Tools for Creative Teaching

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					Tools for Creative Teaching

BALL OF YARN - Tie various lengths of different colors of yarn together until you have a large ball of yarn. Students retell a story or talk about an experience as they unravel the ball. When they get to the next piece of yarn, it is someone else's turn.

BALLS – Write the names of famous people from the target culture, students in your class, letters, or numbers on the spaces of soft, soccer-type balls. Play or hum a song that relates to your lesson. As you do so, have students sit in a circle and gently toss the ball back and forth to one another. When the music stops, the student with the ball must answer a question based on the number, color, letter, or name that his or her thumb is touching. So, for example, if it is a number ball and the student's thumb is on number 4, s/he must answer Question #4 (or respond to Situation #4, or give 4 examples of whatever you are talking about) from a list that you have prepared. If it is a letter ball, and the student's thumb is on the letter P, s/he must answer Question P, respond to Situation P, or think of something that starts with P that is related to the lesson. If it is a name ball, the name of the student under his/her thumb must answer the question. If it is a famous person ball, the student must tell the story of the famous person that is under his or her thumb.

BEAN BAGS – These are useful for many games once you have made them. (You can have a friend who sews help you out, or you can just fill small socks with beans or rice, tie off the tops, and use those!) Write or type questions about the concepts you are teaching in large print on pieces of paper or on paper plates. Spread them out on the floor and let students take turns throwing the bean bag. Whatever question the bag lands on is the question that student gets to answer. If you like, you can arrange the questions in the form of a tic tac toe board.

A Mouthful of M&Ms ♦ 2006 ♦ Compiled by Cherice Montgomery ♦ chericem@msu.edu

BUBBLES – Students attempt to answer questions, conjugate verbs, describe something, or recite a short poem or passage they have memorized before the last bubble hits the floor and disappears. You can now get scented bubbles!

CHART PAPER – This can be used for vocabulary games like Pictionary, carrousel activities, writing group stories, etc. You can also get Post-it chart paper (which will stick to the wall), dry erase poster board (that can be written on with dry erase markers and then wiped off and reused), and static cling dry erase paper (these are thin, dry erase sheets that will stick to the wall without adhesive and that can be wiped off and reused).

BOARD GAMES – Make a generic game board with colored spaces (you can use markers to draw them, glue colored pieces of paper to a poster board, or attach colored dot stickers or labels to the poster board or folder). Laminate the board and make a colored die (using markers or stickers) that corresponds to the colors you used on the spaces. Depending on how many students are in your class, use different colored bingo chips, squares of colored paper, different coins, or even different colored Barbie shoes as game markers! Now, you can create a set of question or situation cards for various lessons and students can play the game. The students can each have their own tokens, can play in teams, or can play against the teacher.

DRAWING – Drawing can be a powerful teaching and learning tool. As you tell stories, illustrate them by drawing with stick figures on the white board in your classroom. The worse artist you are, the better! Students will enjoy laughing at your attempts! ;-) As a closure activity, have students draw the key elements of a story you have read or told, of a process you have explained, or of a situation you have described.

A Mouthful of M&Ms ♦ 2006 ♦ Compiled by Cherice Montgomery ♦ chericem@msu.edu

DRY ERASE BOARDS – Students love them, they are useful for thousands of activities, and they last for a long time once you've made them. To create them, affix dry erase contact paper to heavy pieces of cardboard, or go to Home Depot or Lowe’s and ask them to cut you some squares of shower board. Ask questions and have students write or draw the answers, then hold them up for you to check. Be sure to get the low odor markers if you decide to use these.

FLYSWATTERS – Make up cards that have answers to questions about your lesson for each student (or for pairs of students). Distribute a flyswatter to each student. As you call out a question, students look for the answer and swat it. You can pause to discuss each answer prior to moving to the next question.

HIGHLIGHTERS – Give students copies of stories or articles, give them highlighters, and have them mark key words or favorite passages. They could also highlight words they know, passages about which they have questions, steps in a process, or identify key principles. You can then discuss these things as a class.

HULA HOOPS – Lay these on the floor and have students sort art postcards, realia, or vocabulary word cards into them Venn diagram-style.

JEOPARDY BOARD - This can be made out of a single sheet of poster board using Velcro or library pockets (available at school supply stores), or out of a tri-fold piece of cardboard or foam core board. You could also use pegboard and put the cards on hooks. Once you have made the board itself, it is easy to make up cards containing questions about your lesson.

A Mouthful of M&Ms ♦ 2006 ♦ Compiled by Cherice Montgomery ♦ chericem@msu.edu

LIGHT BOARDS - Students put the lead wires on two different screws. If the answer they choose matches the question, the little light lights up. (If you want instructions for making these, let me know.)

MANIPULATIVES – Anything related to the lesson that students can touch makes a good teaching tool, including flash cards, learning wrap ups, Press 'N Check cards, sentence strips, signal cards, etc.

MIRRORS – Photocopy answer sheets onto transparencies, and then flip the transparencies over (so that the words appear to be backwards) and photocopy them onto plain paper. Students can now only read the answers when they hold the sheets up to a mirror!

MUSIC – Music is a very effective way to help students remember concepts and principles you are teaching. Incorporate it as often as you can and in as many ways as you can. You can have it playing as students enter the room, you can have students listen to a song and guess what the lesson will be about, you can have students sing, march to a song, memorize rules or words to the tune of a song, etc.

