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.
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!