Theme Inspired Choice Playlists

Do you ever see someone post an AMAZING idea on Twitter and you just want to run home and make some magic happen? A couple days ago my teammate Michelle Hood (4th Grade Math/Science teacher at Wells Elementary in Cy-Fair ISD) came running to me asking if I saw what Anna Fisher (1st Grade teacher at Wells Elementary in Cy-Fair ISD) had posted on her twitter. I hadn’t a clue what she was talking about and was instant jaw dropping when I saw it. Anna Fisher and I had visited a few weeks back about using playlists in the classroom. I shared a template with her and she started rockin’ and rollin’ with it. Then she had this brilliant idea to turn it all cutesy and themed. She had this adorable little fish with bubbles coming out of their mouths. When a student finished something, they colored in a bubble. How cute is that?! I’m sure her little firsties LOVED it!

Students coloring in their fish bubbles in Ms. Fisher’s first grade classroom

Michelle Hood was like, “We’ve got to do this! How about a holiday theme?”  Thus the tree and ornament idea was born and I rushed home to put it into action. As I was making this playlist I got to thinking about how I could add more choice into the playlist. Students often times choose the order in which they complete their tasks, but how about choice in how they complete it? Color coding is practically life when your a teacher, so that was the immediate answer to making this work. Grab a copy of this playlist here

EDIT: I’ve since created a second Holiday Themed Playlist with
  Christmas Lights! I can’t wait to see this all colored in! 🙂 

As you can see, this one was created in Google Slides. I didn’t need cells for this one, and Slides offers me so much opportunity to be creative. On the slide, each student has their own tree with their name written diagonally up the tree. They then have 5 white ornaments and a white star. (The tree was found online and the ornaments/star  were just added using the shapes tool in Google Slides).

The directions are written at the top of the slide. “Choose one activity from each color to complete. After you complete the activity, color in an ornament to match the color! Your tree needs to have one orange, red, pink, blue, and green ornament. After visiting with Mrs. Bohm paint your star yellow! ” To color in an ornament, students simply click on the ornament and then use the paint bucket tool to select their color.

On the left hand side are their tasks to be completed. You can see that there is 1 orange task, 2 red tasks, 2 blue tasks, 2 pink tasks, and 1 green task. The orange and green task are the only tasks of those colors, so every student will complete these. The red, blue, and pink tasks however have 2 activities. Students get to choose which 1 of the 2 activities they complete. Students then choose the order in which to complete their activities. When I call them to small group they pause on their current activity and visit with me. When we’re done, they go straight back to their activity.

The orange activity is a Google Slide activity found on Google classroom. It reviews everything we’ve learned about fractions. Google Classroom is such an efficient way to assign something. It’s one of my favs!

The red tasks are both related to Equivalent Fractions but students choose which activity they want to do. One activity is an independent activity where students match equivalent fractions cut out on light bulbs and place them on a string. The other choice is a partner activity rolling dice to find a fraction and then racing to find all of the equivalent fractions.

The blue tasks are both related to Mixed and Improper Fractions. One activity is a circuit around the room with tasks cards matching mixed numbers with equivalent improper fractions. The other activity is picking 5 dominoes out of a bucket, writing the improper fraction shown, and finding the equivalent Mixed Number. Both tasks focus on the same skill and have 5 numbers, just done in a different way. 

The pink tasks are both related to Simplifying Fractions. One activity is blank Christmas lights with fractions on them. Students simplify the fractions, and then color each light bulb according to what it simplified to using the key. The second activity is a matching puzzle. Students match a word problem with a fraction. Then then match those to the greatest common factor and the simplified fraction. When they flip their 4 puzzle pieces over, they see a fun winter themed picture. 

The green activity is a Number Line circuit around the room with a record sheet. Every student completes this one. 

You might be wondering, how do students know what to do at each station? I always briefly go over each station. I then create Station Instructions. These instructions are hung up around the room at the station locations. They always include three main questions with answers. What materials do I need to be successful? How can I demonstrate my mastery? What do I do when I’m finished? 

I’m always amazed at the high level of engagement during these playlists!

As always, if you have questions please reach out! You can find me on twitter @MrsLaurenBohm or @BohmVoyage

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