MYSTERY OBJECT – Place an object inside a bag, box, or sock. Allow students to feel the object, guess what it is, describe it to the class without naming it, and/or tell how it relates to the lesson.
A Mouthful of M&Ms ♦ 2006 ♦ Compiled by Cherice Montgomery ♦ chericem@msu.edu

MYSTERY PICTURE – Take a picture and cover it with numbered squares of paper. Allow students to take turns choosing a number to remove. Then, have students try to guess what the picture is about (or the lesson is about based on the picture). Continue removing numbers until the students have revealed the entire picture.

PAPER PLATES – These can be used for all sorts of things. You can have students divide them into sections and draw scenes of stories on them. You can cut them up to make headbands that students can wear. You can cut holes in the middle of them and use them to make ―costumes‖ for acting out stories. Kids can divide them in half and compare two different concepts by drawing or writing representative examples on one side, and counterexa mples on the other. You can also write questions on the back, number the fronts, and allow kids to toss beanbags at them. The possibilities are endless!

PICTURE FILE – Picture files can be used for more than just ―showing‖ pictures. You can pair them with word cards or story phrases to make concentration games from them. You can play Spin the Bottle and have kids tell you the story of the picture to which it points. You can ask a question and have the child who is holding the picture with the answer bring it to the front of the room, or you can have students arrange the pictures in sequence as you tell a story.

PLAY DOUGH – Play dough can be used for any number of activities, including paired pictionary (Partner A looks at a list of words on the overhead and then tries to quickly make models to represent the word so Partner B can guess it and move to the next word), or students can "illustrate" and then retell stories with it. If your room is carpeted, be sure to spread a plastic tablecloth or a sheet on the floor to protect it.

A Mouthful of M&Ms ♦ 2006 ♦ Compiled by Cherice Montgomery ♦ chericem@msu.edu

POPSICLE STICKS – You can write different phrases or situations on them and have students sort them, they can be the base part of stick puppets, students can write verb conjugations on them and sort them, and you can use colored ones to sort students into groups.

PROPS – Collect props and clothing that correspond to traditional stories from the target culture. Distribute them to students and allow the students to act out their parts as you tell the story. For example, students could wave blue ribbons around to represent the wind, could use flashlights for sunshine, and could use a spray bottle filled with water for parts of a story that talks about rain. [Think in terms of the five senses when you are collecting props—for example, could they crumple paper, shake shakers, wiggle aluminum foil, ding a bell, or any number of other things in order to make sound effects? Is there something they could smell? Is there something they could touch? Is there something they could taste (be sure to check for allergies first)!

PUPPETS (Made out of paper bags or socks) - I found a neat book at a teacher store that has patterns for puppets that can be made out of paper lunch sacks. I cut all the patterns out, colored them, glued them to the sacks, and then laminated the sacks. If you cut the bottom off, you can get your hand inside after it is laminated. You can then use a razor blade to slice around the mouth part so that the puppet can still "talk" after lamination. These can be used for skits, etc.

PUPPET THEATERS - You can make a quick puppet theater by putting a sheet over the table in your classroom and having students sit behind the table and hold their puppets up over the top.
A Mouthful of M&Ms ♦ 2006 ♦ Compiled by Cherice Montgomery ♦ chericem@msu.edu

REALIA - Collect a box full of objects that represent various places or events in a story or article that you have read. Allow students to take turns choosing objects from the box and explaining how the object relates to the story/article. If you teach younger students, you may wish to have them use the objects as visual prompts to help them retell the story. After the entire class has listened to the story, each child could tell the part of the story their object represents in their own words, or the whole class could help.

RINGS (from canning lids) – These can be tossed into boxes, or used to ring popsicle sticks, dowel rods, or lollipops that have been stuck into the top of a box. Each stick can be numbered and students must then answer the question or respond to the prompt for that number.

SENTENCE STRIPS – Put proverbs, key sentences from articles, steps in a process, or main events from a story on big word cards. Pass out the cards and have the students try to arrange themselves in the right order. For a twist, distribute pictures, call out a question in the target language, have students look at their pictures to see who has the picture that shows the right answer, and then ask the student to explain why their picture answers the question. En boca boca cerrada no entran moscas.

A Mouthful of M&Ms ♦ 2006 ♦ Compiled by Cherice Montgomery ♦ chericem@msu.edu

SIGNAL CARDS – Use colored index cards (or cut cardstock, index cards, or folders into strips and attach colored dots—you can do this with markers, pictures, or words). When you ask a question or read a situation, students must use the signal cards to show you their opinion. You can then call on one or two students to explain or justify their decisions. [This technique allows all students to think on their own, to make decisions, and to share their decisions with you simultaneously, but in a controlled manner.] Red = NO, WRONG, STOP, or BAD DECISION Green = YES, RIGHT, GO, or GOOD DECISION Yellow = NOT SURE, WAIT, BE CAREFUL, or IT DEPENDS Right Wrong  

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VELCRO POSTER – Write questions about the lesson on cardstock (or manila folders). Write their answers on separate pieces of cardstock (or manila folders). Back each one with a piece of Velcro and attach them to a piece of poster board. Prior to class, remove the questions from the poster board and pass them out randomly to the students. Allow students to take turns matching up their questions to the answers. You could also do this by writing questions on a folder and hot gluing metal washers under each one. Next, write answers on index cards and affix self-adhesive magnets to the backs of the cards. Kids must attach the right answer card to the right question washer. (The tacky play dough-like adhesive would also work).

A Mouthful of M&Ms ♦ 2006 ♦ Compiled by Cherice Montgomery ♦ chericem@msu.edu


				
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