Thursday, June 20, 2013

Attention supply teachers!

Or normal teachers, or RE teachers...

I want to tell you about a game that can bring joy to the most trying class. It takes no equipment. It takes no preparation. It works 100% of the time. It is a gift to us all.

The game? Silly Sausage.

It has no educational value (you can tell the kids this - it will make them want to play even more!)

You get 2 kids and stand them facing each other about 5m apart. One says 'silly' and the other responds with 'sausage'. If one of them laughs or smiles, then they are out and replaced with another kid. If neither laughs, they both take a step forward (towards each other) and say it again and again. The rest of the class watch on silently and point if either kid smiles. Most kids last for about 2 seconds, but if they keep a straight face, they keep on taking steps forward until they are about 20cm apart. The kids keep count of how many other kids they 'defeat'. The child with the most victories after everyone has had a turn plays against the kid who is left in at the end, and a winner is announced.

See? Absolutely no educational value.

But it's gold. Here's how it works:

1. You walk in to a class of random kids who are planning on misbehaving for you and tell them that after they've done their maths (or whatever) you'll all play a game. Stress that you don't cope with noise at all and they'll have to work in absolute silence. Be a cow and follow through on this. Warn kids once, then move them. Take on the kid who takes you on. Win. Make the kids work silently. "I'm sorry. I don't handle noise. You have to be quiet."

2. Introduce the game. Tell them again that it has no educational value. Explain how to play. Demonstrate (it's fine/good if you lose and laugh. The kids will like that.)

3. Play the game. Notice how:
- the kids who gave you the most trouble during the maths are the best at the game? (Silly Sausage favours ASD.) Build them up with this. Tell them that if they work well in English they can have a rematch.
- It is a good team building game. People look closely at each other's faces and notice the smallest changes in expression. People feel accepted.
- Everyone laughs. When one person laughs, everyone else joins in. There's lots of happy hormones flying around the room. It's a great release.
- Suddenly all the kids like you. All your cow like insisting-on-quiet behaviour is forgotten. You are the teacher who gave everyone good feelings.
-The kids are happy to work silently on their English for the next hour.

Silly Sausage. Golden game. Everyone wins.


  1. Would you consider running for PM? I think our country needs you.

  2. I could be the speaker and have the politicians play silly sausage across the floor of parliament.

    1. "It is a good team building game. People look closely at each other's faces and notice the smallest changes in expression. People feel accepted." Hmmmm - there might be a particular political party who would pay you good money to come and run the game in caucus.

  3. Okay, first I need to say that I *love* the sound of Silly Sausage, and having taught some (small) classes its benefits are impressive. But the real reason I'm commenting is to ask a question that has nothing to do with your post!?! (Sorry, don't have other contact details for you.)

    My question's about hearing the beat in music, and it will take a little explaining I'm afraid. I'm a (I think very good ;)) salsa dancer and normally I can hear and dance to the beat without any effort. But on occasion - and a little more often recently - a song will start and I just don't hear it and have to dance really simply for a while before I do. So I went dancing last night and this happened twice but both times I recovered okay... but *then* it happened a third time and I just couldn't work it out. I was listening to the music, trying to pick up the beat, but it was as if there was just a mass of sound, as if there was no longer any beat. This made it almost impossible to dance, but luckily the song was soon over, so I apologised and excused myself. So my question is, have you heard of this before? Do you know why this would happen? Is it normal? I would hate for it to become a thing for me! Thanks for your help!

    1. I'm no dancer, but I think the thing about Salsa music is that the beat is buried beneath heaps of rhythm. The accents are all over the place so you can't actually *hear* the beat. You have to feel it.

      Maybe listen to some salsa music like this and start rocking your body a bit and see if you can feel the beat. Start it at a random spot and practice just picking it up. My suspicion is that listening really hard is just going to confuse you. There is so much going on in the music!

      Good luck!

    2. No but the thing is that I can normally do it - and have been able to for years now - without any problem. That's why it was so disturbing to all-of-a-sudden lose the knack! But here's hoping it was just a weird random thing.

    3. I think you psyched yourself out. Over thought it.

    4. Yeah. I think you're probably right. We can do crazy stuff to ourselves :/ Oh and perhaps you'll be interested in knowing that the key (la clave) to salsa music is two sticks called "la clave". This video does a great job of explaining it (though the introductory song is 2/3 clave, not 3/2 which is a little confusing). In many songs you can't actually hear them but, you're right, you should always be able to feel their grounding presence. I love the clave! May it ever be my friend! Thanks for listening :)

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