Saturday, July 27, 2013

Spark Student Motivation-Building a Classroom Community with Collaborative Writing

Happy Saturday everyone! I survived my week of aligning our school curriculum to the Common Core. I'd love to say that I am finished, but now I need to create new assessments and activities for the topics that I haven't taught before. It will be a lot of work, but to me the creating is the fun part!

I'm liking up with Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching to share one way that I Spark Student Motivation.

I teach at a smaller private school, so the majority of the kids that enter my classroom were in the same classroom as third graders. Even though the kids know each other, we still work to create a classroom community. There are always new kids that join the group as fourth graders so I like to do some fun, collaborative writing activities to get them comfortable with sharing their writing. One resource that I like to use to do this is Rory's Story Cubes.
Rory's Story Cubes
On each of these cubes is a picture. The students need to add the item pictured on their cube into the story. I normally start and say a sentence or two to start the story. We then go around the story having each child add a sentence or two. Once the students have said their line, they pass their di to someone who doesn't have one (there are only 9 in a box.) The last person to go wraps up the story.

I love doing this because it teaches kids to listen to each other and to build their ideas off their classmates ideas. The stories are verbal, so students who struggle with the actually act of writing are able to do this without a problem. The stories are always silly, which means lots of laughter.

What activities do you use to build a classroom community at the start of a year?

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  1. This is a great idea! I have seen the story cubes on Pinterest. They are on my back to school purchase list.

    Thank you for sharing this.


  2. I recently found these among some teaching stuff I had stored away at my parents' house. Apparently I ordered them and forgot about them. I'm looking forward to using them in the classroom this year. Thanks for the ideas!

    - Pam
    Moments to Teach

  3. What a great activity. Most of my class knows each other too but you are right this is a great way to get them listening to each other.

  4. What a great activity. Most of my class knows each other too but you are right this is a great way to get them listening to each other.

  5. What a cute idea! I love that for the first week of school! And, guess what??!! I have those story cubes and have never used them! Thanks Bethany for giving me a reason!
    Thanks for linking up friend!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  6. I just bought a pack of these this summer! I am planning on using them at a "Work on Writing" center but I love your suggestion to have the students tell a story verbally as a whole class community building activity! That is great!!
    Fourth Grade Flipper