Lucky Duck {A Classroom Community Routine}

Teachers spend a great deal of time building classroom community at the beginning of the school year, but really, this is something that should go on throughout the year. I'm so excited to share with you a tried and true favorite community building activity of mine: Lucky Duck.

I have used this routine in my classroom for many, many years. It dates all the way back to my student teaching days (almost two decades ago).

I'm going to break down how "Lucky Duck" works in my room, but please know that it can be modified and used in a million different ways. So, feel free to tweak and customize these ideas to meet your needs and teaching style.

What is Lucky Duck?
Lucky Duck is basically the student of the day. Each day a new student gets to identify as the Lucky Duck. When you're 7, it's a pretty big deal.

How does it work?
Each day, after school, I select a new Lucky Duck. I have a small tray with my students' names printed on them. I rotate through the stack of names and place the daily name up on the board using the sign pictured below. Doing this right after school means that it's all set up for the morning (when there are always a million and one distractions).

These are the names in their little container. You can easily cut up index cards or cardstock to write students' names. You can grab my sign here for FREE (you'll need to handwrite your students' names). Rotating through the stack of names means that each student gets the chance to be Lucky Duck several times throughout the school year. 

Tip: Don't want to mess with a sign and name cards? Then, just write it all on your whiteboard. Same effect and the kids will still love it!

Once I identify the Lucky Duck, I place a rubber ducky on the student's desk. When the kids walk into the room in the morning, they can see who the Lucky Duck is by either reading the board or looking for the rubber duck.

What does the Lucky Duck get to do?
What I'm about to share is what makes this such a big deal to my students.

Daily News
First, they get to share some Daily News. Usually, I ask the students a question and they have to answer by restating the question. You can grab a similar set of questions here (freebie).

I write their statement on a piece of 12x18 construction paper using the this format: ______ said, "_________." I don't rely on the question cards 100% of the time. I often times invite the students share any random thought they'd like. This love this.

Daily News is so great for learning how to write the date (long and short) and how quotation marks work. It's also great for talking about parts of speech, capitalization, phonics, or whatever your teacher heart is drawn to in the moment. I frequently ask students to identify compound words, words with a specific number of syllables, words that rhyme with ___, to identify nouns or verbs or adjectives, we discuss capitalization and commas in a series, and so on.

Daily Cheer
Second, the Lucky Duck gets to pick the cheer of the day. I have a collection of Dr. Jean chant/cheer cards. They choose one from the designated box and we use it throughout the day. Sorry, no pic but if you search Dr. Jean chants on TPT you can find some great freebies!

Third, they help lead calendar. Again, no pic. I really have got to get better about snapping pics in my room! Anyhoo, we use a digital calendar which can be manipulated using a special pen for the whiteboard (I do not have a smartboard, it's just some pen that connects to my projector/computer and has some sort of magical powers I do not fully understand). 

The Lucky Duck leads us through the calendar slides and calls on people to share answers. They also get to prompt them to show their whiteboards. In my classroom, we use the signal, "3-2-1 show!" when using whiteboards. I never thought that being able to say those words would be such a hit, but they are. Haha!

Daily News Part 2
Fourth, the Lucky Duck gets to decorate/illustrate their Daily News. They can do so in their free time, or during reading group time that day (if their group isn't meeting with me).

At the end of the month, I put all the Daily News pages together into a special book and add the books to our classroom library. They absolutely love reading the Daily News books over and over again. They enjoy seeing their own pages, and delight in reading about their classmates. This allows them to learn more about each other and find commonalities.

As you can see, the book doesn't look special, but I'm telling you, they are always the most popular books in the classroom library. The cover is simply two pieces of colored 12x18 construction paper with the simple title written in Sharpie. I have started laminating the covers due to the popularity of the books.

Line Leader
Finally, the Lucky Duck gets to be the line leader for the day. Enough said, we all know that's like the BEST classroom job/privilege in the whole wide world.

This routine is a beloved one. The students absolutely love being Lucky Duck. They all get their moment to shine (several times throughout the year), and they get to know more about one another through Daily News. When we sit on the carpet to hear what the Lucky Duck has to report, the students are at full attention. It's an easy way to help students feel special while fostering community in the classroom.

The only cost involved with this routine is the one time cost of a rubber duck. Mine cost like $3 on Amazon. Can't beat that!

I hope you enjoyed reading about this special routine. Please share your favorite ways to build community throughout the school year in the comments below.


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