Last year, I had glass put on my tables to retrofit them into a white board table. Here are some of my favorite activities that we’ve done with them!
I know that many teachers struggle with how to articulate paraphrasing as a skill. It’s so easy to say, “don’t copy and paste” and even when we break it down and pretend we are explaining the topic to our lunch table or our parents, it’s a hard skill for students to pick up. What we did was we did a guided research project. We read an article together, and they could add more articles. We took sentences from the article and put them up on the screen.
First: They had to find the fact fragment, or the fact in it’s shortest/simplest form. There may be more than one.
Second: They had to identify words that they wouldn’t traditionally use or would change if they were writing.
Third: Find synonyms for the words they identified.
Finally: Rewrite the sentence in their own words. Use the fact fragment as a starting point. We could add in details we’ve learned about the topic, shift the order, and include our synonyms.
This is something that was a great co-teaching lesson, because the classroom teacher and I could go around and fine tune sentences. Many sentences needed tweaking, and the whiteboard setting prevented students from getting frustrated. We did this activity between the rough draft and final copy and the classroom teachers noticed a significant improvement in the quality of the final copy. In addition, it was a great tangible activity that we could point to throughout the year whenever the topic of “using your own words” came up.
Planning for maker challenges/stopmotion movies
I feel like this goes without saying. Having whiteboard tables is a great way for them to brainstorm/blueprint. (and sometimes it makes for a great stopmotion medium)
“Take a Fact/Leave a Fact” Poetry introduction
We were practicing using print resources for a poet project. I set up stations with 3 types of print resources. They had to go around to each station and find a fact about a poet and leave it for the next group. Groups could not repeat facts. If they found a cool fact, and it tied into their project, they were free to take it and use it in their project.
Sometime teaching print resources makes me feel like a worksheet queen. This activity got the kids moving, challenged them to find better facts than their classmates, and really got them engaged in each type of resource I was promoting.
End of Year Assessment
At the end of the year, I did a scavenger hunt to see if they could navigate certain skills successfully in my room. One station was for them to leave me a thing I could improve on in my library. I loved the insight they gave me.
My favorite bit of feedback from 6th grade!
Social studies classes used this method to cover certain cultures, it’s a great way to document discussions and get kids up and moving around the room. Want to learn about this method, check out this site: http://www.theworldcafe.com/key-concepts-resources/world-cafe-method/