This or That Questions for Kids in Would You Rather Style

This or That Questions for Kids to Build Classroom Community

Looking to build a strong classroom community this new school year? "This or that" and "Would You Rather" style questions are just what you need to engage your students in classroom discussions each day!

"This or that" questions are a simple yet powerful tool for fostering a sense of community in upper elementary classrooms. They present students with two options to choose from, such as "Would you rather read a book or watch a movie?" These questions encourage students to share their own opinions, spark conversations, and help them discover common interests. 

Incorporating "this or that" questions into your daily routine can create an engaging and inclusive classroom environment where every student feels valued and connected. Engaging with "This or that" and "Would You Rather" style questions will not only begin to build a strong sense of classroom community from the first day of the school year, but it will also keep your community going strong all year long!

Not sure how to get started? I have five simple and easy ways to bring "this or that" questions into your classroom to elevate the level of discussion! With the rise of technology and tablets, our students can definitely use some guided practice on how to hold a conversation with their peers.

💡Back to School Getting to Know You Idea...

This or that questions are perfect for the whole year but especially fun for a back-to-school getting-to-know-you activity! That is why I am sharing this bonus tip first! Use "this or that" style, or would you rather questions in a back-to-school carousel! 

Here is how...

Use "this or that" back-to-school task cards and attach them to a large piece of anchor chart paper. You can also handwrite "this or that" questions on top of each anchor chart paper. Hang about 5 or 6 anchor charts with "this or that"  questions around the room. Put your students in small groups and have them rotate through all the chart paper questions. 

Set the timer for 3-5 minutes for each station stop. during that time, have students read the question, discuss their opinions, and jot down which they prefer on the chart paper. When the bell rings, have the kids rotate. You can also have kids "cast their opinion/vote" by putting a tally under one of the choices. Don't end there; bring the class back together to chat about the different questions.

1. Start the Morning with a Slide

back to school this or that questions morning meeting

Use "this or that" question slides as part of your morning work or morning meeting routine. Use one a day, or select one day a week and do several question slides at once. Using these types of conversation starters each morning is a great way to welcome kids to school, have them engage in conversations with each other, and set a positive tone for the school day.

2. Get Them Moving with a Question - Brain Breaks

You can use "this or that" question slides as a brain break game. Use a few at once and have kids sit or stand based on their responses. If the question is "hamburger or hot dog" use visual cues so students know what to do. Hamburger = sit Hot Dog = stand. 

You can use other cues, too, like these ideas:

  • sit or stand
  • thumbs up or thumbs down
  • hold up one finger or two fingers
  • snap fingers or clap hands
  • walk to two different corners of the classroom

3. Partner Up with Some Task Cards

Back to school this or that questions task cards first day of school activity

Our students need help learning how to engage in conversations with their peers, and "this or that" slides are just the way to give them that practice. Use "this or that" questions as team-building activities that promote good conversation skills. Pair students up or have them work in small groups. Have them discuss their choices and then share with the larger group. This can help students practice communication skills and learn to appreciate different perspectives. 

Don't forget to teach students how to have a conversation with their peers! I always need to teach students how to face each other and make eye contact when talking. They also benefit from instruction and reminders on how to respond to each other's ideas. Once you teach and go over this several times at the beginning of the year, they will get the hang of it! This is especially important since so many kids are on tablets and machines and seem to be losing interpersonal skills.

Grab the free student discussion guide and a list of ten "this or that" questions to get started!

4. Think, Share, Write

back to school this or that getting to know you slides and task cards

Using "this or that" questions and the discussions that follow are a great way to foster brainstorming for different writing assignments.

Weaving in "This or That" questions into opinion writing is a fun way to get kids excited about expressing themselves. Start with easy choices, like "Cats or Dogs?" and have students pick one. Then, encourage them to explain why they made their choice. This helps kids practice giving reasons for their opinions. Plus, it's a great way for everyone to share their thoughts and get to know each other better. After using several of these types of questions as discussion starters, begin to give students lined paper to write their responses. 

💡Try this teaching tip: group kids by similar opinions and have them write together.

5. Transition Time Management

Use "this or that" questions in your classroom during transition times. This helps students stay engaged and focused between activities throughout the day. Don't forget to engage students in conversation after sharing each slide or any this or that question. You can use these slides and transition idea as an incentive by having kids get ready for the next task BEFORE you do some "this or that" questions. To make sure the conversation stays short, set the timer!

Ready to give it a try?

