This is an idea that I use on Friday mornings to enhance my students' reading and writing ideas while keeping the classroom quiet and productive.
The children receive six slips of paper (three are grey and three are orange).
The only way that they can communicate to me and to one another is by reading and writing. They use the grey slips to ask me a question and the orange slips to ask their classmates a question. (They can only use the slips once.)
After they have asked their question and the response is written on the slip, they put the slip into a basket labeled "Used Tickets".
I write any directions to them on a chalkboard. I, also, have a different color poster for each of the following in case I need to hold it up and have a transition: "Clean Up", "Go to Your Seat", "Line Up", and "Come to the Carpet".
I usually do this for about 2 1/2 hours. When they are out of tickets, they are on their own.
It is VERY interesting to compare our "independent workers" to our "dependent workers" at the end of this time!