I always love it when I can find a way to add a little more fun into my classroom.  I like it even better if the way is free!  I found an awesome set of randomizers here.  Today I'd like to share some ways I use this great site in my classroom.

This post shares some great ways to use a (FREE) set of random generators.

There are currently 22 different randomizers on the site.  Here is a sample of how I am using them.

There are a variety of different name pickers you can use.  I selected the one below and filled in values that were +/- multiples of 10/100.  I can assign students a number to write on their dry erase boards.  Next, I tap the SMART Board, and the second part of their equation appears.

Use this free randomizer to generate problems using multiples of 10/100.

I love the random dice option.  You can choose between one and ten dice to roll at once.  This works great for differentiating when you are doing activities like number strings.  After sharing the site with students, they can choose (or you assign) the number of dice to roll and add.

Choose up to 10 dice to role for a variety of fun classroom activities.

I used the random spinner when we were working on action verbs.  I added a variety of different animals on the spinner.  (You can add as many as you want.)  Students spin the wheel, and then they have one minute to brainstorm as many action verbs as they can to go with the animal.

I like putting animals names on this random spinner.  After students spin, they need to list as many related action verbs as they can in one minute.

The claw machine is one of my students' favorites.  I used this one when we were practicing possessive nouns.  The claw grabs a noun, and the students write a sentence using the noun in a possessive form.

Randomly select nouns with this claw machine.  The students will need to use the possessive form of the noun in a sentence.

These pickers could easily replace or enhance the "picking sticks" system.  I like that there is an option to remove words/numbers as you go.  You can also save the link the for each set.  This helps to keep different turn taking systems organized.

I also thought about using these in some whole class games.  I might make it so the amount of points earned is random.  You could also use these for rewards or the type of party the class earns.  There are so many possibilities!  

***There is a paid version to this site which I will likely purchase if I continue to use the site as frequently as I do now.  My understanding is that the upgrade gets rid of all the ads and allows you to organize your randomizers on the site for easy access.  It is only $12 a year, so I'm seriously considering it.  In the meantime, I'm going to continue to enjoy the free version.

I'd love to hear your ideas on how to use this great site.  Please feel free to share below.

This post shares some great ways to use a (FREE) set of random generators.

Thank you!
We recently finished our writing unit on personal narratives.  As with all of my units, I like to take a little time to reflect on what went well, as well as what I would like to do differently.  Today I'd like to share my thoughts and strategies on narrative leads.  We spent quite a bit of time discussing how to compose narrative leads that hook readers.  Overall, I was very pleased with the leads my students used for their narratives.

First, I went back and talked about the leads in several of our past read alouds.  I have used a variety of narratives mentor texts over the years.  The image below shows three of my all time favorites: Thundercake, Bigmama's, and Shortcut.

Mentor texts with strong narrative leads

After going over these leads, we discussed the different strategies authors used to hook their readers.  I gave my students the list below to glue in their notebooks and to use as a reference.   (You can download a copy here.)

These great charts for writing strong leads are perfect for interactive notebooks!  They are a free download on this post.

I also gave them this list to play "Name that Lead".  

Students practice identifying strong narrative leads.  This activity is a free download.

I made two copies of each of the leads below and placed them in various spots around the room.  Students worked with their writing partners to discuss and name the strategy for each lead.  Students placed the number of the lead next to each strategy on the recording sheet above.  Then, I displayed the leads on the SMART Board, and we had a discussion about the different types of leads.  Students weren't always in agreement, but that's okay.  The purpose of this activity was to expose students to the different types of leads and encourage them to apply the strategies to their own personal narratives.  I was not super rigid on coming to a whole class consensus on each lead.  

You can download a copy of "Name that Lead" here.

We will continue to address composing strong leads as we write different genres throughout the year.  One of the things I like best about teaching second grade is the huge growth that I see in my students as writers.  I am looking forward to seeing how they take what we have learned and apply it to future writings. 

I would love to know if you have a favorite mentor text for teaching narrative leads.  I am always on the lookout for great books!

Great resources to help your students compose strong narrative leads!

Thank you!
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