Bringing "This or That" and "Would You Rather" questions into your classroom routine sets the stage for a welcoming and positive classroom learning environment. These simple questions not only make for engaging discussion starters but also build a sense of community and improve students’ conversation skills. From morning meetings to brain breaks and writing exercises, these questions can be seamlessly integrated into various parts of the school day. 

Get creative with how you use them, and watch as your classroom becomes a place where every student feels heard and connected. 

Looking for no prep "This or That" slides? Head HERE!

back to school this or that slides or game upper elementary

                     LOVE these ideas? Pin to save!

This or That Questions for Kids to Build Classroom Community

*affiliate links: “Think Grow Giggle is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.” (source: Section 5)


All About Me Activity Ideas for Kids in Upper Elementary

All About Me Activity Ideas for Kids in Upper Elementary

Welcome to a new school year, upper elementary teacher friends! The best way to kick off the year is with "About Me" activities, and yes, for your big kids in upper elementary!

As we gear up to meet our new students, one powerful tool can set a positive tone for the months ahead: "About Me" activities. These engaging and insightful activities are not just icebreakers but foundational for building meaningful connections. 

By giving students the opportunity to share their stories, interests, and aspirations, we create a classroom environment rich in trust and mutual respect. Investing time in these activities at the start of the year helps us better understand our students, fosters strong relationships and cultivates a sense of community where every student feels valued and understood.

These "About Me" activities are my go-to for kicking off the school year! Be sure to read to the bottom for a teacher tip you will definitely want to try this year!

1.  Apple Acrostic Poetry 

about me acrostic poems for 3rd 4th 5th graders

Get to know your students as individuals and celebrate your class community by having your students create these all about me acrostic name apple poems! You will love how unique each apple comes out when you create your "New Crop of Students" bulletin board!

💡Teacher Idea: We LOVE celebrating our names at the start of each school year with this apple acrostic activity! This activity also pairs well with picture books that also celebrate names! Read this post and try one of these books!

2. All About Me Poster

about me posters for 3rd 4th 5th graders

These are some of our favorite first-week-of-school activities! The kids love sharing a bit about themselves as they fill in, decorate, and complete an all-about-me poster! These posters make an adorable display and give each student some talking points about themselves that they can share during morning meetings during the first few weeks of school. You will love the informal assessment information you can gather as your students write and draw as they create their posters!

3. Snapshots of My Life

about me snapshot posters for 3rd 4th 5th graders

I love seeing students' snapshots of their lives when they complete these posters! The best part about these posters is that they are filled with memories, people, and different things that make them unique! Add these posters to your students' writing notebooks to serve as a brainstormed list of different things your students can write about during any personal narrative unit!

💡Teacher Idea: Another related about me poster that makes a great brainstorming task that is perfect for student notebooks or a class display are these all about me letters! Your kids will love them, and you will love how handy they are when they are added to your students' notebooks!

Grab this activity for free!

4. Me as a Book Character

about me as a book character for 3rd 4th 5th graders

These character all about me posters are so much fun, especially if you teach reading! For this fun twist on an all-about-me activity,  your students will create themselves as a book character! These posters are a fun display, but also help you get to know your students thought about themselves and their experiences with books, too. These are fun to display and perfect to pull back out when you begin to dive into your character study unit!

5. About Me Bag

about me bag activity for 3rd 4th 5th graders

Your kids will love creating an about-me bag this back-to-school season! For this about me activity, you can invite your students to bring items about themselves that fit into a brown paper bag, or you can illustrate the three items on a poster page. For this task, have students select three things they love or feel represent them. Again, this can be used as a brainstorming task for students to write about during the first few weeks of school. 

For a fun twist on this activity, you can turn it into an inference game. Instead of students telling the kids the three things in their bag, they can have kids guess what it is in the bag based on clues the students share. Here is an example.

1. A soccer ball is in my bag! I love playing goalie on the Hornets Team. My summer team won the summer tournament. I practice three times a week with my team. We have a net in my backyard, so I practice with my brothers, too! I wear #8. Soccer is my favorite sport!

2. I have something that represents an activity that I love to do! I use this item to practice and kick around, trying to score in a large net. You may think that it is a sport that you can play with your hands and feet, but for this sport, you can only use your feet. Unless you are the goalie, like me! What is in my bag?

6. Don't Forget About Math!

about me math activities 3rd 4th graders

Most About Me activities focus on reading, writing, and art-based activities. However, you can bring math into the equation with tasks designed to help your students share about their math selves! The kids love to draw themselves as mathematicians, which makes an adorable display. With these Math About Me activities, you can get to know your students' math abilities and how they feel about math right from the first day of school!

💡Try this teacher tip!

