Thursday, August 1, 2013

Thursday Throwdown: Making Learning More Interactive

Today I'm linking up with I'm Lovin Lit for Thursday Throwdown!   The topic: making student learning more interactive.  As soon as I heard this, I thought about my favorite school supply: Post It Notes!

Who doesn't love sticky notes?  My students loved anything involving sticky notes and I hope that my next group loves them too.  I make sure to buy bright colors and interesting patterns to keep them new and fresh.  Of course we use stickies when we read and we respond....
My apologies for the recycled picture!

We also used sticky notes for graphic organizers as we read Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper.  
I made a few graphic organizers for the beginning of the book to keep up their motivation in the early days of June.

This is a blank version of the handout.  {Yes, we were still working on predicting in June.}  In the first box, I copied an image of the cover of the text.  Under the box, I asked the kids to think about the title and the image of the fish jumping out of the bowl.  In the second box, I copied the blurb from the back of the text and underneath, I asked them to write any questions they have about the description.  In the final box, the students made predictions about the text after hearing the first chapter.  The lesson?  Our predictions about text should evolve as we gather new information about the characters and the plot.

Here are two examples of student work from that morning:
This student asked questions about the cover, the character and the phrase "having a voice."
This sample is from my superstar.  I'm going to OMG miss him next year.  He wrote "is it a real voice or a metaphoric voice?"  Seriously?  LOVED this kid.

The sticky mats were a great launching point for discussion about the visuals and our ideas about the text.  The students had a few minutes to gather their thoughts before discussion and using the sticky mats was something *different* so they were more engaged than if I asked them to think-pair-share or jot their ideas in their notebook.  There's just something magical about sticky notes!

For next year's group, I created a set of editable Common Core Aligned graphic organizers that I'm calling sticky mats.

 These are generic prompts that can be used with most literature.  Common Core Standards and prompts are a little tricky because they are very text dependent, so your students may need some additional prompting in order to really dig deep into their books with these organizers. They are not meant for independent reading unless you've done a lot of work with the standards.  You can check them out HERE.  This is an editable product.  You'll be able to change the wording of the prompts to make them more text dependent.  You'll need powerpoint in order to edit the file.  I've also included links to the (free) fonts I used.

So how do you make learning more interactive for your students?  Be sure to link up!


  1. I shared a plan for using sticky notes today too (okay a very simple plan compared to this beauty). I love how you print the question on the bottom and they answer it with the sticky on top - this resource looks amazing!

  2. OK. I was just reading about Anne Marie using sticky notes, and now you. I'm OBSESSED with sticky notes and use them all the time to add to my interactive notebooks. I want to use them more! I want to print on them! So many awesome ideas to put into place...
    I also JUST finished Out of My Mind today. It was pretty good - although I was *shocked* when the horrible event happened towards the end of the book! WHAT! One of my biggest fears with my own kids :(
    Anyway, thanks so much for linking up, Sarah!
    :) Erin

  3. That's an amazing idea! What a great way to show how their predictions change-sometimes I think that they don't quite get it. I love the product-it went on the wishlist!

    :) Kaitlyn
    Smiles and Sunshine

  4. I'm your newest follower... I'm also a 5th grade teacher! I LOVE all your ideas! I just started my own blog, can't wait to link up with my new 5th grade friends! :)

    Floating Through Fifth

  5. Amazing! I love using sticky notes, and this is an awesome way to incorporate them. Plus, I just got an awesome pack of the Jewel Pop colors from Sam's that I can't wait to break into :) I'm heading to TPT to add your product to my cart right now! I just started my 5th grade blog, too, and I'm looking forward to linking up!

    Chalk & Apples

  6. Love this! I just shared it on my Five on the Fifth post. Such a smart idea!

    I Teach. What's Your Super Power?