Monday, July 25, 2011

Classroom Management Monday- mini dry erase boards during direct instruction

It is still Monday in the west!  10:06 pm to be exact.  I spent most of the evening at my mother's house visiting a 3rd cousin who just happened to be in town.  I sat at the kitchen table for about 2 hours while they talked about people I have never met. 

Anyhow.  I have a classroom management tip for you that I learned from another teacher about a year ago. 

Do you use mini chalk or dry erase boards in your classroom? 

They can be wonderful.  You can easily do a test review by writing a question on the board and then having kids hold the answer up on a dry erase board under their chin.  You can see at a glance who "gets it" right away and who is looking around for answers. 

Easy peasy.

However, I HATE how kids will draw all over their dry erase board with things other than the correct answer to the question or math problem.  They like to scribble and cover the entire board with marker and waste the ink. 

They write messages to each other.

They play tic tac toe.

They scribble and then use their finger to write their name. 

All while I am trying to teach subtraction with regrouping!  Anyone who is easily distracted misses my lesson because they are so busy drawing.

Then..........I was given an idea.

At the beginning of each lesson give the kids 5 minutes of free draw time.  Set a timer for 5 minutes and let them have at it. 

I usually use this time to turn on the projector and write the objective up on the board anyway. 

Once the timer goes off all pictures are banished. 

There is no drawing, writing your name, scribbling, decorating your answer or any of that nonsense. 

The kids have already been given a chance to draw and play with the dry erase boards.  They are warned that if I catch them doing any of that, they will have to use pencil and paper for the rest of the lesson.  No warnings.

It works like a charm. 

And what works even better?  Tell them that if they are attentive, participate, and don't interrupt you throughout the lesson they can have a bonus 5 minutes of draw time at the end (if time allows).

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