Trying to transition between the two grades in one classroom was difficult. Often times I would move from one table group to another, with not very much time to prep or reset in between. When working with small groups and one-on-one, I always like learning to come naturally. This can sometimes be interrupted by the need to get paper, broken pencils, running out of room, etc.
One day I decided to stop with the pulling out of whiteboards, stop with the getting up in the middle of my lesson, just write on the desk (with an Expo marker that is). This actually was such an incredible moment for my students. They couldn’t believe they had the opportunity to write on their desks. Not only did this bring the lesson to life, it was a quick and easy way to assess and show evidence of their learning.
What’s the trick?
I use Expo markers in class, usually for whiteboards. The desks come clean with a baby wipe or disinfecting wipe you may use in your classroom. Since then, many companies have created whiteboard paint that can be used if your district allows for it.
What has it done for our classroom learning?
As I mentioned earlier, students are excited to show their work. They get excited to do just about anything when you ask for whiteboard markers to be out. I like it as a teacher because I always have a marker on me. It’s quick, easy, and effective. I can share what students need to have done with bullet points right on their desk. They have the fun of checking them off as they go. It is a win-win in the world of cheap teaching techniques that work!
What if you just can’t bring yourself to write on furniture?
Cover up a door or long work area with butcher paper.We have two doors at my site that I covered with black paper. Students get to use silver, gold, and metallic markers to write about things they’ve learned and want to share, or they can write about challenges they would like to take on as a genius hour project. The possibilities are endless.
The true joy in a child’s mind is something out-of-the-ordinary. My strategy for this, take something that you need from them (showing their work, sharing ideas, expressing their concerns) and put a twist on how it is presented. It will make a world of difference in the eyes of a child. Thanks for reading!