Frequently Asked Questions About Pop The Balloon!
You asked all the things about my favorite small group game, Pop The Balloon… and I answered! I created my favorite guided reading warmup activities, Pop The Balloon!, in 2016. It began as a guided reading game and then evolved into guided math and even became digital! It can be a difficult game to explain so I’m answering all the questions I’ve received about it in the past five years in this post!
First, I want to explain why I created this game. I felt frazzled every time I sat down at a guided reading group. As teachers, you know how hard it is to get your lesson plans finished, let alone also guided reading plans! I was desperately needing ways to create a routine in guided reading and a way to begin the group that students would know immediately how to do. By incorporating a game that we play during the first five minutes of the group, students were successfully practicing skills while I could settle into the group and do a quick scan of the entire class while they settled into their reading centers.
Question: How do you play?
Answer: Guided reading warmup activities are perfect to use for the first five minutes of your small group. Your student will have a card. They will read the words or sounds in the bubbles. They start at the bottom and work their way to the top. Once they say all of them correctly and are at the top, they can clap their hands together and say, “Pop!” That was an added fun thing my kids did!
Question: When do you play?
Answer: I typically play the game as a warm-up for my guided reading group. I use it for the first five minutes. I lay the cards in a pile in the middle of our guided reading table and students grab cards as needed. While they’re doing this, I’m getting settled into our group, while also scanning the room to make sure the rest of my class is getting settled and started with their reading centers. I also might take a sip of coffee gasp.
Question: How do you organize these?
Answer: I use this small drawer organizer that I bought at Michaels. Each set has a cover and the drawers also have a label. I’ve also seen people put them on binder rings to store!
Question: In the bundle, I see that there are blends, etc. Are there words included? Or just the blends themselves for fluency?
Answer: Each reading set includes cards with only sounds and cards with words. This has been updated within the past few years to include both.
Question: Do you print several copies for each child in your groups or do they share?
Answer: I print one set of the cards. I place all the cards in the middle of the small group table so students can grab what they need.
Question: Can you make these editable or with a blank card?
Answer: I get this question a lot and I’m so sorry, but I won’t be making these editable or with a blank card.
Question: Is It Digital?
Answer: Yes, there is a digital version available. It is not quite the same, but students drag the matching picture to the word or vice versa. It is available on Google Slides and Seesaw. You can find it here.
Download a free version
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Related Post: Why You Need A Guided Reading Warm-Up