Bucky Balls- Today I used Bucky Balls to demonstrate staying on topic and making connections. It was a simple visual way to work with my students. I introduced the topic by putting the first Bucky Ball (These are tiny, WONDERFUL magnets that pack a lot of magnetic power for their size!) into the glass cylinder. Then every time someone from the group added on to that topic by asking follow up questions, making connecting statements or answering questions, I rolled them a Bucky Ball and they got to put it into the cylinder and watch it magically (or magnetically) connect to the topic. Then if we made statements that did not match up to the topic the kids did not get a magnet. If they made a statement that connected with it but was a broader application to that topic we put the magnet ball on the outside of the glass. This demonstrated that the statement was still connected. Then when the connecting balls outside of the glass got to be three or more we talked about the fact that we had now switched over to the other topic (with good transition from the last topic) and moved the outside balls to the inside of the cylinder.
This was a good way for these students to visualize and actively engage in their understanding! The students in the group were students who were from a developmental cognitive delay classroom. All of the students in the group enjoyed the activity and at the end were fully engaged in trying to add to the magnet string of conversation!