Don't forget how important celebrating students and building community activities are to do all year long! While it is important to do about me activities during the first two weeks of school, they are just as important to do all year long! So grab this About Me Pack, select a few about me activities to do their first few weeks of school, and then save some to use once a month throughout the course of the school year!

As we embark on another exciting new school year, let's embrace the power of "About Me" activities to build a foundation of trust and mutual respect in our classrooms.  These activities do more than just break the ice; they create a supportive environment where every student feels valued and understood. By dedicating time to listening to our students' stories, interests, and future dreams, we foster strong relationships and cultivate a sense of community that will thrive throughout the year. 

Wishing you a wonderful new school year!

Looking for print-and-go "About Me" Activities designed especially for upper elementary? Head HERE!

about me bulletin board display 3rd 4th 5th graders

                   LOVE these ideas? Pin to save!
All About Me Activity Ideas for Kids in Upper Elementary

*affiliate links: “Think Grow Giggle is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.” (source: Section 5)


Teaching 6 Types of Syllables Rules to Upper Elementary

Teaching 6 types of Syllables Rules to Upper Elementary

No matter how many years you have been teaching, you are probably hearing a lot about the science of reading and explicit phonics instruction. One area of phonics instruction that you should include in your upper elementary classroom is teaching students to understand syllables

If you are like me, you touched on syllables, often clapping out syllables in words, but did not really understand why you were teaching it or it did not have a real place in your scope and sequence. I definitely spent many years teaching students to clap or hold their chin to feel syllable movement. Once I did that a few times, I figured I covered syllables, and that was that. Boy, was I wrong to stop there! 

Direct syllable instruction is just as important with upper elementary students as it is with our youngest beginning readers. Incorporating syllable instruction into your teaching equips students with essential skills that enhance their overall literacy development. It's a game-changer for upper elementary students!

Read this short, quick, and to-the-point blog post to learn all the benefits of bringing direct syllable instruction into your upper elementary classroom!

Why Should I Teach Syllable Rules to Students?

1. Improves Decoding Skills

6 types of syllables rules science of reading upper grades

Students who understand syllable rules can break down unfamiliar words into smaller, manageable parts. This makes it easier for them to decode and read new words, including multisyllabic words, accurately and fluently.

2. Enhances Spelling Abilities

Syllable knowledge gives students a framework for understanding how words are structured, which helps them spell words correctly and recognize patterns in word formation. Using the patterns that they learn helps them write more fluently, spending less time getting stuck on spelling.

3. Supports Reading Comprehension

When students can decode words more easily, they can focus more on comprehension. Recognizing syllable patterns allows for more fluent reading, leading to a better grasp of the text. Being able to decode quickly makes reading more enjoyable because students are spending less time decoding every other word.

4. Boosts Vocabulary Development

word of the week vocabulary activities science of reading

Knowing syllable rules helps students decode and understand more complex words, which expands their vocabulary. This is crucial as they encounter more challenging texts across different subjects in the upper grades.

💡Teacher Tip: Adding a word of the week activity into your daily routine is a great way to increase vocabulary, practice syllabication, and strengthen reading comprehension.

👉 Grade 3 Word of the Week Routine

👉 Grade 4 Word of the Week Routine

5. Promotes Confidence and Independence

Mastering syllable rules gives students the tools to approach new words on their own, boosting their confidence in reading and writing. This independence is key to lifelong learning and literacy skills.

Incorporating direct syllable instruction into your teaching practice is not just beneficial—it's transformative! By understanding and applying syllable rules, your students will improve their decoding skills, enhance their spelling abilities, and support their reading comprehension. Additionally, this knowledge will boost their vocabulary development and foster confidence and independence in their literacy journey. 

Whether you are a seasoned teacher or just starting out, focusing on syllables will equip your students with the tools they need for successful reading and writing. So, let's make syllable instruction a cornerstone of our classrooms, setting our students up for a lifetime of literacy success.

Looking for an easy-to-use poster display for syllable rules? Head HERE.

six syllable rule list and poster upper grades science of reading

                    LOVE these ideas? Pin to save!

Teaching 6 types of Syllables Rules to Upper Elementary

*affiliate links: “Think Grow Giggle is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.” (source: Section 5)


9 Classroom Management Strategies and Ideas Upper Elementary Teachers

9 Classroom Management Strategies and Ideas For Upper Elementary Teachers

Looking for classroom management tips and strategies that work to keep your upper elementary students engaged and thriving? These tried-and-true management strategies are just what you need!

