Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Talking with Bears

Hey Friends! It's Kristen from
again and I'm ready to give you another tool in your overflowing toolbox.
I'm sure most of us have these adorable bears in our classroom. They are most often used for math manipulatives but in my room they serve another purpose. They are my accountable talk tools. These bears are the perfect way to hook your students into talking about anything.
In the past my table discussions were dominated by the chit-chatter of every table or the "smarty pants". You know who they are! While these children talked the others simply took the free ride and sat quietly. Not anymore!!! My talking bears make sure every voice is heard and still provides time for the chit-chatter to.... well chit chat!
So let me explain. I give each table a bear and put it in front of the student I'd like to speak first. That child gives their answer or opinion and then passes the bear to another student. So on and so forth. Once all students have shared at least once the bear goes back in the middle. When we first introduce this strategy this is where we stop. All children do a table sticky high five (high fives that are stuck together into a circle) to show every student had a turn.
Once your class is ready you can teach them how to continue to use the bear to add on to other students responses. Since the bear goes in the middle to show everyone had a turn, students will know the bear is up for grabs. I usually teach some accountable talking stems at this point. Kindergarteners saying "I'd like to add to what Sarah said about...."! Cutest thing ever!!
We have only one simple bear rule! The person holding the bear is the only one who can talk and all other students must have eyes on the talker. Simple. Easy. Effective.
I like to use this tool paired up with sticky note responses the most. It could be my obsession with sticky notes or just the fact that kids love them too! This is an example of my students filling out their end of the day exit slip. We answer the question "What did you do at school today?" So that my students will answer their parents with something other than "I don't know!" After everyone fills out their exit slip I pass out the bears and every student shares!
That's all for know! I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I'll be back on Christmas!! I'll even have a present for all of you!

1 comment:

  1. Great idea Kristen!! I will have to try that in my classroom. I love the table sticky high five too!! My kids are going to LOVE that!! :) Thanks for sharing!!