Forty Best-practices Instructional Activities

Spin and Share
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Procedures: Create spinners that describe elements of the reading selection that will evoke discussion. Divide the class into small groups. Each group receives a spinner. They reread the selection. Following the selection, each person in the group “spins and shares” based on what the spinner designates. Ideas for spinner features: Main Ideas, Descriptive Details, Compare and Contrast Elements, Similes and Metaphors, Facts and Opinions, Author’s Purpose, Author’s Viewpoint, Personal Connections.

Examples: After reading a persuasive article on the issue of drilling for oil in Alaska, students “spin and share” their ideas: Facts/Opinions: Students identify facts and opinions in the text. Similes: Students identify examples of how the author used similes to describe ideas: “Drilling for oil in Alaska would be like...” Author’s Viewpoint: Students use the text to find examples that reveal reasons the article was written. They search for content and language features that helped them draw conclusions about author’s viewpoint.

Variations:
1. Once students are familiar with this activity, invite them to create their own spinners. Encourage them to design the spinners based on specific selections.
2. Integrate the math concepts of fractions and probability by designing spinners with different fractional parts. Write prompts that focus on students’ literal comprehension of the text in the smaller fractional sections. Use the larger sections for prompts that generate interpretive responses.
3. If spinners provoke “play” rather than guided discussions, use envelopes with prompt cards instead of spinners.

Reading Strategies: Identify Main Ideas and Details, Summarize Information, Generate Reader Responses, Synthesize Ideas, Make Generalizations, Ask Questions, Make Connections (Text-to-Text, Text-to-Self, and Text-to-the-World)