Generating Ideas, Oral Language

Give One Get One: Idea Generating & Discussion Activity

Give One Get One is a great activity to use with students who struggle with whole class discussion or if you are attempting to develop community and help students get to know others in the class.

I used it recently as an introduction to our new unit. In order to get students thinking about the main unit theme “courage.”

The handout

You can make a handout with a 3X3 grid and print it out or have your students fold a piece of paper into 9 squares. You can google “paper folded into 9 squares” and find videos and documents on how to do this but I also describe it below.

I demonstrate, and have students follow along step by step:

  • 1. Start by folding one side of the page over by 1/3
  • 2. Fold the opposite side of the paper in over top of the first fold
  • 3. Fold one side of the folded paper over by 1/3
  • 4. Fold the opposite side of the folded paper in over top of the first fold
  • 5. Once you open up all the folds you will have a page with 9 squares

The Activity

I ask the students to fill the top row with three different ideas about the topic. I tell them they can:

  • draw their idea
  • write a word
  • write a phrase

Since my students need more support to generate ideas I also suggested to those who were struggling to think of actions (verbs), people (nouns), things (nouns) or describing words (adjectives, adverbs) as well as synonyms that come to mind when they hear the word courage.

Once students have three ideas down I tell them they need to walk around the room and share ideas with others in the class. They should finish with all 9 squares filled in with different ideas.

If your students require a bit of an incentive, have them compete with each other and declare the person with a completed page as the winner.


Have students share what they have learned from each other in a class discussion.

You can have students refer back to this page throughout the unit and add new ideas (on the back) as they learn them. Or you can have them use it during their end of the unit review, adding the most important ideas from the unit to the back of the sheet.

Use “Give One, Get One” after finishing the Romeo & Juliet “Cartoon Character Relationship Map Activities” (free on tpt) or the other cartoon characterization activities here.


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