This weekend I was sitting with my family at a restaurant as we were celebrating the Saturday basketball games. My daughter started tearing pieces off the children’s menu. As we started to reprimand her, she informed us she was creating a cootie catcher, also know as an origami fortune teller. I helped her fold the corners, and she eagerly wrote down the messages inside. We then took turns giving playing with the cootie catcher to hear our fortunes or specified descriptions of ourselves. Through lots of laughter, my daughter felt a sense of pride, and we were entertained.
The cootie catcher is a simple gimmick that enthralls people of all ages. It is a tool that can be used in elementary, middle, and secondary schools, and it can also be used at conferences. Last week, I attended the AcceleratED and IntegratED Conferences in Portland. During one of the sessions facilitated by Carolyn Kirschmann, the cootie catcher was used as a warm-up to get adults talking to one another. It reminded me of a time I used cootie catchers as a way to introduce an ELA activity in class. Regardless of how it is used,
Regardless of how it is used, movement can be applied to get students, and adults, talking to one another. During the workshop I attended last week, half of the attendees received a cootie catcher and the other half did not. Attendees were instructed to stand up and find someone with a cootie catcher. Pairs went through the motions and answered questions to help them get to know each other. We continued for a couple of minutes switching partners multiple times. Not only did attendees get to move, but the also were able to use a manipulative to engage.
This can be used the same way in the classroom, or different categories and discussion questions can be printed on the cootie catcher to either review or spark larger inquiry. This can be used in any classroom, and once it has been introduced, students can be in charge of creating their own questions for future uses.