by Kailey Rhodes and Jenny Windom, Rubicon International

1. First, write categories on the front of the buckets, and then write corresponding vocabulary terms, math solutions, etc. on the ping-pong balls.  In the English classroom, the buckets could represent various parts of speech (“adverb”) while specific examples (“excitedly”) would be written on the ping-pong balls.

TRY THIS!  Any subject can utilize this strategy!  Try this with science (elements on the buckets; compounds on the ping-pong balls) or with math (equations on the ping-pong balls; answers on the buckets). 

2. Place the buckets on tables or groups of desks, and as students enter the room, hand them a ball.  Keep an ear out for students’ conversations, which will give you a feel for where they are in their thinking.  Even if Alan didn’t know what part of speech “disassociation” was, maybe he knew it ended in “-ion”; how long did it take for him to reason out he needed to go to the “noun” bucket?  Allow students to utilize each other as a resource, or use this as a quiet activity.

3. As students take their seats, encourage them to share their answers and thought processes.  During this time, go over any trends you notice, and note students who might need extra help.  Of course, you know your classroom best: If you wish to adjust instruction immediately, do so!

TRY THIS! If students + ping pong balls = bad news, try using slips of paper from the recycling bin instead.

4. Finally, you can re-use this activity throughout the year!  Keep adding ping-pong balls with new vocabulary for an after-school review or a quick activity to engage students.

Have fun teaching, and thanks for taking this #CurriculumCoffeeBreak!

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