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Macavity - ideas?


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By chance I read my class the poem 'Macavity the mystery cat' one day last week and they loved it! So much so that they have requested it on several days and want to "do Macavity things" in class. I really want to run with this as it's the first time they have shown such a strong interest in anything! So, I'm looking for ideas. I know the objectives come first and key things I'm working on next week include:


PD: using tools safely and anti-clockwise

Literacy: identifying story characters/events/settings and writing labels/captions

Maths: counting and ordering numbers (the majority really need to work on 11-20)

EAD: mixing colours

UW: using computer software (however, this is an area which has really been lacking in my planning this year - especially observing similarities and differences).


My Y1s are working on:

materials and their properties in science

giving opinions about a piece of music and creating one

learning about QR codes in computing

summarising and presenting what they have learned about the UK in geography.


I also need to squeeze some anti-bullying work in there too.

So, any suggestions for ideas/approaches I could take gratefully received - the children seemed to be most taking with the mystery aspect and one suggested that they could do spying. I'm contemplating turning the role play area into a hideout for Macavity (it's been the same for weeks now).

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Get the cast recording of cats - which is based on the TS Elliot poems. The Yr1s can listen to the music and then create their own scores (depending on how much experience in writing down their compositions they have already had though, something I used to do a lot with my YrR children so if not you could teach this too)

Explore the colours in a cats fur and try to mix the tones?

Ultimately not all your objectives will suit this context so you'll probably have several themes running here.


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PD: padlocks and keys/combination locks?

Our role play area was a police station recently and that went down well: incident records, telephones and message pads, police badges, and, most popularly, walkie-talkies (Argos had Buzz Lightyear ones for £8.50). We made 'wanted' posters and so did lots of oral work on describing. Our police visitors explained how they have to write everything down - really useful for getting boys writing going - perhaps your Year 1's could investigate what happens to paper in the rain?

We went outside and looked at car number plates, then put the numerals in order, though that's 0-9.

Macavity's a wonderful poem and I'd never have thought of sharing it with my Year R class - I'm looking forward to having a go sometime - thanks for the idea.


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now as you know im not a school teacher so some of these may be completely unworkable!!

yr 1

i was thinking along the lines of why cats dont get cold ...so insulation ....fur vs paper/vs polystyrene sort of thing...if you can get some furry material?

Music working around the original score i would think....or maybe making a tune up for a poem?

The QR codes would be great for clue hunting...maybe they could even make a clue trail for the reception children to follow?

Geography ...something along the lines of finding places for macavity to hide...where would be good and why? (mountains/rivers/caves etc....depends on how much they know already!)


opening jars to find clues hidden inside ( i dont use opening locks as i have lots of children with asd and i dont want to encourage them to escape!!!!!!)

making up their own evil cat villain.....what does he need to steal things ...can they label his tools !!!

0-20 ordering cut out cats to sit on a wall (like 10 green bottles) ...maybe the yr 1's could make up a song for this?????!!!

UW...using the tablets to read the clues on the QR codes made by the yr1'S

.....sorrry bit of a random collection of ideas....might spark an idea though!

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Brilliant! Thank you all for your help! Getting someone else's take on a subject is something I really miss being in a small school - as you say FM often sparks an idea.

Catma - I'd completely forgotten about Cats the musical (despite my school choir having Jellicle cats as one of the songs in a medley they're learning)! We have done a little bit of writing their own music down so I will definitely be composing some cat music - will be a good opportunity to challenge them in to really thinking about which sounds they want to use - everything tends to be at the 'loud is best' stage at the moment!

Marywilliam - I know my children will like a police station role play and plenty of good mark making opportunities in there.

Cait - I'm thinking lots of mystery hunts! I have an idea for the children arriving at a Macavity crime scene and having to follow clues to solve it - I just can't work out what the crime might be! I think this 'theme' will run for a couple of weeks though so might save that one for next when I can use the QR codes too as this week they are just starting to learning what they are and how to read them.


FM - lots of great ideas, thank you! Like the cats sat on a wall. I had a thought about counting stripes on a tail and matching to the right numbered cat - what do you think?

Definitely lots of evil cat villains too - and we can mix the right colours to paint their fur Catma and that can be a way in to the looking at similarities and differences UW aspect I need to do more work on.

Catma - don't worry, I won't be forcing objectives in to themes. My Y1 English this week is meant to be traditional tales from other cultures although as the other cultures isn't an NC requirement I am tempted to do Puss in Boots instead! ;) Geography really has to be about the UK countries and them presenting their knowledge but I also know they need more practice and reinforcement of that knowledge - maybe they could look at a series of clues to find out where Macavity's last crime took place! We're also doing properties of shape in maths and one of the most successful things I did a few years ago was to wrap up presents for Santa's reindeer but all the name labels had fallen off - Santa wrote a letter describing who had got which shaped present using the properties and children had to re-label. They were so engaged and it really got them thinking about it. I'm thinking something similar for Macavity would be a possibility.


We also have a HUGE toy factory that some of my children made out of the gears construction kit last week (was so lovely to see my YR learning from the Y1 that it was possible to build something other than a gun!) so I'm thinking plenty of opportunities for writing instructions for how it works/labels/lists of toys they want it to make. Would like to think of some number things to do with it too....


Apologies for the long post - I'm feeling a bit inspired!

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Wanted to update you and thank you all again. We did cat music on Monday which went down well and at the end I was asked "Can we have another Macavity day?" We keep reading the poem and they join in with gusto to Macavity's not there. Today I gave the Y1s a cluedo type map with numbered rooms; Macavity had stolen shapes from the house. Scotland Yard had found them but didn't know which room each one belonged in. They had to solve clues with shape properties to put them back. Really enjoyed cat 'Guess Who?' And were beginning to speak in proper sentences.


The really high point though - 2 YR girls did some drawing - one a picture of a cat with a label for his name and she'd got the initial M - she's only done random letters up till now. The other had drawn a path of cat paw prints with 'Star' and 'Finish' written on and a heading: 'mcavtee shrayul' (Macavity's trail). I was so proud! Looking forward to more great things from them - it's been so long since I felt like I was doing things 'right' and having an impact with my class.

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