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

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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

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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

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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)

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