SillyBandz, those little rubber band like bracelets that hold their shapes after you wear them, may seem really silly but kids are crazy about them. Some schools banned Silly Bandz, arguing that they are a distraction. The biggest thing I don’t like about Silly Bandz is the same thing I dislike about Barney the purple dinosaur; that I didn’t think of it myself.
My kids have fallen into the SillyBandz craze too. I decided if there were going to be hundreds of them in my house and on my children’s wrists, they might as well make themselves useful.
I started thinking about how SillyBandz could be used in an educational way and how I could use my children’s love of SillyBandz to inspire learning.
Because SillyBandz are purchased in themed packets, they are a perfect tool for language lessons.
SillyBandz are often found in small packages of 12 for around $1.99. You can also find larger packages such as 48 in a pack at super stores like Wal-Mart for $8.99. They can be ordered online from the original, SillyBandz.com.
Some examples of theme packets of Silly Bandz that could be useful for writing lessons:
The Holiday pack comes with 24 shapes including Snowflake, Santa, Elf, Dove, Snowman, and Christmas tree.
The Gulf pack (sponsoring the Gulf oil spill clean up) features 24 sea animal shapes including Coral, Dolphins, Crawfish, Sea Turtles, Pelicans, and Sea Gulls
The Rainforest pack includes 24 shapes including Geckos, Tree Frogs, Panthers, Gorillas, Toucans, and Monkeys.
The Baseball pack includes 24 shapes including Baseballs, Home Plates, Bats, Pitchers, Batters, and Baseball Hats.
The Princess pack includes Princess, Diamond Ring, Glass Slipper, Castle, Magic Wand, and Tiara.
The Western pack includes Sheriff Badge, Horseshoe, Bronco, Cowboy Hat, Cowboy Boot, and Longhorn.
How can SillyBandz be used in writing lesson plans?
SillyBandz could be used as a simple spelling quiz. Children are given a group of SillyBandz to see if they can spell the name of each item whether it is a boot or a lizard.
Stories of course are built with words and everything included in a story or even a paragraph should remain on topic. Because SillyBandz are packaged by themes, kids will have perfect lists of related vocabulary words to create a story. Similar to the way spelling books will ask students to write a paragraph using a number of spelling words, children can be asked to create a story using a number of SillyBandz items.
Writing activities could be either fictional creative writing activities or non-fiction writing lessons. For example, the princess packets are perfect for crafting an original fairy tale and the garden packets are great for writing a gardening “how to” essay. The Holiday pack would be fun for creating original Christmas stories and the Baseball pack could be used to inspire an essay on “Why I Love Baseball.”
Alternatively, SillyBandz could simply be used to allow kids to make a “choice” about a topic for writing across the curriculum and to get a SillyBandz treat to inspire their writing. For example, you could have each student choose a SillyBand from a pack of Reptiles and research and write an essay on the reptile they chose. Additionally, students could be given 2 reptiles (or sea animals, zoo animals, etc.) and asked to write a compare and contrast article on how they are similar and different.
No matter how you stretch them, SillyBandz hold their shape but they also hold a lot of potential for learning and stretching out a story.
Personal teaching and parenting experience