Checkout & Choices with 3-5
I see each of our 3rd-5th grade classes for an hour once every five days. While they are able to maintain focus for longer than our primary students, I still want to give them some time during our class to choose their own activities. My colleague @pam_zoller mentioned that she frames the time at the end of these classes "Checkout & Choices". We've tried it this year and it has been working well for our students. Depending on the lesson, this ends up occupying the last 15-25 minutes of our class. I use the timer on classroomscreen.com to keep us on track, always leaving time for clean up at the end.
Students are asked to first spend time choosing the books they'd like to check out. I use the time for individual reader's advisory, check-ins, and observing what books students gravitate toward, as well as noticing when they search for a topic and can't find it in our library. After that, students are welcome to read or choose their activity. We keep these activities on a cart that we can easily roll in and out of our workroom. We roll it out at the beginning of the day for 5th, 4th and 3rd grade classes, then roll in back in at lunch when kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd visit. We currently have available: Legos, Keva Planks with Brain Builder cards, iO Blocks, Plus Plus, Brain Flakes, balancing rocks, stacking dinosaurs, matchstick puzzles, coloring, drawing, origami, Rush Hour, Sorry, chess, checkers, Cat Crimes, and Spot It!