Snowball is definitely one of many easy ELL strategies to use in your classroom. Your English Language Learners will love it! Consequently, you will have your ELL students listening, speaking, reading, and writing so quickly! Even more all your students enjoy it. So how do you use it?
How to Use
What Teachers Say Using Snowball With Students
Used with Literacy
My students were very excited to participate in the snowball activity during literacy time. Each student was given a question about the fiction passage we had been reading. There were questions about theme, character, setting, and problem and solution. Students answered independently at their desks. Once everyone had completed their question, they came back to the carpet and formed a large circle. Next, I counted down and students threw their snowball into the middle of our circle. One at a time students chose a new snowball from the middle and read the question and answer out loud to their classmates.
How it Helped
Reading another student’s snowball took the pressure off of having to read their own answers and possibly being wrong. This provided us an opportunity to participate in academic discourse to discuss whether or not we agreed with the answers. One thing I would change is to make sure I didn’t have too many repeat questions. Once students had heard a question more than once, they were no longer interested in the answer.
From a Third Grade Teacher
I used the Snowball activity two different ways. First way, I asked the students to write down a strategy that they thought they did not do well with and why. They threw the snowball. The other person had to respond by stating how they were able to make the strategy a strength. (Students were grouped by the teacher according to data collected–strengths/weaknesses.) This was a great way to get them to evaluate themselves and others. The only drawback was I had to assist some students with their self-evaluation. Most students already knew their weakness.
Another way I used the activity was as a review of standards before a test. Each group consisted of 3-4 students. Each student was given a question stem in which they had to write an explanation about what they had to do as a reader in order to answer the question correctly. Students then,threw the snowballs and responded.
Let me know in the comments if you try this with your ELLS! This is one of many ELL strategies you will enjoy with your English Language Learners. Be on the lookout for other amazing ways to elevate your ELLS!