I love white boards – or as the children more accurately call them, “wipe boards.” I started using them fairly consistently last year because I found they allowed my students to “get their scribblies out” and then get down to business. I introduced them right at the beginning of this year and now, 10 weeks into the year, I only have a few students still making big scribbles when I pass them out, most are getting down to drawing something specific.
My routine last year was to put the boards out as a check-in activity on Tuesday mornings, the first day of our preschool week, and then again after I did a story model on Wednesday or Thursday. What I witnessed was the students using the white boards as draft pictures. They would hone their drawing skills on the white boards because they could start over so easily. I also noticed that my students with inefficient grasps or who are tentative in their work, would tighten up because the boards are slippery, and because if they weren’t careful, their movements would erase their pictures.
So this year I wanted to plug them back into my routine and closely monitor how my students used boards as tools to learn new skills and express themselves.
I decided to do story writing on Tuesdays and Thursdays and after having a few students up to retell my story, I pass out white boards on Tuesdays and paper on Thursdays. It is the one time of the week when I let my students copy my story drawing or that of their peers because I find they try new things out and bring those ideas back to their journal writing when I meet with them one-on-one.
Today I drew a story about celebrating my birthday – because it’s coming up later this week. I got quite a few white board sketches that were similar to my picture. Now we’ll see what pops up in student journals tomorrow!