Thursday, 3 September 2015

Let the Maori Masks Speak!

The Rugby World Cup starts on 18 September and as Warrington is just down the road from Manchester, one of the cities hosting matches for the competition, it is a brilliant opportunity to celebrate the sport and languages. 
For European Day of Languages (the week after the start of the Rugby World Cup) this year our theme is "Faces tell a story" and that's why I have specifically singled out "Maori Masks"as a starting point.

Take a look at the mask - just what is the mask telling us?

I selected this mask because of the markings and the shape. I wanted a mask that was long and almost oval like a rugby ball and I wanted a mask that had markings which could be seen as pencil or pen marks or brush strokes.

We can explore commands linked to physical and sporting actions and create Maori masks that speak for us.

Before you start:Set the scene
Discuss with the children the game of rugby and the physical actions that take place on the pitch (throwing a ball, catching a ball, sliding across the ground, tackling,lifting up players, jumping over ,scoring a try).
Note down the verbs as you discuss or share these .Can the children identify these words as parts of verbs? Can the children help you to make commands of these words in English?

Step One 
In the target language explore using physical actions and the key commands,the sound of the words, the action associated to commands and the shape you may make to complete the action,using commands such as:


Step Two
  1. Working with a partner,ask the children to create one flowing physical sequence of movements, using ansd saying the target language commands you have practised.
  2. The children could add the use of percussion instruments to represent the physical movements too. (I can think of colleagues I work with , who would develop this activity further and create dance sequences using the target language, the movements and percussion instruments).
  3. There is an opportunity here for volunteers to share their sequences with the class.  

Step Three
  1. Share with the children the Maori Mask picture.
  2. Explain that the masks tell a story and pass on a message.
  3. Share with the children some simple pencil or felt tip markings on a paper oval face shape of your own.These markings must represnet two or three of the commands you have practised with the children .Can the children guess which command each marking represents? 
  4. For example you may have a swirly marking with an arrow upwards to represent "lift"  or an exclamation mark to represenet "score " etc.

Step Four
  1. Give out pencils or felt tips and A4 card.
  2. Ask the children to draw a large oval shape on the card.
  3. Can the children design their own Maori masks with markings in pencil of felt tip that convey the sound of the words, the action associated to commands and the shape you may make to complete the action that you have been exploring.

Before the children add the actual written word, can another child in the class look at the mask and from the pencil markings identify which command each marking represents?

Now ask the children to add the letters of each command in a different coloured pen along the marking they have selected for the actual command.

One more possible step :A Group Command Haka Performance

  • Create simple masks of the card oval Maori mask drawings.
  • Can the children in groups of six create a sequence of movements using spoken target language words,where each child individually says and acts out their commands as they have explored and drawn them?
  • The children can decide whether one group member is in charge of percussion instruments too!
  • Children can perform these "command hakas" for the class or for a class assembly. 


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