We all know it is natural for the majority of students to interrupt while they’re having conversations. They want to be heard, and they want to ensure their friends and peers affirm their own point of view. SO THEY SAY THEIR OPINION AS LOUD AS POSSIBLE OVER ALL THE OTHER STUDENTS AT THEIR TABLE. The struggle is real, am I right teacher friend? So I created a Talking Stick to help scaffold my students’ development in learning how to LISTEN and allow one person to talk in a team at a time.
Talking sticks are incredibly useful and SUPER easy to make. (And practically FREE! Yes, I said the magic word.) Here are a few simple options for you to make some lickety-split!
Option number 1: Just hop in your mid-sized sedan (yes, I know all you teachers out there have one), and load up those kiddos, if you have any, because we are taking a field trip to HOME DEPOT!!! Cruise on over to the paint section (commence the oohs and aaahhs from your own children as they ogle at the vast array of colors) and shove as many of those paint samples into your purse as possible without attracting negative attention (because there are SO many uses of those in the classroom, just look it up on Pinterest) and then ask the kind person at the paint desk for some FREE stir sticks, 6-8 should be about right. (Disclaimer: Price and Availability may vary by location) You need one for however many table groups you will have in your classroom. (For more on why you should set up your class in table groups watch for my article on Classroom Environment Building, COMING SOON) Then pop on over to your friendly school supply closet, or your own closet for that matter, and nab some assorted paints. Paint the ends of your stir sticks a variety of colors, and VOILA! Magnifico! You have created a masterpiece (while possibly facilitating an impromptu field trip and craft enrichment day for your own children, win-win!!)
Option number 2: Scurry down to your friendly neighborhood dollar store, Hi Beth! Good to see you!— No, I don’t know the dollar store employees by name because I come here so often during school supply season……..Moving on, so you’ve made it to the dollar store and said Hi to your friend Beth, now mosey on down to the aisle containing the “useless” toys and dig out 6-8 toy microphones, because they are about to be useless NO LONGER! If there are any annoying cords attached, just snap those right off and you are DONE! You have some fancy talking sticks! Wow, that was easy! And pretty much cost no money because the dollar store is a place of magic and wonder.
Option number 3: Let’s have a fun little romp in the depths of your classroom supply closets that you haven’t sorted through in years. If you have some extra time, and want to squeeze in some much needed classroom closet organization, see what objects you find in that treasure trove that you can modify to create talking sticks! Here are some possibilities:
Large popsicle sticks you can color
An array of pipe cleaners you can bind together
Some random conch shells (Where are my Lord of the Flies fans out there?)
Some actual sticks
Oversized straws that you could paint the tips different colors
Some smaller colorful plastic rulers
The possibilities are endless! Be creative!
Now I have some wicked awesome talking sticks, what do I do with them? (Besides lip-sync some Mariah Carey alone in my classroom, obviously) Pop on over to my article on Collaborative Discussions to see these babies in action!
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