The Magic Hat – Mid-Week Focus – Associative Learning

Hats off to teachers…it’s time for Mid-Week Focus!

Mid-Week Focus is all about quick and easy ways to approach teaching to keep kids on task in any instructional setting.

Let’s share insight and practical ideas. Let’s blend fun with function, and LET’S USE THE POWER OF A CHILD’S ASSOCIATION WITH DELICIOUS TREATS TO TEACH!

Here’s the simple insight…every child loves to eat! Who doesn’t enjoy biting into a sweet frosted cupcake. (If you live and teach in a part of the world where your culture serves up a popular sweet treat other than cupcakes, use the shape of that treat instead for this activity. Read on…)

Here’s the fun and functional idea based on this insight…

“It’s You Choose Day at The Poetry Cafe!”

OPEN UP A POETRY CAFE complete with a Menu Board, like you see in my blog pic here,  and invite your students to MAKE NO-BAKE RHYME TIME CUPCAKES.

Even though kids know that the Poetry Cafe is a writing activity, my experience is testimony to how excited they’ll be with this opportunity.

Opening up a Poetry Cafe kitchen where students are the master chefs puts the power of associative learning to work…the children will be eager to (pretend) to bake up rhyme-time cupcakes because they love to eat the real kind!

You can sense how intent the kids are in my blog pic below.

Children cookin’ up No Bake Rhyme-Time Cupcakes

I’ve given out sheets of pre-printed cupcakes (cupcake shapes are available in teacher supply stores; I glued six cupcakes onto a piece of copy paper to make my master). These children have written their rhymes and cut out the cupcakes. Now they’re coloring the seasonal decorations on the frosting.

Tell your class that you have a recipe with a sequence of steps for them to follow (see below) to make their No-Bake Rhyme-Time Cupcakes.

Post the steps on the “menu” board along with examples of rhyming lines that connect with the current season. Your examples will help kids “jump-start” their own rhymes. Depending on your grade level, encourage less or more lines for the cupcake poems, keeping in mind that the finished poems need to fit inside the cupcake shapes.

My rhymes below suit children in grades 2 – 3 and may serve as brainstorming aids for students in grades 4 – 5. Choose the season that’s best for your community at the time of year you use this activity.

Fall Harvest Rhymes (/ indicates line break)

Fall leaves/Full trees        Candy treats/Nuts, sweets

Colors bold/Orange, gold        Harvest time/Poems rhyme

Black crows/Stiff scarecrows        Halloween/Apple queen

 I love fall/Fun for all

 Spring Rhyme Time (/ indicates line break)

Birds fly/Spring sky        Yummy sweets/Candy treats

Runny nose/Itchy toes        Pies in ovens/Fun with cousins

Spring holiday/Let’s play        Kites in the sky/Fly so high

Good night/Sleep tight

Students’ Recipe for Making No-Bake Rhyme-Time Cupcakes

  1. Set cupcake sheet aside. Use notebook paper for either copying your choice of seasonal rhymes from the “menu” board or making up your own rhyming lines. Write at least two lines (poetic term: couplet). May write as many as three couplets to complete a poem that will fit, in small print, on one side of a cupcake shape.
  2. Re-read and revise, as necessary, to finish rhymes.
  3. Hold up cupcake sheet to the light to see through to the blank (un-decorated) side to see where to re-write the finished rhymes. Mark where to write the rhymes; rewrite them on the blank side of the cupcake sheet.
  4. Color the cupcakes on the front side with seasonal decorations, like pumpkins for fall, etc.
  5. Cut out each cupcake shape to finish the activity. Optional for teachers: laminate the finished cupcake rhymes and post them on a Poetry Cafe Bulletin Board.

These rhyme-time cupcakes look almost good enough to eat!

Using the power of associative learning is an effective strategy for catching and keeping K – 5 kids’ attention.

The children showing their finished Rhyme-Time Cupcakes in my blog pic here spent a solid thirty minutes working on them. They were so excited with their finished cupcakes. Get your class cookin’!

Stop by next Wednesday for more Mid-Week Focus. On Monday Attentionology will be back with more magic.

All the best,

Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet

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