiding another snake was entered into the competition. It was a group effort and I was seriously worried. Fortunately, my snake proved to be longer.

I couldn’t rest on my laurels for long as one of the students had the bright idea to lay all of their snakes alongside mine.

When you put snakes together to see how long you can make them, you don’t leave any gaps.

We connected all our snakes to make a longer snake than Mrs Jackson’s. Teamwork made us win.

I tried another tactic by measuring the combined snakes with my foot lengths. Then I invited one of the students to measure my snake with their feet. Unfortunately, the other competitors did not accept this as a fair way of measuring.

People's feet are smaller and people's feet are bigger so if your feet are bigger it takes you less steps than if your feet are smaller.

The last few minutes were spent playing with the snakes and thinking up different ways of arranging them.

We could make repeating patterns with long ones then short ones.

2024 Jackson

Leanne Jackson

I have a long history of being part of the education world. My experiences include being a parent, grandparent, and teacher. I have had training in both Early Childhood and Primary School.

I have been working at Wairakei Primary School since 2014 and I am teaching in the junior school. I have a strong belief that all children are capable learners and I am passionate about developing learning programmes that are creative, challenging, authentic and fun with my team. I nurture the children’s curiosity while encouraging them to become self- motivated and independent learners who understand what they are learning and why they are learning it.

I enjoy working in the supportive learning community of Wairakei Primary School where children, families and teachers learn and grow together.

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