20 follow-up activities for elementary learners

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When learning material for the first time, teachers sometimes forget that children may not understand it right away. They may need your help to come back to it, the time to revise alone or even in a group. Follow-up activities should provide different ways of thinking about the original content while continuing to nudge the conversation in a progressive direction. Here are 20 great follow-up activities for elementary school kids.

1. Vocabulary exams

To read passages that may be a little more difficult for students, have them scan through vocabulary they may not be familiar with. They can write down words they don’t understand or a teacher can give them a vocabulary sheet with definitions to refer to.

2. Thumbs up/thumbs down

This activity is ideal for engagement during the lesson. When reviewing the reading lesson, make certain statements about particular reading passages. If the children agree with the statement, ask them to give you a thumbs up and if they don’t, they can give you a thumbs down.

Find out more: Read Horizons

3. Answer Sheets

Whether you’re reading to children or asking them to do an exercise at home, answer sheets are a great way to assess comprehension. This could also apply to movies. Ask questions to make sure they are paying attention so they can fill in the answers as they go.

4. Gallery visits

When children do an art project related to the interpretation of a work they have seen in school, ask them to show their work. Display the projects around the classroom and allow the children to take a short tour of the art gallery.

Read more: Read rockets

5. Comparison of books and movies

Children love to watch movies in class. When there’s a movie based on book assignment, it’s a good idea to do a comparison chart. You can create a simple table with two columns, one labeling the movie and the other the book. Ask the children to write the differences in the two columns.

6. Interpretation essays

Asking children to rate the theme of a book can be tricky, but it’s often the biggest indicator of how they interpreted the reading passages. You can give them a list of themes to choose from to make things easier.

7. Character Experts

Assign each child a character to study and present in class. They can talk about their background or the symbolism behind the specific character. You can give them prompts to respond or let them create their own presentation.

8. Book Reports

These aren’t always the most fun for kids, but summarizing books is a great way to gauge understanding of an assignment. Ask the children to complete different books by choosing something they would like to read from a list or a class library.

9. The Exit of the Monsters

This cute ticket featuring cute monsters lets kids express how they feel at the end of a lesson. They can choose between “confused, a lot of questions or I understood”. It’s a great way to track each child’s feelings individually.

Read more: Teach Starter

10. 3-2-1 Feedback

Allow the children to list three things they learned from the lesson, two fun facts they enjoyed, and one thing they still have questions about. This allows the teacher to assess whether the questions are similar and to assess what learners do not understand.

Read more: Teach Starter

11. Draw it

Sometimes words aren’t for everyone. Letting kids creatively express what they’ve learned by drawing a picture is a fun way to change it up. They can, of course, label or write something outside of the drawing or articulate it to the class afterwards.

12. Buddy

Children working together is a skill to be learned in itself. But what children can learn from each other is invaluable. Assign children to a particular task and have them work together to understand the meaning of a passage or book.

13. Sticky Notes Board

Take three different colors of sticky notes and give one to each child. One should be for questions, one for a concept they understand, and one they feel unsure about. Allow the children to place the sticky notes in the section drawn on the board.

Read more: Teach Starter

14. Become the author

Not everyone is going to like all parts of a story. Let the children talk or write what they would change in the story. This emphasizes understanding and gives them a creative avenue to work on their literacy.

15. Venn Diagram Fun

Ask the children to compare two characters, two books or two themes with a Venn diagram. It’s a great way to compare similarities and differences to understand each book or assignment. If you find the children struggling, you can include some clues at the bottom to place in each section rather than having learners fill in the blanks unaided.

16. Class Guest

If you read a book on a particular subject, who better to come and talk about it than an expert themselves? For example, a book about firefighters or the police – bring one of them to speak to the class.

Read more: Read rockets

17. And today?

Some important pieces of literature are outdated, but nonetheless super important to read to know our history. Older children can compare older books to today’s work and explain how things are.

18. Debates

Having debates in class is always fun. Rather, it is an exercise in speaking and critical thinking. Assign a question or topic to the pairs and let them come to class and discuss the interpretation of such a topic. You can also give them vocabulary to read and become familiar with.

Learn more: Bridge.edu

19. Put on a play

Choosing important scenes from the book or movie to re-enact as a group is never a bad idea. You can even assign different skits from the book to different groups to keep things exciting. You can give them scripts to play or allow them to have full creative control.

20. Choose the next book

Let children choose the next book based on their thoughts and feelings about the current passage. Explain why they chose their book and what it does or does not have to do with the previous task they were working on.

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Richard V. Johnson