It's Valentine's Day and before the big exchange in the afternoon, it's effective to use the theme as a way to get them writing. As a second part to the writing, they'll be moved into groups. To make it more festive, I convert an Apple Jacks cereal box into a Heart Parts box Heart Parts Box for Spoon Grouping and put numbered spoons inside.
I pick a student to walk around Pulling a numbered spoon with the Heart Parts box and each child picks a spoon. Picking a spoon The number of their spoon will be the group they're in and they may NOT trade with anyone. They're eager to know what they'll be doing, but all I say is, "Hold onto your spoons!" Spoons- what are they for? Leaving an air of mystery about these spoons keeps them focused as they work on the main task.
I turn on the Smart Board so they can see The Assignment. They will be Writing Valentine's Day Story. Holidays are always a great time to incorporate writing because the kids focus on writing in a different way. They write a lot, Ideas flowing! and consistently. Heart Parts Valentine's Day Writing . After it's complete they will go back through and find examples of each of the eight parts of speech: Nouns, Pronouns, Verbs, Adverbs, Adjectives, Prepositions, Conjunctions, and Interjections. I often use a "Parts of Speech Round-Up" worksheet when they write, and attach a copy of this to the back of their Heart Parts direction page. It's a good way to keep recognition of the parts of speech Parts of Speech Round-up example in front of them, even when we're not in a specific grammar unit.
The time has come! The kids are ready to find out the mystery of the spoon groups, and as predicted, they are truly excited with the next "part" of the assignment.
They gather with the other five or six kids who have the same numbered spoons, Which story should we perform? and read their stories to one another. The objective of this reading is to select which story they will use Deciding which story to use to create a skit. My class, as many I suspect, LOVE to write skits or participate with Reader's Theater. Preparing Skit Idea. They can't wait to get started, and do well with deciding on roles. Deciding on the Parts
When I ask for questions, the only one is, "Do I have to share my story?" My response is that they do not have to read it, but must share the idea. With such large groups, there is a better than not chance that a number of kids will be willing to share. With a Valentine's Day theme, some 5th graders writing may be more personal, and I want to be sensitive. After the specifics are determined, they begin Practicing the skit. Although the groups have about six students each, as long as each student has something to contribute, Working on the skit they work well together. Ready to perform their skit
By allowing them to opt out of reading their story, but still sharing, it stops the ball from rolling downhill if an apathetic group happens to be formed. This year there was no issue in any of the groups as to which story to perform, and this is usually the case. One year when there were two headstrong kids who wanted their story as the skit, I simply allowed a splinter group (which I determined.) This has only happened one time, and it wasn't a big deal.
If smaller groups are desired, just add more numbers to the spoon range.
With only four groups, it's possible for the skits to be performed right after the other activities, and wrap the whole activity up in a slightly longer Reading/Language Arts block.
They have a great time performing and seeing what the other groups' skits are like, and it's a fun way to center their attention on something other than their main focus of Valentine's Day: passing out cards and candy treats. I also allow kids to read their original stories Reading his Valentine's Day Story later in the day, if they want, and with this class, they usually want to. I love that when they present it's a perfect connection to SL.5.1. The students are demonstrating how to be effective speakers and listeners.
Slideshow of the skits set to lovely classical music with a Valentine's Day theme... click unmute in the bottom left. Clicking on the slideshow will take you to kizoa.com