Some students seem to drift from activity to activity without a purpose. They scan the room, find something of interest, look at or touch it briefly, and move on to something else in a matter of seconds. Sometimes they just leave it as they found it, but usually they dump it before moving on.
I have found that putting the pieces of an activity in container, along with picture cues of the sequence to make or do something with the pieces, can be just what the child needs to spark an interest in actually staying with the activity. Many learning activities in the classroom work well with this strategy. For example, put a puzzle with the pieces already out and a picture sequence of a way to put it back together in a container. Model how to use the pictures as a guide. This can be used as an early reading skill, scanning from left to right and top to bottom.
Once your students understand that the picture cards are to help guide them with completing the activity, you should see more time spent on the task and less time spent on dumping and cleaning up. Who wouldn’t want that for their students and their sanity??
One of my favorite picture sequence activities is with Mr. Potato Head. Once the child understands how to use the pictures, you can make it more complex.
Have fun coming up with activities using picture cues and send me the ideas that you come up with. This is a community of teachers and we can all use new ideas!!