Monday, October 29, 2012

Grateful Gabbers

A crazy week is shaping up in many ways!  Most importantly, the approach of Sandy is getting the attention of all of us on the East Coast.  Our schools are all closing and families her hunkering down for the time being.  Before sharing my freebie today, I want to wish everyone in this massive storm's path well.   Please stay safe.

Aside from crazy weather, we also have Halloween this week and, as difficult as it is to believe, November is here!  For this week's freebie, I'm building on a freebie I offered earlier in October.  I wrote a post titled Terrifying Twosomes, in which I included a Halloween-themed freebie and explained how I like to create pairs for spontaneous cooperative learning opportunities during class.  In my post, I also described my rationale and process for making the student pairs. I had really great feedback on this post and want to offer a Thanksgiving-themed chart that can be used for new pairs in the upcoming month.

Here is November's Grateful Gabbers!

Click {here} for your copy of this freebie.
Make copies on cardstock, if possible, to make them more sturdy.
3-hole punch them along the top so that they can stay in the front of each student's binder for quick referencing. :)

Once again, here's how to use this in your class:
  • Have students write their names on the back of their own paper.  This way, if it's lost, they have a chance to get it back.
  • Explain to your class that they are going to have the chance to pick some friends to work with for different activities during class.  For some students, it will be as though you just told them they hit the lottery, so wait for the buzz to die down.  Then explain that when they are finished filling out the cards together (They can't go ahead because there are specific directions.), everyone will have 4 different people to work with as partners at any given time.
  • It is very important to remind them about being respectful of the feelings of others, and that no one should feel left out when writing down names.  These are for quick tasks that last only a few minutes at a time, so it may be nice to have 1 or 2 people that you don't know as well on their cards, too.  It's a great way to make new friends! 
  • Tell students that they are going to pick 4 different people to work with this month.  Explain that when you call out a picture ("turkey," for example), students have 2 minutes to find a friend.  They must exchange papers, write their own name on the line next to the picture that you call ("turkey"), hand the paper back to it's owner and return to their own seat.  Once they are finished, they need to sit down so that people who are having a hard time finding a partner can see who else is still looking.
    • If you have an odd number of students, you can pair the student with an adult in the room OR create a group of 3.
  • Once everyone is sitting, call a couple of students to make sure they have each other's name in the same spot. (Student A and Student B are partners.  Student A should have Student B's name on the turkey line.  Student B should have Student A's name on the turkey line.  If you were to call "turkey" now, Student A and Student B would know to quickly find each other, follow your directions and then go back to their seats to continue with the lesson.)
  • The 1st time through can be a little tricky if students aren't listening.  I have found that if I wait to call an object until the last second, once I've given directions and everyone is silent and waiting to hear which picture they will be working with, it's much easier.
  • Once you've completed the 1st picture, fill out the other 3 in the same way.  Stress that they should have different people on each line. 
Now, when you want students to have a brain break, move around, and share with a peer, all you have to do is tell them to find their "turkey" and they will be able to work with someone they've already chosen ahead of time.  Then, when you assign groups for a different kind of task and you hear complaints that they are not picking who they work with, you can remind them that they work with people they choose all of the time!

I hope this is a useful and fun resource for you and your students!  If you happen to be someone who downloaded October's Terrible Twosomes, please consider sharing how it worked for you in the comments below.  Thanks for stopping by!

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