Thursday, February 26, 2015

Connect the Dots With a Twist!

running down the hallway to you, Lori

Do you have that teacher buddy that you share all of your best ideas with? You know...you run down the hallway in your heels because you just tried something new and it was awesome?! Me too! Her name is Suz! But Suz and I don't work at the same school anymore [sad trombone], so this is me using the Internet to share a cool idea with Suz [and you]!

The other day I talked about a powerful strategy for creating connections across genres called "Connect the Dots." It's a fantastic strategy and a Curly Classroom favorite. But give me some post-its, a few paper plates, 4 sentence strips, and a couple of markers, and I can help you show kids how to make connections that they'll never forget. 

Look how much fun!

Group students into fours. You can have a group of 3 or 5...they will just create a triangle or a pentagon. Hand students a small paper plate with a title on the front and a post-it note on the back. Tell students that their title is a secret. Direct them to the post-it note on the back and set a timer for 60 seconds. In that time, students should jot down everything they know about that title: think characters, plot, argument, devices, structure, theme, purpose. Nothing is off limits. Once the timer is up, students are now the experts on their title. 

Students then show each other their titles. Hand students 4 sentence strips. Their job is to determine where each student should place his or her plate. From there, they use their sentence strips and markers to create meaningful connections between titles.

When you're done, turn this into a fabulous SAQ with the stem: 

  • Do you think ____ and ____ have anything in common?
Chances are, the group has done some awesome work and kids won't have to reinvent the wheel to generate a quality response. 

This is simply a new way to hand the learning to kids and have them create meaningful connections. Get some tiny plates and have fun! If sentences strips aren't available to you, use the cheater version and cut strips of regular paper. They won't be as long, but who cares! 

Take some pics and send them my way! It will be your version of running down the hallway to me! 

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