True/False Pencil Challenge

From Sean:
Students pair up and lay a pencil between both of them. Teacher says a statement. If the statement is true, students try to grab the pencil first. It’s best to demonstrate this activity with two volunteers in the front of the room first.



11 thoughts on “True/False Pencil Challenge”

  1. Please pardon the brevity of my description. And I forget where I got it from. I remember seeing a video of a teacher doing it on the IFLT/NTPRS Facebook page, or somewhere.
    But the act of grabbing the pencil is exciting for kids. And they can do it in a safe space with a peer they know well. I’m surprised how long you can make this activity last and how often you can do it.

    1. When I saw you teach Sean, I noticed that you like to keep students actively doing something with their bodies. You used the master of gestures while reading. I thought that was so cool.

      1. I do love me some TPR and Readers Theater kinda stuff… always looking for an opportunity to turn the dialogue into action. This could be to my detriment. Perhaps I need to trust more letting students relax and soak in the language without having to do much of anything but show eye contact.. Then again, I doubt I’m the only one noticing that my students have a hard time keeping still and quite AND alert for long periods of time.
        It’s a goal of mine to incorporate more mindfulness or meditation breaks for semester 2. Especially for those afternoon classes where, as I heard from an NPR interview on the radio last week with an author that recently published a book about it, our brains shut down. It’s proven. Multiple research studies have shown. Our brains pick up again around 4 or 5 pm.
        Anyways, thanks for the compliment, Steven.

        1. One of my 100 minute long afternoon classes has asked, twice now, to sit on the floor and let me guide them through some meditation. I admit, I have fun with it and make them laugh and stuff, especially when we chant, “Ooooohhhhmmmmmmmmm.” But I need to think of more ways to do this. I know not every class will sit on the floor. Perhaps I can pick up some low level benches or something. I think having students sit on or close to the floor is a crucial part in these mindfulness activities where we are working on letting the brain rest. To get out of the desk chair and occupy a different space in the room, from a different angle.

          1. Sean just watch out for parents who think you are doing weird hippy stuff. You can actually teach them a language using neurolinguistic programming/Suggestopia, but you never know what parents are going to pitch a fit to the administration. Just sayin’. I know jen does it too and mindfulness awareness is a critical needs area in our schools right now. But there are those who don’t want their kids in such a classroom.

          2. Good reminder, Ben. I’m grateful for how much our parents support the teachers at my school. You know, we have a very large 1st and 2nd generation immigrant population from Mexico and Africa mostly.
            And my admin are very supportive of mindfulness breaks. My instructional coach was saying, “We want students to rest their brains but not fall asleep at some point during the long block classes.” Amen!

          3. Sean when I first did mindfulness training and visualization techniques, which I used as a coach but also in class, there was a mildly critical and mistrusting vibe from those few parents that always mistrust everything in schools. That was in the 1980’s. I would have thought that we would have progressed by now into a complete acceptance of such research-based initiatives for the mental well being of ours students. But it has only gotten more mistrustful. I am surprised. I thought we were supposed to get better over time.

          4. So, looks like we can pair up mindfulness practices with TCI in this regard, this mistrust or diversion people have.

        1. It is a good game. I played it for the first time yesterday with both my 6th and 7th graders. They loved it. Today, my 2nd period class just asked to play it again. Sometimes, the simple things are what work the best. Thanks for sharing, Sean!

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