# Fold the Line

Minds in Bloom is happy to present Terri Izatt from KinderKapers with a guest post on the game Fold the Line. We know you’ll love it!

This is an exciting time of year as we are thinking about going back to school and getting to know a new batch of students.  How do we build rapport with all these new little (or not-so-little) people?

One of the best ways to get to know your students is to get them talking.  Get them discussing topics that are relevant to them, and you will gain insights that can impact your teaching the rest of the year.  Getting them to interact and connect with each other will impact their learning, as well.

The game I have for you today is called Fold the Line.  To play this game, you first need to set up a spot for a line…..somewhere in your room, the gym, or outside.  You do need a little bit of space, but you can make almost anyplace work.  The line should be set up as a number line….1-10 or 1-5 (that would be your choice).  You can define your line with a rope, some surveyors tape, a sidewalk, or any long straight line that will help your students “see” where they need to be.  Label your number line with numbered circles, squares, cones, flags, or anything that will help your students know where along the continuum they want to be.

Next you read a statement.  Have the students decide if they agree or disagree with your statement and how strongly they agree or disagree.  Students line up along the line: 1= they agree strongly, 5= they both agree and disagree, 10= they strongly disagree (okay, it would work the opposite way too, just make sure they know which end is agree and which is disagree).

Now comes the tricky part….wherever the middle of the line ends up being, that is where you fold.  If your line tends to be bunched up at one end….don’t worry.  You just want to have about the same number of students on each side of the fold.  Bend the line there at the mid-point, and the students need to walk towards each other.  Ones should end up across from the 10s, and the fours, fives, and sixes are in the middle across from each other, too.

Now comes the fun part…Discussion! Begin with questions that have lots of opinions but are not very controversial.  Those kinds of questions are good for getting to know each other, establishing trust, and learning the rules for a good discussion.

Those ones and 10s need to have lots to talk about.  Choose topics that are relevant to your students and the area in which you live.  The fours, fives, and sixes may have close to the same opinion, but they should still be able to discuss why they think there is both good and bad, right and wrong in the topic.

You can use this teaching strategy to move into statements that are more controversial, local, and important to your students.  Recently, there was a debate going on about whether a new highway should be built across wetlands.  Lots of good chances for students to establish their own opinions (or express the opinions of their parents) and learn to express and defend them politely.  You could give the statement, “Legacy Highway should be built across the Great Salt Lake Wetlands.” They would have to choose how strongly they agreed with that statement.  Line up on the number that corresponds with the strength of their opinion, and then fold the line.  Those that have the most differing opinions would be talking to each other.  Just remember the rules!

You can use this type of discussion at other times with topics that you know will have common misconceptions, like Newton’s third law.  If you push on this table, it pushes back (with equal force).  If you use these types of statements, then be sure to start the discussions before you teach the concept.

Another get to know you discussion game I use is Walk the Line.  This time I pose a question with two possible answers.  “Which do you like best, cats or dogs?”  Students line up on either side of a line according to their answer.  They turn and face each other, walk toward the line, and then discuss.  You can find this game in my TpT store for free.  These questions can be used with Fold the Line, if you change it from a two-choice question to a one-choice statement.

One last activity is Stand Up For Friendship.  You can find this on my Facebook page in the fan freebie section.  In this activity you read a statement like, “I have a baby at my house,” and everyone stands up for whom that statement is true.  It is a great way to see who has things in common with you and with each other.  You can have a discussion about the commonality, if you want (and have the time) to extend the activity.

Get your students talking this year.  Listen to what they say.  Practice the art of conversation.  Then craft your lessons to take advantage of what you, and your students, have learned.

Terri has taught for 28 years while raising four beautiful children, and now she is blessed with 12 wonderful grandchildren. She has taught every grade in K-6, but most of her teaching years have been in 2nd. Recently, she has gone back to Kindergarten and thinks she would love to stay there for a good long time.

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