Managing a classroom is the backbone of an effective learning environment, especially with upper elementary students. A well-run classroom boosts academic success and nurtures social and emotional growth. You can create a peaceful and productive space by building strong relationships with your students, fostering a positive classroom community, and establishing clear procedures. Working towards common goals, setting high expectations, using callbacks, implementing voice-level posters, and encouraging kindness are key elements that transform your classroom into a place where every student feels valued and motivated.

Read on to learn practical tips to help you instill a positive sense of community-building classroom management and ensure a supportive and engaging educational experience for all.

What are some classroom management strategies used by the teacher?

1. Build Relationships with Your Students

about me activities for back to school 3rd 4th 5th grade

Building relationships with your students is always the number one way to have a well-run classroom. The old saying that kids will work hard if they like you and think you like them is completely spot on. It is easy to build relationships with students in genuine ways. Building relationships involves showing genuine interest in their lives, creating a supportive and inclusive classroom environment, and establishing consistent communication. 

This can be achieved by engaging in one-on-one conversations, actively listening to their concerns, and celebrating their achievements. Encouraging collaboration through morning meetings and fostering a sense of community helps students feel valued and respected. Maintaining a positive and approachable demeanor and setting clear classroom rules and expectations while being fair cultivates trust and respect, making students more comfortable and open to learning.

One way to build relationships is to get to know your students right from day one! You can have them complete interest inventories, do a variety of ice breakers, and complete "about me" activities to help you get to know them and their interests right from the start of the year! Throughout the year, you can keep in touch with students on a personal level by writing them motivational note cards to celebrate any small accomplishment they have had!

💡Try this pro-teacher tip: Grab these ten "about me" activities, but only use a few during the first few weeks of school. Save the rest, and complete one a month to continue to celebrate each student!

Add this to your classroom management toolbox:

🧰About Me Activities

2. Build a Positive Classroom Community

classroom community building bulletin board for back to school

Building a strong classroom community is definitely my jam! There is nothing more important to me than to make my classroom feel like a team and a family. It is easier to manage the classroom when students genuinely care for each other and cheer each other on. Not sure how to get started? I can help! Head to the blog posts below to learn more about how you can build a strong classroom community to help have a well-managed classroom!

💡Read about building community HERE.

💡Read about these community-building picture books HERE.

Add this to your classroom management toolbox:

🧰Community Building Bundle

🧰FREE Team Building Posters

3. Have Clear Procedures

back to school procedure slides for management

The best procedure to go over during the first week of school is the procedure of going over all the procedures! I make a joke, but seriously, you can never spend enough time reviewing and practicing the all.of.the.procedures! 

I love to make a slideshow of all of our classroom procedures. This is a great way to teach and practice all of your expectations and procedures for how the classroom runs. Having a procedure slideshow on hand is also great to pull back out when your students need a refresher on your classroom procedures and expectations. We review the information on the slideshow when we return to school after a long break. 

💡Try this pro-teacher tip: Print out the slides to create a book of how your classroom operates. Have your students sign the last page as a class contract. Add this book to your sub bin so that any guest teacher understands how the classroom runs and your procedures. 

Add this to your classroom management toolbox:

🧰Procedure Slideshow

4. Work Towards a Common Goal

whole class positive behavior incentive and rewards

I love creating a positive classroom community that celebrates teamwork. While students are certainly responsible for their behavior and choices as individuals, I have found that they make better choices when they work together as a team towards a common goal or reward. That is why I use a simple color challenge behavior system as a quick, easy, and visual way to keep track of the class' behavior as a whole. The kids love it, and I love how simple it is to use. Simply print and grab a crayon!

It is as easy as 1-2-3!

  1. Set up the expectations that you want your students to work towards. It can just be focused on following the classroom rules or on one idea, like working quietly.
  2. Decide on a whole class reward that students earn and can do together.{Like bonus recess or PJ Day}
  3. Print the coloring page and keep track of their amazing behavior!

Each time your students display one of the expectations you decided on, color in a piece on the page. Once the whole page is colored in, the class earns the reward! I have been using this color-tracking behavior plan for the last few years to monitor student behavior, and it works! The kids love working together to get a piece of the coloring page colored in. Remember to be consistent! Consistency is key in keeping students motivated to work together each day.

Add this to your classroom management toolbox:

🧰Whole Class Management System

5. Have High Expectations

You have heard it before, and it is thrive with structure! Kids love to be in an organized and structured classroom with clear expectations and behavior standards. It truly makes students feel safe and valued. So here is your reminder to always expect the best from your students, have high expectations for behavior, and hold students accountable for completing quality work at all times!

