Aug 1, 2014

Fun Fridays CAN be PRODUCTIVE in an ELA/SS Classroom!

I have a FUN plan for FUN FRIDAYS this year.  In the past, I have struggled with how to make FUN FRIDAYS productive, and yet still allow FRIDAYS to be something that is looked forward to and celebrated, while I meet with my small groups to wrap up the week. There is a fine-line somewhere between the fun and productive and I am determined to find that line and jump on it.  I hope that my colleague/friend and I have found it.

My rotation system for our work stations runs on a 4 day rotation for a number of reasons.  
  • First, we are always missing a day for something during the week and I need a little wiggle room!
  • Secondly, rarely is everyone in my class present everyday during every week!
  • Thirdly, my students never work at the same pace!
  • I need a wrap up day.
  • And lastly, and quite possibly the reason I stuck with a 4 day rotation system, was that it simply works well for me and I couldn't come to terms with any other system.
This 4 day system means that Fridays seem to be free- sometimes for -some students.  Not all students, and not all weeks, but never-the-less, I need something PRODUCTIVE for those high achievers that not only attend school everyday, but also finish their work ON-TIME every week. :)  I don't want to ASSIGN work to these kids.  That doesn't seem quite who would strive to finish their work if that were the case. Because of this, I need something that is PRODUCTIVE and MOTIVATING that they will look forward to, and strive to earn the right to participate in should the FUN time present itself!

Here's our plan!

My sweet friend created this TIC-TAC-TOE board for our students.
I know...TIC-TAC-TOE activity boards aren't necessarily novel ideas, but my students will file their "projects" in FUN-TASTIC Portfolios for the end of the year.  They will end up with a creative timeline of their own activities that will walk them through the study of American History, and...their study will be based on BOOKS!  Is there anything better for our students to do with their spare time when they've accomplished all their work??

They get the freedom to choose fun activities!
They are doing PRODUCTIVE READING activities!
AND, they are reviewing our Social Studies unit as they work!
They file it themselves in their FUN-TASTIC portfolios which means no extra work for me!

We will use the same filing system that we use for our WRITING PORTFOLIOS.

It is a self-pacing, early finisher option that leads to a big reward, but doesn't prompt pressure for the students that just can't seem to make it to the finish line each week.
 Hope you can use this idea in your classroom!

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