Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dream Vacation Grouping

Jason has invited me to participate as a collaborator on this blog. This year I find myself in a career transition. I was a fifth grade teacher for nine years and now have moved to a reading specialist position. I work with kindergarten through second grade students on specific reading skills. You'll find some of my posts will focus on upper elementary instruction in all areas and some will focus on lower elementary instruction in reading instruction. That said, here we go!

I recently attended a Literacy Coaches Network meeting at my local ISD (Intermediate School District) and learned a new icebreaker/grouping strategy. I am a person that often finds icebreakers awkward and found this one not only pleasant but kind of fun. Here it is step-by-step:

1. Ask your students the question, "If you could take a vacation anywhere in the world, where would it be?" Tell them they must choose just one place and keep the answer in their head.

2. Once they have had enough 'think time' have them line up around the room alphabetically, according to the first letter of the location of their 'dream vacation'. (Note: To keep the suspense going, tell them they many only give the first letter of their location, they may not tell their location while lining up).

3. Once kids are lined up have them turn to the person next to them and tell what their dream vacation is and why they would love to go there.

4. From this point you can have them discuss other questions, either as a social skill building activity or have them partner up with that person to complete a more academic orientated activity.

Good luck and have fun!


J. Kornoely said...

This is a slick idea.

In other ice breaker activities I've used the boys clump up with boys, and girls clump with girls resulting in very little mixing.
The idea that students need to line up in alphabetical order helps eliminate that homogeneous grouping issue.

I could see students picking a favorite character, or part of a story from a read aloud and then have rich discussions begin by utilizing Dream Vacation Grouping.

I will try this out.

Puzzleman said...

I also like how it eliminates the worries of making sure you stand next to or near your friend. So much time will be spent figuring out where they belong alphabetically that they will forget about being only amongst their friends.

J. Kornoely said...

Another good point Puzzleman. It's amazing what a group activity can do to help build classroom culture.