Swap-ortunities for Learning

a world of ideas at your fingertips!

a world of ideas at your fingertips!

Hi! The Attentionology Traveler has discovered another concept that teachers can apply in classrooms around the world…

…Set up SWAP-ORTUNITIES for students!


It’s an OPPORTUNITY to make exchanges, patterned after retail campaigns that encourage shoppers to bring in gently used merchandise to “swap” for something new. The “swap” reduces the purchase price of the new item, and the retailers donate the gently used items to non-profit agencies that serve people in need.

Teachers need all the tools and tricks we can find for classroom management to help kids stay focused and on task.



  1. Mix up two decks of cards, like you see in my blog pic below,
On your mark, go! SWAP cards with matching patterns on the side opposite the numbers.

On your mark, go! SWAP cards with matching patterns on the side opposite the numbers.

and distribute number cards only, randomly, one to each student.

2.   Go around the room, asking each child to call out the number on her/his card.

3.   Instruct the kids, group by group, to SWAP their cards with another student whose card has a matching pattern on the side opposite the number. On your mark, get set, go!

4.   Go around the room again, asking each child to call out the number on his/her new card with the same pattern.


  1. Open a discussion about how personal possessions tell a lot about who we are, what we like to do, where we’ve traveled to, etc.
  2. Ask students to raise their hands if they’d like to participate in a Swap-ortunity for Friendship Day.
  3. If possible, arrange for an even number of students or participate yourself, if needed, to guarantee that everyone has a Swap Partner.
  4. Write participants names on slips of paper or the board and pair names to make Swap Partners.
  5. Set a date for Swap-ortunity for Friendship Day.
  6. Instruct participating students to bring in (with parental permission) one item that they’d like to swap with a classmate.
  7. Advise Swap Partners to keep what they’re swapping a secret until Swap-ortunity Day.
  8. As scheduled, invite participants to take turns showing the whole class what they’re swapping and telling about how it came into their possession before they make their swaps.
  9. Start Swap Time.
  10. Close the activity with a brief discussion about how swapping “treasures” with someone creates stronger bonds of friendship.

NOTE: Swap-ortunity for Friendship Day is obviously most appropriate for students who are not lacking in any basic necessities. Encouraging a swap of small natural “treasures,” including found objects, is appropriate for all children.

The opportunities for Swap-ortunities are endless! Create your own to suit your curriculum and please let me know how it goes. Send comments.

Look for a new Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers on Monday.

Traveling on…

BarbaraThe Lovable Poet

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in The Attentionology Traveler
Barbara Cleary has been serving as a resource to hundreds of educators for more than 25 years. An award-winning writer, producer, teacher, and trainer, Barbara’s focus is on offering easy, fun tools and tricks that support K-5 curricula and assist teachers with classroom management.
Quick tips for common classroom conundrums: K-5
Situation: Students continue to use lackluster verbs in their writing.

Solution: Show toy cars and pretend to make them zip across a page, telling the class that good writing includes action words (verbs) that have "zip." Ask the class for examples of "zippy" verbs like zoom, race, flash, rush, etc.

Related Posts: Start Students' Engines for Writing