Saturday, February 4, 2012

Beanbag Toss

I was at an NCTM conference when I came up with this idea.  I was actually working a booth for Renaissance Learning and during my down time I would walk around and visit the other booths.  There was a booth selling beanbags for $0.50.  They were advertised to be used with the Smart Board (which is also a great use), but another idea popped in to my mind.

This is a very versatile activity.  It can be used in the classroom or outside. Students can work independently or with a partner. You can use it as a center or during Guided Reading. Here are some ways to use the beanbags:
  • I wrote author's purposes on the beanbags. I doubled up on to inform and to explain because my third graders struggle with distinguishing between those two the most.  I include a variety of laminated passages.  Students spread the reading materials on the ground face up. They scan them and read the titles.  They look at any graphics or illustrations. Then they toss the beanbags onto the reading passages that match the author's purpose on the appropriate beanbag.  They check their answers by flipping over the passages (where I wrote the author's purpose).

  • Write content vocabulary on the beanbags. Write the definitions or an illustration on index cards.
  • Write Marzano's Questions on the beanbags. Spread passages or books on the floor. Toss a beanbag on a piece of reading material and answer the question after reading.
  • Write BOOK and HEAD on beanbags. Write questions on index cards. Students use QAR strategies to decide what type of question is on the card. They toss the corresponding beanbag onto the question cards.
  • Write genres on the beanbags. Spread out a variety of books. Toss the genre beanbag onto the corresponding book.

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