Playing cards Ms Moxon? In an RE Lesson?

Posted on July 10, 2012 by Lat Blaylock

"Three days a week I am Mrs Fluffy, foundation stage teacher, dressed in pink scarves and have the reputation of being a bit of a soft touch but on supply days, when I am not in the hills walking the dog I am Mrs Serious supply teacher, teaching up to the eleven year olds! Or so I like to think.
On an RE network meeting recently (it's not all gossip, coffee and cake), I was recommended a little gem of a resource which I now always take with me in my pink supply bag! The little gem, which I am referrning to, are my set of playing cards.

Now please don't get the wrong impression, I do not advocate the virtues of poker to young children or encourage online gambling. No the cards I carry are my set of schoolswork playing cards.

When I tell a class I am doing their supply, or they see me sat with the register in my hand I am often met with the same choral response…
'Have you got your cards?'
Which I have to reply, 'Well, we'll see if they are in my bag, after we have done the tricky chunking method in maths'

Now the first card is, wait for it, the Four of Diamonds It asks the question: Would you rather live in a palace and be sad, or live in a shed and be happy?
Discuss. Excited muttering, which get louder as talk partners, randomly chosen out of the sorting hat, begin to offer their well thought out, and sometimes random thoughts. The overall consensus on the question is, to live in a shed, mostly put forward by girls, but argued well in defence by the boys. The bell goes, and they rush off to break with the promise of another card before literacy starts. If the teachers I do supply for read this they will understand why we never manage to finish all the work. Oh dear there goes the supply cover phone call.

Our school operates a very successful buddy system which ticks lots of boxes. My set of cards are also great for ticking off lots of things on the ECM agenda and for all areas of RE. Each week of the year we meet with our buddy class and share stories, books and games. As teachers we decide how our curriculum area of responsibility would benefit from a buddy session. This is then incorporated into the programme for the term. This term I asked for the cards to be included, as speaking and listening is part of the whole school target and I thought it would be great to see the responses of the younger children encouraged and helped by their older buddies.

Okay, the scene is set: buddies have said their usual hellos and cuddles and hugs have been passed around. To start off we chose a Diamond card, a question about you: everyone has an opinion and it is a good way to start. Who doesn't like talking about themselves?

Six of Diamonds, 'If you could break a world record what would it be?'...answers and discussions flow easily, with many eleven year olds first explaining what a world record is to the younger children. The response is amazing and varied, ranging from doing the fastest karate chop to swimming the longest river and having the most amounts of friends in the world. We quickly follow with the Six of Hearts, a question about the world. 'An alien has just landed! How would you describe planet earth to them?'
• “ A good place”, said with a smile
• “I like it so much it is hard to tell them all my favourite bits!!”
• “We have mummies which are lovely.”
• “I would tell him about amazing animals and doughnuts.”
• “It is colourful, crowed and messy! But I love it.”
• “Everyone is different to look at but we are the same really, aren't we?”
I am beginning to be a very proud teacher indeed; these are the genuine responses of 4 year olds.

We finish with the four of spades, a question about others, 'what would your favourite teacher be like?' ...I know what you are saying but I couldn't resist it!

Funny, good, kind and nice were mentioned, even cute. One 4 year old wanted a teacher who would let them do whatever they liked but when asked by his buddy if he would learn anything he responded with, 'oh no I had better do some things that I don't like then.' Toby wanted a teacher who would show him how to be a policeman or an astronaut. And my lovely girls wanted me…, just the answer any teacher secretly wants! Other teachers reported great sessions and responses and next time I think I will video them as a great record for the inspectors.

My Year 5 Collective Worship Club (or the 'secret sweetie eating group' as we like to think of ourselves) has been running for nearly two years. We meet every Tuesday and it includes a mix of 10 year old girls and a smattering of boys. More of both genders arrive when it is cold and rainy ~ funny that! They are a very confident and able group who are now very comfortable with each other which is a perfect combination. They are always looking for a challenge, whether it is running the fair trade café and banana stall or putting in a bid to have the peace garden landscaped. They agreed to help me ask tricky questions to my four year old children.

The 10 of Clubs is a question about belief. 'How do you think the world was made?' If you are going to ask a question it might as well be a big one!
George looks at me as though I had just asked the silliest question in the world.
'Well God of course Mrs Moxon' he answers. 'He just put it in the atmosphere just like that'
'God did it, and he made the animals as well' responds another.
'No it was Jesus but I don't know why he did it' questions Ella.
We have several big bang theories but the general idea was that God made the big bang all except Jason: 'No, it just happened without any help from God. I don't believe in God, do you Mrs Moxon?'

As we are on a roll we continue with belief cards and the Jack of Clubs is randomly chosen. 'If you had a chat with God, what do you think he would say to you?'
He would say, 'You are a good swimmer Abigail'. Says Abigail
“I would ask him to teach me magic tricks” I overhear.

'I would say hello God' shouts Peter.
' Would you tell him your name?'
'No, he is God he would know it already.'
'I can talk to God anytime because I can say a prayer' answers Beth.

This concludes the lesson 'How to be put in your place by a four year old'.

We get the cards out whenever we can and they never fail to cause a commotion of worthwhile thoughtful discussion.

Cards can be made and laminated or purchased at

Amanda Moxon