Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Teaching Moment: Cootie Catchers

A few weeks ago we had our state testing.  So for a week our schedules were messed up and I would see some of my kids for an hour and half, some for an extra 20 minutes, some for the regular amount of time, and some not at all. And it changed from day to day.  In my search for something fun, but still educational, to fill some of those extra minutes, I came across this great activity from Runde’s Room at TPT.  

I chose to copy only three different ones, focusing on inferring and the two mixed comprehensions.  I made enough copies for my students, plus extras.  I had my kids bring their crayons and markers (always a sign that something fun is going to happen in Literature today!) and they were instructed to color their papers however they wished, as long as long as you could still read the words.  

We were able to color (in a very relaxed and unrushed manner), cut, fold, and use these within 30 minutes.  Plus, they’re easy enough so that my quicker students made extras for friends who might lose theirs or for new students.  

At this point we’re using them about once a week.  After they’re finished with their 15 minutes of reading, I give them another 3-5 minutes to share with a partner using the fortune teller/cootie catcher (my students informed me that they already called these fortune tellers, so I went with it even though they're not technically telling any fortune).  My kids love it.  As I walk around I hear them sharing things from their books and asking questions.  I also hear them saying things like “I can't really answer that unless you've already read the book--I don’t want to give away a good part.”  My students are having short and focused discussions with their peers, and it’s great!  I love their interactions with one another and with sharing their books, through these HOT questions.

I asked my classes the other day if they thought it was a fun activity.  They did.  They asked why they hadn't gotten to do this from the beginning of the year--something I will change for next year!  They’re learning and talking about their books and what they’re reading with their peers instead of keeping it all to themselves.  And boy do they LOVE to talk--about anything!  

As a teacher, I highly recommend using it get students thinking about their books and talking about them.  You could use this product in different ways--possibly as a center, or working with a small group.  The templates have nice, clean lines that are easy to fold along, making it much easier to create your cootie catcher.  Plus, you don’t have to write anything on it except a name!

This resource comes with 9 different cootie catchers that cover each of the following reading strategies: asking questions, inferring, determining importance, making connections, summarizing, synthesizing, and visualizing, plus two mixed comprehension.  In addition, there are step-by-step instructions on how to fold your cootie catcher and also a blank template to create your own questions. Check out the product here.

Runde’s Room also has different packs of cootie catchers that will give you an even wider array of tools and engaging activities to pull from. I highly recommend them, because even my sixth graders, who are starting to get to that stage where they're too cool for everything, enjoy them.

Make sure you check out Runde's Room website and TPT store!

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