Teaching in High Heels

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Guest Blogger: Anna from Crazy for First Grade

Hey everyone! I'm Anna from Crazy for First Grade!
I'm so excited to be a guest poster here on one of my favorite blogs!!
I'm always looking for fun ways to incorporate higher order thinking and differentiation into my classroom routine.
I love doing this by using "Think Dots" choice boards! The activities on each choice board are differentiated by levels and interests. My little loves have so much fun with them:) They roll a die with a partner and complete the activity if it is one that interests them. If needed, I'm okay with my students rolling again to get a different activity. They have to complete at least 3 activities on the board. Since this is a very student directed activity, I act as a facilitator and just circulate the room monitoring/helping as needed.  Not only are they a great way to stretch your students' thinking, but they are pretty easy to use! We have an extension period at my school for students to refine/extend concepts. These have proven to be an excellent activity for my kiddos during that time. However, you could create a "Think Dots" center, or have them ready to go as an activity for when your students finish their center work.

I started out making the boards for math, but just recently decided that they would be perfect for reading and writing, too. Just click on the picture to download my Reading Think Dots boards!! I hope you like them!!

This blue storage organizer is best friends with my Think Dots boards! I think I picked it up at Wal-Mart for $10-15. Worth every single penny!!! They make having materials for several activities a piece a cake!!! I just put everything the kiddos will need for each choice in a labeled drawer! LOVE IT!!!
As higher order thinking and differentiation become more and more of a focus at my school, I have found these choice boards really helpful. When I first started using them, my students and I went over the expectations and modeled how to complete each activity. Please don't get discouraged if the first, second, or even third time you do a choice board is a little crazy...trust me, it will get much, much better with time and practice!!!

 For more resources and information on a TON of awesome differentiated activities check out this awesome website- http://daretodifferentiate.wikispaces.com/. It's the site that inspired me to start using Think Dots in my classroom!

Thank you Gladys for letting me blog today on your site! SO.MUCH.FUN!! I would love for all of you to come visit my blog at Crazy for First Grade!

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