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!
I am lucky enough to have the very talented Mrs B working in the room next door to me. Each week she is determined to create a new and exciting play space for her Kinders and ‘playgroup’. Often the play spaces are left for a few weeks with subtle changes, maybe the animals change or something little is left for the children to discover. This week she focused on frogs but some horses crept in too! For the babies we found some great bead mazes from our local tip shop and pom-poms with cardboard rolls! It is true as early childhood teachers our occupation is play.
Miss M’s Grade 4 class were learning about contact and non-contact forces. As a tuning-in activity, students were given a paperclip, a magnet and a shoebox lid. Their design brief was to create a maze for their paperclip to travel through, guided by the non-contact force of the magnet. Of course, things got pretty creative straight away with water jumps, tunnels, bridges and race tracks incorporated into plans. This exploration phase of the lesson raised many questions for the budding scientists, which they later went on to test (Will the paperclip make it up the slope with a stronger magnet? Will magnetic force work in water?). They only had 20 minutes to complete the task, but they would have happily worked on their designs all day.
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!
This Scrabble Board was collecting dust on the shelf as a long neglected game of choice. So it was time for an upcycle! It now hangs in the window of Miss M’s room.