Please Write on Your Table

I recently read a blog post that involved letting students write around the room, literally.  The teacher created numerous opportunities for students to write on various surfaces with dry-erase markers – laminate floors in the classroom, kidney tables, student desks, mini whiteboards attached to the wall, etc.  This idea intrigued me as I teach ELL students who are very hesitant to write and get their thoughts down on paper.  What better way to see if it encourages writing than to actually try it…We did just that, the very next day.
Jekyll and Hyde Notes

First and second graders practiced writing capital M; third graders wrote spelling words that were dictated; fourth, fifth, and sixth graders composed questions to ask a nonfiction author that we are going to interview on Skype.

As I handed the dry-erase markers to the students, they were quick to question me and check to make sure that I really wanted them writing on the table.  Indeed!  Once they understood that it could be erased and if it didn’t, Mrs. Peters had a special tool called a Magic Eraser that would make sure it all came off, they went crazy!  Students who normally shy away from any kind of writing were more inclined to try it out or create sentences that were never expected.

Since our first day of experimentation with this, we’ve written on the table several more times and used it in different ways.  I’ve taken notes during our discussion of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to model how to summarize.  We created a matrix with information from a nonfiction book because we’re studying nonfiction text structures.  A student was even sent to my room to finish working on a story, and we quickly outlined his characters, setting, problem, and resolution right on the table to help him organize his thoughts and complete the story.

Nonfiction text structure - matrix

I would love to thank the author of that blog that inspired me to try this with my students (sorry it didn’t get bookmarked like it clearly should have!).  I truly see this being used in so many ways.  It has been such a simple addition in my small groups that has already had some pretty great results!

2nd graders writing M

4th graders writing questions


4 thoughts on “Please Write on Your Table

  1. SO COOL! Kids love it when we let them do the unexpected and try new things! Thanks for “thinking outside the box.” When students are motivated, they are engaged. When they are engaged, the are learning. When they are learning they are empowered!

    One simple activity with supplies all teachers have on hand prompted empowerment! YEAH! Where will they be writing next?


  2. What apps have you found that you like for the iPad? My ELLs and I love StoryKit, and we just did our first project with SonicPics. In the past we’ve done projects with GarageBand and iMovie. They LOVE using technology – but writing on the tables would go down well too I’m sure! Great idea! I think I’ll try that one!

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