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Coats of Arms of Yourselves

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This is a great first day (or what-am-I-going-to-do-today) activity.
The basic idea is to get students to talk about who they are and what
they think is most important about themselves.

If you don't know what a coat of arms is, it looks like a shield and
usually contains pictoral or symbolic designs that tell something about
the bearer of the shield. Most countries/provinces/cities have coats of
arms. In the classroom you simply have to explain the term and perhaps
demonstrate a real life example to show how ideas and information can be
represented by colours and pictures. (You could use flags instead- think
50 stripes and 50 stars with the red blood of freedom.)
It also helps to give 4 to 6 categories (history, hobbies, family, job,
likes, dislikes, things/ideals you hold as important) to help the students
start creating.

Have the students draw a large shield shape on their
papers and divide it into six sections. They then spend 5-10 minutes creating
their sheild. (Make your own too!) After the drawing is completed the
students can, in partners, guess about the meaning of eachothers sheild
or explain it to eachother. (Teacher choice) After that the students
can explain their partner's sheild to the class.

I find that this
activity gets students and the teacher to connect at a more personal
level than some of the more game oriented activities that I have used.

Wayne N.--Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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