 Remember that consistency is key to running a well-managed classroom. When it comes to your classroom rules and expectations: share them, post them, review them often, and hold your students accountable.

9 Classroom Management Strategies and Ideas For Upper Elementary Teachers

6. Have a Call-Back

Having a call-back method is so important! It calls the kids back to you and helps them focus on important directions and expectations. I usually stick to the same three or four all year, but you can mix it up throughout the year based on popular or holiday phrases. If you are just getting started, I suggest trying one of the ideas below. 

This is one of the first things that I teach on the first day of school. You will have to practice it with your students during the first week; after that, it will become automatic for you and your students! If you want to have some fun with this AND include students in the decision-making process, ask them for their ideas! It is a great way for the students to take ownership of their classroom management. If you need some ideas to get started, try these:

Teacher: If you are listening, clap twice!  Students: Clap, Clap

Teacher: Class, class! Students: Yes, yes!

Teacher: 1,2,3 eyes on me! Students: 1,2 eyes on you!

Change it up! You can use trending phrases and seasonal ideas to keep your callbacks exciting and fresh. For example, during the Halloween season we do Hocus Pocus Time to Focus!

7. Voice Level Posters

voice level chart posters upper elementary

Have you tried using voice-level posters? What I especially love about voice-level posters is that they create a sense of respect for other students. We learn at the beginning of the year that we all learn in different ways; some of us need a quiet working environment. Using different voice levels throughout the day ensures that our students get what we need.

Voice Level Charts are easy to use! Simply create four or five levels like this one and have a large clip to identify the level of voice the kids should use for any given activity. The voice expectations change throughout the day, and to show what voice level you expect for any given task, simply move the clip to a different level. 

Once I started displaying a voice level chart in my classroom, I noticed these improvements:

✅Increase in student focus.

✅Increase in students' ability to self-monitor.

✅Increase in positive student behavior with substitutes.

✅We accomplished more each day!

Add this to your classroom management toolbox:

🧰Voice Level Chart Posters

8. Always Have Something on Hand

fast finisher coloring activities for upper elementary classrooms

Another way to make sure that your classroom is always managed is by having something for them to do when they finish their work. You do not need a fancy display or fast finisher section in your classroom; you just have to have a clear expectation and something on hand for them to do! In fact, the simpler you keep it, the better!

I use the same three things all year long for students to do when they are done. Sure, I mix it up with fun, critical thinking packs during holidays or with each new season but on a day-to-day basis, the kids in my room know that when they are done with an activity, they must...

✅Check their work.

✅Finish any work that is in their unfinished work folder.

✅Read a book OR complete a coloring activity.

Coloring activities that we love are Doodle Thinkers and Color by Code. They are both engaging ways to keep the kids critically thinking in a well-managed way. Color by Codes are great because students self-correct their work by coloring the image based on the review questions that they are asked. Doodle Thinkers allow the kids to color the images in any way they want and provide visual brainstorming to help students complete the related writing tasks.

I stick to these three things because they are important, do not require extra materials on their desk, and are independent, quiet tasks. This means that the classroom environment stays intact while other students finish their assignments.

Add this to your classroom management toolbox:

🧰 Color by Code for the Year

🧰 Doodle Thinkers for the Year

9. Encourage and Promote Kindness

kindness class rules posters for classroom management

It may sound simple, but it is not. I have found that over the past few years, kids have to be taught how to be kind. You must model kindness, call out students when you see them being kind, schedule time in your week to talk about kindness and bring kindness into your morning meeting. 

As with any classroom rule or expectation, remember to hang up your kindness rules and expectations and discuss them so that you can hold students accountable for being kind!

💡Read about how I bring kindness into the classroom HERE.

💡Read about these kindness-themed picture books HERE.

Add this to your classroom management toolbox:

🧰 Kindness Classroom Rules

🧰 Kindness Alphabet and Bulletin Board

By implementing these classroom management strategies, you'll create a thriving environment where your upper elementary students can succeed both academically and emotionally. Building strong relationships, fostering a positive community, and having clear procedures are just the beginning. When you set high expectations, use callbacks, display voice-level posters, and encourage kindness, you're setting the stage for a classroom where every student feels valued and motivated. 

These tried-and-true tips will help you master classroom management, ensuring a supportive and engaging learning experience for your students all year long!

Looking for an easy-to-implement whole-class management system? Head HERE.

whole class positive behavior incentive template upper elmentary

                    LOVE these ideas? Pin to save!

9 Classroom Management Strategies That Work and Are Easy to Implement

*affiliate links: “Think Grow Giggle is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.” (source: Section 5)

Back to Top