I've been having fun lately thinking about the differences between teaching in an elementary school and teaching in a high school. I haven't taught in an elementary school in a while, but I have fond memories of colorful displays on the wall, interactive activities, group work and games. So in an attempt to engage some of my senior students who aren't as interested in school as I'd like, I'm having fun integrating some "elementary teaching techniques" into my classroom. And... believe it or not... we're having a ton of fun and I do believe that there's some real learning happening as a result!
My next few blog posts are going to highlight some of the tips and tricks I've been implementing lately. Best of all... most of these techniques are easy, take little prep time and don't cost very much (if anything).
Here's my tip for today...
I've seen lots of different ways to create individual whiteboards lately on all sorts of websites... everything from laminated paper to plastic picnic plates. After a bit of trial and error I've discovered that the white plastic (melamine) platters from my local dollar store work the best!
I have a set of 20 in my classroom that I mostly use for group work and a review / quiz game. My students (especially the boys) love them! I often play a game where I ask them to draw and explain a concept - they work in groups and I love listening in on their conversations as they figure things out. As well, the students like the fact that I'm not looking for something technical, just a quick and easy explanation of an idea or theory.
Ideas for your class...
- use them to practice math concepts
- vocabulary review
- spelling practice
- foreign language vocabulary
- poetry / figurative language
- drawing science concepts (phases of the moon, cells...)
- chemistry formulas
- I'm sure the list is endless!
I quickly discovered that white board erasers are very expensive ($5.00!!!) so I went to the Dollar Store (what did we do before they were around??) and bought a child's fleece scarf and cut it up into 8 little "fleece erasers". They work really well and every once in a while I bring them home for a wash. I store the plates, pens, and erasers all in a plastic bin that I got at (you guessed it!!) the Dollar Store!
Anyone else use these or something similar in their classroom??