DICE ACTIVITY FOR FULL PARTICIPATION
By Jon Belt
Like most teachers, my week to week lesson plans are open for improvement. This week our focus was on being able to read a short story and answer comprehension questions that pertained to the story among many other things. They were to collaborate in their Pods, and have a CEO spokesperson discuss answers.
Instead of the Pod picking the CEO spokesperson, I woke up on Monday morning with dice on my mind. I'm sure this thought was locked deep in my subconscious, and finally awoke.
Prepare the Dice
My class is divided into groups of four. I printed out a dice sheet that you fold and tape into a good looking set of dice! I like the paper dice for a couple reasons: 1. They are quiet 2. You can't throw it far and 3. They only cost paper and ink.
Give Detailed Instructions
I say this because I wish I would have done this better. The instructions I should have given, and will give from now on is the "Roll Dice For Comprehension" poster at the end of this list.
Model, Read and Think
My sixth graders need to be shown how to do it the right way, because the majority of their listening skills need much improvement. So I will model the simple task of reading and answering + modeling the collaboration.
The students will read a section of the story, and think about an answer to one or more comprehension questions independently.
After thinking on the question(s), the PODS will discuss their answers collaboratively. I have on the board: CEO discusses first, then Manager, Quality Control, and Editor. After discussing the answers, the Manager will lead the discussion with choosing the best answer, AND determining where the answer can be pulled from the text (textual evidence). The editor then writes/types a restated question and answer for the POD.
This step can go a few ways. I have my walls labeled by directions (North, South, East, and West). You can label them almost anything. You could label them by vocabulary words, concepts, fun facts, colors, etc. After the "Pod Talk" I then say: "If your back is to the North wall pick up the dice and on the count of three roll the dice." Students will roll the dice and their POD will hold up what number they received.
POD Talk 2
After the students roll the dice and hold up their number, they talk with POD members about how they are going to present. I give them a presentation starter: "Our Pod discussed."
I used a story in our textbook called "Zlateh the Goat" by Isaac Bashevis Singer. Looking back, I wish I would have started doing this with a simple paragraph for practice before diving into a long story. On the other hand, this could be a pre-reading strategy to prepare them for the story.
Let's ROLL 2
After the PODS discuss the presentation, I roll my dice. There are online dice -OR- you show your dice roll on your projector if possible. If you roll a two, then the POD that rolled a two will be in charge of presenting. If you roll a two and nobody rolled a two, then you get to roll again! If multiple PODS roll the same number, then you have those PODS roll again.
Stand & Deliver
The lucky presenter for the POD does a "Stand and Deliver." He/She will stand and deliver the presentation with the beginning being "Our POD discussed..."
The "Stand and Deliver" method needs to be slowly introduced especially for middle school students. A simple starter could be:
1. Stand and Deliver your name
2. Stand and Deliver what you learned today
3. Stand and Deliver what you think the vocabulary word gallop means
The trick is getting the quiet and shy students to feel more comfortable speaking in front of their peers. This is such a frightening task for us all, but if you ease into it, then the rewards are fun to witness.
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