Hi and welcome back to Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers!
Whoops! – Accidents (or pretend accidents) are instant attention-grabbers with kids.
Start a school day by walking to the front of the classroom with a set of puzzle pieces in a box or other container.
Hold the box up so that everyone can see the picture on the cover.
Announce that you have some puzzling activities in store for the class.
Let the puzzle slip from your hands and fall to the floor.
The pieces may stay inside the container or spill out. No matter.
Listen for students’ response. “Whoops!”
“Oh no!” you might reply at first.
Life is Full of Puzzling Activities – Follow up, expressing this bright idea…“Oh well, life is full of puzzling activities, and some school work can be like a puzzle, too.”
Take the subject of writing, for example.
You know who they are in your class…the students who struggle with writing.
Third grade teachers I met with recently were quick to point out how their students struggle with language mastery.
“We need you to help with sentence writing before non-fiction full story writing,” they told me.
“Some of our kids aren’t anywhere close to writing complete personal narratives.” they lamented.
Writing is Like Putting Puzzles Together – I mentioned my “puzzle approach” to writing stories, and the teachers were enthusiastic about the concept.
Maybe this approach can help your class, too. “Our students will get that,” the teachers I was meeting with mused. “Tell us more;” they wanted details…
Why the puzzle approach works really isn’t puzzling at all.
Kids love puzzles…pieces in a colorful box…pieces that have fallen on the floor when a teacher “accidentally” dropped them.
Help Kids Visualize Finished Work – Puzzles form pictures. The puzzling activity of writing is like completing a puzzle picture.
When a teacher describes writing as the process of penciling in one piece at a time to construct a whole picture – a story – a poem – a report – expository writing – any kind of writing – students get the picture!
Kids can visualize a finished piece of writing when they picture it as a completed puzzle.
Focus! – Explain that the FOCUS of a piece of writing is like the PHOTO on the cover of the puzzle box. If it’s colorful and attention-getting, it will attract readers/viewers/listeners.
How else can you help students with the puzzling activity of writing? (more…)