Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Trying Something New: We're writing on the desks?!

Wow! Where did the last two months go? I know I said I was going to make sure I was posting at least once a month, but I guess I just let it get away from me again. My apologies!

It's at about this time of the school year every year where my eight graders begin to think they're too cool for school. They start caring less and showing off more. When they get like this, I start wracking my brains trying to think of ways to get them to "buy-in" to class activities again. We're starting a new summative writing assessment and that's always the worst when it comes to student interest. I decided I needed a fresh way of getting my students excited about their writing.

So I put it in the back of my mind as I helped my husband with some of his physical therapy school homework. His homework consisted of measuring and timing him complete physical fitness tests. Bare with me; it's important that you know this. As I was taping off my kitchen floor for a flexibility test, it occurred to me that I could ditch the tape and use a dry erase maker to record the results directly on the floor. I tested this in the corner, where no one could see before I decided to go for it out in the open.

That idea led to another idea. What if I gave each student a dry erase marker and let them do their prewriting for their essays directly on their desks? I knew I didn't have enough whiteboards for each student and it wasn't an option to have them share. Once again, I tested this out in one of the corners of one of the desks before I gave 180 teenagers each a marker. It came off with water beautifully!

When I announced that we would be writing directly on our desks I told the kids in a quiet voice "Today, we're going to break a school rule." The reaction I received from my students was the best. "Are you sure, Mrs. Koch?" was the most common question I was asked.  After I assured them that it would be okay, they began their prewriting assignment with devious looks on their faces. There was complete buy-in! SUCCESS!

Before I handed out wetwipes, I had students take pictures of their completed charts with their Chromebooks and upload them to our Google Classroom. We did this assignment two weeks ago and I'm still being asked when we'll be drawing on our desks again.

Have you ever tried this in your classroom? What was the result? Did your students love it? Tell me your story in the comments below!

-Taliena (Koch's Odds 'N Ends)