Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Yellow Pages - Activity for the Beginning of the School Year to Identify Student Experts in the Primary Classroom

Have you ever heard the phrase, "Ask 3 Before Me"? Well, I for one teach little kids... Even though I loop with my students, it's always a shocker to go from end of the year 2nd graders down to beginning of the year 1st graders. I always think to myself, "They're such babies!!!" The 1 thing that really gets me, EVERY YEAR, is the shoe tying.... Boy howdy, that just really wears me down. So, I finally came up with a system for identifying students who are GREAT at shoe tying to relieve me of my duties. :-)

Here is a great way to organize and implement that philosophy. This document is called, "The Yellow Pages", and it is a free printable to help you organize the various student experts in your classroom (including Shoe Tying, Super Spellers, Roaring Readers, Math Minds, Good Listeners, Artists and Craftsmen, and Caring Friends).

After having a short class meeting or minilesson on how (and when) to ask other students for help, you would display these pages (first print the pages on yellow card stock and laminate) up front for the students to see. Start by discussing what a phone book is and how to use it. Show students pictures of phone books on the screen, or bring real phone books for students to see.

Talk about how each student in the class is an "expert" helper, and discuss what that word "expert" means. Talk about how every child is different, and that not all students will be an expert in the same area. Also discuss that even though you may think you are an expert in lots of areas, you could choose 1 or 2 areas to really excel.

Then, come up with a system for having students sign up on 1 or 2 expert pages. Read through the different expert areas first, and then discuss what each expert does. Have students decide where they would excel. You could even have them think-pair-share before deciding. You could also use your professional judgement as far as guiding students on what they might be experts in..... ;-) I have my students take an overhead or dry-erase marker and just come up a few at a time to sign their names. When they're done, they sit right back down. When everyone has signed up on the sheets, go over them together as a class so students can see who they can go to in each event.

This is not only a great activity to do for having students ask each other for help, but this activity lends itself so well to teambuilding at the beginning of the year. Students will get to know each other in a positive way, and it's really cute to see them encouraging each other, cheering for each other, and eventually, throughout the year, going to each other for help after "looking each other up" in the "phonebook." You could easily incorporate and introduce fun cheers after going over each expert area. In addition, this is a great activity for students to practice recognizing and reading each others' names.

After students have signed up, bind the pages together (you can put them together however you like, but if you are older, you could put them in abc order like the phonebook), and then post The Yellow Pages book somewhere in the room that is accessible to the students (hanging on a hook, posted on the white board, or perhaps bound and placed in the class library in the student-made book section). Have the students then refer to it whenever they need help with something in the classroom! Enjoy, and please let me know if you have any questions! Sorry I don't have any pictures of the students signing up, but here are some pictures below of the document (I don't know what happened to the Super Speller page, but when you download the document it looks fine). To download free from my TPT store, click HERE, or click on any of the pictures below.

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