As 2013 comes to an end, we can begin to think about ways to inspire a love of learning in our students for the New Year. Here are a few suggestions for ways to increase student focus/engagement and improve your teaching quality using whiteboards. Most classrooms have a set of small whiteboards for students to use, so ask your teacher where you might find them. If you have other suggestions or activities that have worked for you, please share!
Letter Practice – For Kindergarten and 1st grade students you can use the whiteboard to help them practice letter formation. Kids love to write on a whiteboard because they feel like a teacher.
Before Reading – As you picture walk through a book before you read, use the whiteboard to write any spelling patterns you notice in the book. For example, if you see that the book has many long “a” words, write them down and then work with your students to put them in groups by their spellings. Example: play, day, stay, all have “ay”. Sail, pail, trail, all have “ai”. Doing this before you read will help the child be ready for these patterns when they are encountered in a book.
You can also write sight/high frequency words that you see in a book, and practice them before actually reading the book.
As You Read – Write unfamiliar vocabulary words on the whiteboard so that you can discuss them in detail after the story, or at the end of each page.
Write questions or predictions that you or the student makes along the way.
After Reading – Have the student draw the beginning, middle, and end of the story. Keep the drawings simple. Have the student tell you about each part of the story as he/she refers to the pictures.
Synonyms and Antonyms – Use the whiteboard to write pairs of synonyms or antonyms. Use the heading “Synonym = Same” when working on synonyms, and “Antonyms = Opposites” when working with antonyms.