Thursday, May 10, 2012

Language Work for Spy Guys

The boys recently saw the play Diary of a Worm, a Spider , and a Fly.  One side-effect of their viewing was that they were introduced to the concept of a "government spy" and have chosen this as their new career goal.  Right now that means mostly popping up from around corners wearing sunglasses and humming a little spy guy melody "do do dooooo!"

My mom was quick to inform me that McDonald's currently has "spy tools" in their happy meals.  Yesterday the boys each were lucky enough to procure one of these:

It is called a "3-D viewer".  We haven't tried looking at any 3-D art with it yet.  It does create a weird, somewhat satisfyingly-spyish visual effect when you look through it like glasses...especially if there are lights.  It also doubles as a "secret message decoder" and came with two slips of paper with hidden messages on them that can only be viewed through the red side of the decoder.  The messages themselves are rather useless advertisements featuring the product you are already holding in your hand (reminiscent of A Christmas Story when Ralphy finally earns his decoder and decodes Little Orphan Annie's secret message only to find out it reads "Eat your Ovaltine.")  I promised the guys that first thing this morning I would teach them how to make their own proper spy messages.

Step one is to write a message on a tiny slip of paper with a sharp, light blue colored pencil.

Step two is to hide the message by using a red marker to make many, many little dots covering the paper in a pointillistic fashion.

Step three is to read your message through the red side of the decoder.

The boys have each filled a small box full of their "important secret messages" already this morning...great practice controlling the size of their penmanship, composing sentences, and for handwriting in general.  I plan to put these to good use with Me Too reading puzzle words.

If you use the pink, blue, and green series approach this would be a fun way to do the "secret words."
Any pair of 3-D glasses would do the trick, or the red paddle on a set of color mixing paddles, or you could make your own decoder with red cellophane.

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  1. I never thought to make our own messages that way! My son LOVES decoding and has several sets of filters....

    I'm going to write him some messages while he's at tae-kwon-do ;)


  2. I'm glad someone else will get some enjoyment out of it! It's kind of satisfying when you draw the dots and good pencil practice in a pin-punching sort of way as well.

  3. He loves it! He thought I was so clever to figure out how to make them ;) You've saved my super-mom status for a few more hours ;) hehe

  4. This is GREAT! I love the idea of using this as a fun way to do the "secret words." I pinned this to the collaborative Reading and Writing Readiness Pinterest board at