Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Sound the Siren: The English Police

I've been teaching English for many years, and I'm always trying to look for ways to "spice up" my lessons. English/language arts can be very dry, and it seems that very few students find it exciting. I also find that upper elementary kiddos don't always want to check their writing. ("Yeah, I know all of my sentences should have the comma rules you taught us, but I just don't feeeeeel like checking.") Well, it's not that they come right out and SAY that, but sometimes you feel like it's what they are thinking!

I've blogged about the English Police before on my blog, but I wanted to share the idea over here with my friends on ATUE. Ever since I started using the English Police in my classroom, checking no longer seems like a chore to students! It's actually FUN! 

Sirens blare and tickets fly as the English Police make their first appearance in my classroom. My students get such a kick out of this (and believe me when I say that even the students who THINK they are "too mature" for something like this are giggling so much they can't help themselves). My kiddos are 11 and 12, but I have found that they are still very much KIDS. Anything can be fun if the teacher is not afraid to be silly (which I am not), and silliness is contagious!
I am the police officer (complete with badge and accent depending on my mood). Sometimes I have a Southern drawl and other times, I sound more like I am from England! They never know what to expect. I always use a different voice so I am no longer "me" but rather "the police officer."
I also sometimes have a back up officer who sits on a student's desk if I have "pulled him/her over" to ensure that the student does not exit the vehicle (the desk).
I use my little police car that has a siren as my vehicle. I also have a police bike, but I save that for warmer days. I also have an ambulance at the ready in case someone's writing is soooo bad that it must be sent to the writing hospital!
I pick a focus area such as punctuation, spelling, capitalization, correct grammar, etc. I choose something we have been working on in the classroom. After students have been working for a little while and have enough for me to check, the police start "driving" around the room. I walk around looking for the first student I will "pull over." When I find him/her, I put the siren on and park the car on the student's desk. Students know they should always be nice to the officer!

I start with, "How are you today, ma'm (or sir)?" They can't stop giggling, especially when I use one of my accents! I ask to see the student's driver's license (which is the English notebook). I carefully inspect the focus area and ask the student questions as I do. I am kind of  a "bossy officer," but that seems to make them giggle all the more!

If a student has done well in the focus area, he/she may get a ticket. That's right! The English Police give tickets to the GOOD drivers! I use our school reward cards, but you could use any system you like. The police give the drivers with mistakes a warning, but if they are pulled over again with similar mistakes, they must do an extra practice page on the skill. If a student has way too many mistakes, we also call for the ambulance because that writing needs medical attention! Everyone tries to avoid the ambulance (and extra practice)!

After I am finished with the police for the day, I'll put my supplies away, walk over to the student who was pulled over and dramatically say, "Oh, my gosh! I heard you were pulled over while I was out of the room!!!! What happened?!!!!" Of course, they get a big kick out of this as well!

It may all sound a bit silly, but that's what gets them! They seriously check their work and try much harder when the police are around. Sometimes I hear students say, "I'd better check this in case the police are in the area." When the police haven't been around in some time, students hopefully ask me, "Are the police coming back soon?" I have used this method for many years, and it adds some much needed fun to English!

Remember...If you ever meet up with the Grammar Police, follow the tip below:

Stay tuned tomorrow on the Fourth of July 
for a SPECIAL POST you won't want to miss! 

Until next time, happy summer, friends!

You can find me here:


13 comments:

  1. I love this idea! I am always looking for ways to get my kiddos to pay attention to their writing...this may just be it! Thanks for sharing :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good morning, Tracie!

      Thanks for your kind comment! One of the great things about using the English Police is that I think it is as much fun for ME as it is for the kids! Seeing them all giggle and ENJOY checking their work makes any teacher's heart happy. :) Have fun!

      Delete
  2. OMG - this is HILARIOUS!! I can't wait try this with my 5th graders this year! They love it when I get ridiculously silly and especially when I put on some odd accent. I'll have to head over to Party City to get myself a cute cop hat, badge, and some other fn accessories. Thanks for sharing!

    Corrina
    From Mrs. Allen's Teaching Files

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha! Yep, kids do love it when we get silly! I am so excited that you want to try it! :)

      Kids do love accents as well. I always try to read stories in various accents, and they can't seem to get enough. They even try it themselves!

      I think I did get my badge from Party City. There are often inexpensive police cars at Toys 'R Us or other toy shops. The siren makes a great addition to the fun and really signals that the police have arrived, so you need a siren!

      Thanks for your kind comment. I hope your kiddos love the idea!

      Delete
  3. I love this idea! I'm not afraid to be silly either, and I think the kids will love it. I laughed all the way through your post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think teachers are natural performers! We may as well use it to our advantage. :)

      I'm so glad you enjoyed the post!

      Delete
  4. You almost make me miss my 6th grade ELA classroom. This might be the greatest post I've read all day. Love the idea. I'll see if my middle school teachers would be interested. Maybe I could have book police in my library. Can't have students guilty of book abuse/neglect. http://mrsbrownthebookworm.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww, thanks, Sara! You could definitely find a way to incorporate the book police into your library! Thanks for your kind words. I'm so glad you liked the post. :)

      Delete
  5. This is an awesome idea! I'll totally have to try this with my 4th graders this upcoming year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Stephanie- I hope your kiddos will enjoy it! :) Thanks for stopping by ATUE! Happy 4th of July!

      Delete
  6. This is awesome sauce! Any tips on where to find the officer and car with siren?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there! Glad you like it! Toy stores often have police cars with sirens for kids, but I am sure they would also be easy to find online. I also googled the police officer and found the exact same one on ebay offered by lots of sellers. If you google "stuffed winter wonderland cop" (he is from Frosty), you'll see him. :) Good luck!

      Delete
  7. What are the cards that say English Police and have the picture of the officers in a car. Is that the ticket they receive for being good writers?

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your comment! We appreciate your input!

-All Things Upper Elementary

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Blogging tips