Have you ever heard of Story Cubes? If you haven’t I highly recommend finding a set ( or two) for your classroom. Later on I’ll post a picture and but here is a link to where you can find them online.
I found this gem a few years ago at a store when they were closing and have used them for everything but the game the game on the box. Basically, they are dice with images instead of dots. I have renames them “spark cubes” because they spark ideas.
Some ideas for these cubes can be sparking creative writing, bell ringers, or a station for ELA.
I made a lesson to help students understand verbs using movement. Students were placed in groups of three or four and each group was given 1-2 cube. They had to roll the cube then draw and write what they thought the image was on a paper. After that, they were asked to collaboratively write a 3-5 sentence story with VERBS (action words) and act or dance it out. They were asked to share this with one other group as I wandered around to observe and assess.
The stories were all unique and the students had fun. These spark cubes are a great creative tool and I would recommend them as a tool for your classroom.
Learn and Grow!
Teachers often come up with super inventive and creative ways to engage students in the writing process. This is especially true for those students who are just learning to form paragraphs or learning new languages. But sometimes it’s best to use a concept that has been proven to work and not try to reinvent to wheel.
Graphic organizers are a wonderful tool for many subject areas, they can be created both on and off the page. These visual maps can be extremely useful for students who have strengths in an array multiple intelligences (look up Mr. Howard Gardner if you are unsure what this is). While the map or organizer can help students to structure thinking it also shows us (you!) as the teacher where the student might be missing some information depending on the type of organizer being used.
Here you will find a variety of graphic organizers that help knowledge pop both on and off the page!
Students as Organizers:
Human Spider Web: Have you ever made a getting you know you web? This is similar! Students use their knowledge of a story (picture book, chapter, or entire book) to create a web of events. As the teacher start off with the beginning then ask toss you web (the yarn) to a student to fill in more until the web is complete. It’s a good way to get in a reading check, a verbal web ( or have a recorder at the board), and get some movement in!
Class Timeline: No one said your organizer has to be on paper! Write or print 1st , 2nd, 3rd, etc. on paper, parts of a story, or events in history you just learned. Ask students to take the papers and line up in the correct order in the front of the room while others check. Talk about the parts of history or story. Who is out of place and why? Take a picture of the students in correct order and have a hard copy of the graphic organizer for them to keep in Google Classroom or on the Ipads if this technology is available.
What do I do with this Wacky Organizer?
Woah! This organizer looks cool! I kinda want to use it but, have no clue how to explain it. Hold on, help has arrived. There is a fantastic website that explains how to use different types of organizers and then gives basic outlines or each one on a different page. Don’t let your students get board with Venn-diagrams or you for that matter. Check out this page for tips and new ideas.
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