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Ball Toss Boogie


Students respond to a question or text, collaborate with friends, and justify answers by throwing and catching a ball.


  • Prepared question, concept, or visual related to content
  • Beach ball or crushed piece of paper to throw


  1. Organize students into a large circle or small circles of 5-6.
  2. Pose a question, present a concept, or display a visual and ask:
    • What is one thing you learned today about _____?
    • What words are associated with _____?
    • What is one thing you remember from yesterday about _____?
    • If this visual could talk, what would it say?
  3. Point to a student and toss the ball.
  4. Student catches the ball, offers a response, then points to another student and tosses them the ball.
  5. Continue pointing, tossing, and talking until every student in the circle has responded.
  6. Observe students’ thinking and clarify/verify as appropriate.

Classroom Management

  • Role-play appropriate and inappropriate ball tossing to clarify behavior expectations.
  • Ask students to echo your instructions for “Point! Toss! Talk!” with hand motions to show they understand the instructions.
  • Consider using a crushed piece of paper as the ball for each group to minimize preparation time and promote appropriate throwing.


  • Promote access by previewing the question and using response/thinking stems.
  • Promote response support by encouraging students to develop a quick sketch/visual response.
  • Provide response support by allowing students to “phone a friend” in their group to collaborate on a response.

Think It Up!

  • Have students think more deeply about the concept by responding to a Think It Up prompt as an exit ticket or journal entry:
    • Predict how this concept might be assessed on a test.
    • Make a connection among all the responses.
  • Encourage students to use lead4ward’s Thinking Stems (English/Spanish) to frame their responses, if needed.