Tag Archives: #games

Those cards will have me in shards

Here’s a confession: I hate German grammar. Mind you, I’m not overly fond of any grammar and if pressed I’d probably say Latin grammar is worse than German.

The thing is: I’m trying to cash in on German grammar. Together with a German friend I have a project to make teaching material about it. The material involves two sets of cards, and today I got done designing those cards.

I use Excel for want of a proper graphics program and it works sort of alright. My wrist tells me I did more mouse work than it really prefers but I can ignore it.

What really got me hugging the desk in despair is the sheer number of variations in especially pronouns. Of several kinds. Small wonder that my hatred is common among learners.

And now for the happy note: If this material makes the grand transition from project to actual, published and buyable aide, it will change the way pupils and students battle with grammar.

Think I may go for the name “Deutsch ohne Tränen”: German without tears.

You have to haggle!

Or: How I bartered my nice neighbour for laminated copies of dead currency

Scouts are an odd bunch. I speak from knowledge as I’ in my eight year as a scout, and that’s just counting my adult scout years.

So let me expound on odd: We pay good money just to be allowed to be with other peoples’ children in our spare time. Often as not away from our own families. We volunteer to stand post at night even in winter and rain. We think woodsmoke is the best perfume imaginable. We walk our feet sore beyond belief for a tiny badge to show off on our uniforms. And just to top it we know no greater joy than adhering to a concept for an entire week-end, using a story frame to play silly buggers.

So this week-end I spent with the scouts. Nothing we did was any surprise to me as I volunteered to help plan the whole thing.

We set the story frame to be ancient Rome: The rooms in the cabin were adorned with signs saying “culina”, “dormitorium”, “triclinium”, “vestibulum”, and “cubiculum”. Not one cub had a clue why. The older scouts either asked about is a dozen times – each –  or overlooked it.

Friday evening the 10-12 YOs built role play weapons and shields while the 12-16 YOs built an acquaduct out of discarded plastic tubes from a carpet store.

Saturday saw the arrival of the cubs. They set to work adorning triclinium with columns (more tubes) and stick-on mosaics while the others practised weaponry / built a steam hut to double as a “caldarium”.

Saturday afternoon saw all scouts invade European regions to spread Roman civilisation. In Slavia they had to crawl belly-up, crab-style over odds and ends to feel for their patrol tote animal. They fired a catapult in Bohemia to get a very silly dining rule: “Always top your neighbour’s glass”, “Always stand while Ceasar sits”, “Make sure potatoes and meat DO NOT touch” etc. Had to give up conquering the Gauls. That kind of thing.

Saturday evening late saw the 10-16 YOs meet the red tape of Roman civilisation. The idea was to turn the rule democratic. My post was one as a slave keeper at the Colosseum. They had to haggle with me to buy free my enslaved neighbour, and I was tough on those scouts.

Yesterday I felt great again after a 12-hour night’s sleep. So now I’m ready to go again next Saturday.

Yes, we are an odd bunch. But the badges are neat!

Tartar sauce sandwiches and the laws of physics

Warning: It’s another scouting post. Anyone severely anti-scouts can stop reading now, unless you’re into Newton, physics and general sillyness.

So: Saturday was regional tounrnament with the scouts. These things always revolve around a theme, and this one was about the works of a beloved children’s books author Ole Lund Kirkegaard. He worked as a teacher and genuinely loved it. Was always on the side of his pupils, never got really mad, encouraged imagination and wrote books accordingly.

The one my group got tells the story of some children who pursue and catch a thief who goes around on a push-scooter while dealing with a terrible grouch of a man, learning tricks from a 16-year old and starting school.

One trick is how to drive a teacher mad: Just arm yourself with open tartar-sauce sandwiches, throw them at the blackboard / chalkboard and hope he gets so mad he steps into the waste-paper bin. (Or she. In the book the teacher is a man).

So what we had them do was sneak past Mr. Storm, the grouch, as best they could, pinch leads as to where stuff was hidden while disturbing the push-scooter thief and of course make and throw tartar-sauce sandwiches.

For the last part we / I devised what I thought was an ingenious sandwich catapult out of two milk crates, a narrow board, a metal rod from a scrap heap, a tiny bit of electricians’ tube, gaffer tape and binder twine. The board was suspended between the crates via the metal rod inside the tube bit taped onto the board. See-saw style.

So why is there no snap of this wonder? Weeeellll – because I’d plain forgotten Newton’s laws. Instead of catapulting forward, it worked as any see-saw. Scout number one placed the sandwich, sauce facing up, on one end. Whacked the other end with a rubber-head hammer (usually for tent pegs). Up shot the sandwich, some 25 meters I was told (almost 80 feet!). Then it lost momentum, went into a backward, steep curve and managed to land on the neck of another scout. Sauce facing down.

Apparently, they tried once more, only this time hitting the board with less force. The result was that the sandwich merely fell off the board. It was then discarded and disassembled before I could get a photo op.

At least the rest of our activity and the rest of that day was a success. And we had great fun too playing silly buggers for some 8 hours.

Scouts are serious, great, innovative, quick to ad-lib. And sometimes very, very silly.

I scream cones – ice cream spikes

I know. Scouts are crazy. I should know as this is my 7th year as a scout mistress or leader. After a very long break and six years as a girl scout.

Yet somehow the whole craziness thing seems to have escalated from my girl scout days. Back when Mummy was a boy (which is the Danish expression for a long time ago), nobody dressed up fancy for tournaments and gatherings. Uniform was standard supplemented by whatever would keep you dry, warm, and comfy for the day.

And look at us now:Anettes rygskjold

A tournament with a games theme had my scout friends look like that. And while I can’t take the credit for all the costumes I do claim the honours for Browser’s shield and horns. With a painter’s suit, textile paints, rubber foam, dexterity and patience an ordinary woman was a monster for a day. I feel some measure of pride.