This year I have been working on incorporating new ways to engage my students during our literacy block. If your classroom is anything like mine, you have some students who are chomping at the bit to dive into a book or compose their next piece of writing. You probably also have others that just the knowledge that literacy block is approaching causes them to break out into a sweat or immediately start staring at the clock and dreaming about schools end.
As you know, one thing that motivates kids more than anything is technology. My students, almost universally, love it. Finding ways to incorporate technology in any way into any content seems to automatically boost student interest and engagement in the classroom.
One fun way I have found to engage my students during literacy block is by incorporating the use of the website PADLET into my instruction. Padlet functions like a giant classroom bulletin board that students can access to post text, video, images, documents etc. While there are countless ways to easily incorporate Padlet into your classroom, I want to share 5 easy ideas that you can use to get started in your classroom tomorrow.
1. Opinion and Argument Writing
Kids love to share their opinion! Before launching into an opinion or argument writing assignment, pose the question/prompt to the student and let them share their opinion on a class Padlet. This gives everybody an opportunity to share their opinion and each student is able to view what each other wrote and consider different perspectives prior to beginning the writing process.
2. Close Reading
After working through a close reading passage, pose a text dependent question to your class. The students should comb back through the text looking for text-based evidence to support their answer. Have them add their evidence from the text to a class Padlet. Because the students can see what their classmates wrote, they are likely to consider text-evidence that they had not previously considered.
3. Book Review Wall
This is a fun Padlet to keep going all year long. Start a class “Book Review” Padlet. Each time a student finishes an independent read, have them make a post on the class Padlet giving a brief synopsis of the book and share whether or not they recommend the book. As the year goes on, the class will develop quite a collection of book recommendations to consider as they make their next selection.
4. Writer’s Workshop
When narrative writing, one of the hardest things for my students to do is “get the ball rolling.” One idea is to create a class Padlet and let the kids share ideas. When my students start writing a narrative I have them share their first sentence on the class Padlet. As students are able to look at others work, they are able to generate new ideas for how to launch into their writing.
5. Summary / Main Idea
After reading a passage, ask the students to write a short summary of the passage and share it on a class Padlet. You may also choose to have them express the main idea of the passage in one sentence. If your class uses Scholastic News, Time for Kids or something similar, one idea is to split your students up into groups and assign each group one or two articles. When each group is finished reading their articles, they can add a summary of the passage to the class Padlet. Everyone will have access to all of the groups summaries. this will allow every student to learn from each of the articles.
My students love using Padlet in our classroom. With so many things to teach and so little time, Padlet is an excellent way to ensure that every child’s voice is heard. It saves time, allows the students more opportunities to learn from each other, and keeps them engaged. There are many ways to use Padlet. These are just a few go-tos that I love and can quickly be implemented in any classroom.
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