Something new to my classroom this year was the purchase of a class set of mini whiteboards. My students were extremely chuffed to receive their very own whiteboard marker and couldn’t wait to get started incorporating these ‘new toys’ into our lessons and activities.
It’s been so liberating for them to be able to participate instantly in class discussions by writing or drawing their ideas, instead of wearing out their raised arm waiting for their chance to speak. They simply hold up their board and I am able to acknowledge their contribution and classmates can simply see each other’s thoughts.
Instructional teaching sessions have become much more engaging and dynamic with these boards in my students’ laps. So far we have used them for brainstorming, history timelines, scoreboards, maths quizzes, class voting, note taking and summarising.
To top it all off, it’s been an excellent way to reduce our use of paper in the classroom!
I first heard of using these mini whiteboards through UK educator, Dylan Wiliam, and am on the look out for more innovative uses of these amazing little tools, so please share!
If your students are anything like ours, they love to use paper hand towels by the truckload. For a more sustainable solution, invest in some cheap face washers (or better still just cut up some old towels). These can be used over and over and require a wash or soak in the sink every few weeks depending upon grottiness levels. They’re also ideal for the art studio where students can use them for wiping brushes between colour changes.
Our librarian was doing away with a stack of seriously out-dated yet seriously cool children’s encyclopaedias. Salvaged in the nick of time, we got to work upcycling these retro images into unique envelopes. We simply traced the net of an existing envelope over the top of each page of our choice, then cut them out, scored the edges to be folded with a stanley knife and ruler and then glued the flaps down.
My students love to be given creative technology group work challenges, which we call Scrapheap Challenges. We gather up reusable household items such as cereal boxes, cardboard cylinders, bottle tops, etc and once our stockpiles are sufficient its time for another Scrapheap Challenge! Besides setting group work goals, our only two rules are: don’t burn yourselves on the glue gun and the teacher does the tricky cutting. This one was undertaken at Easter time. The brief – design a harmless Easter Bunny trap. The results – adorable.
Reggio inspired art space designed by Mrs Clare. All art materials are on display to enable easy access for teacher and students. Simply collect glass jars, tin cans, baskets, test tubes, old vases and shoe boxes for storage containers. What an inspiring space!