At the beginning of the year my school was told that we would be partaking in the Writing Academy which is a professional development offered here in my school district. Oh the moans and groans were heard when we were told that every other Wednesday morning and every Staff Development day until January would be full of this Writing Academy. Yuck! However, I am an optimistic person and personally struggle with writing so what was there to lose? Well, the second week in I fell in love with these Table Top Blogs and wanted to share them with the world! So, here I am sharing these wonderful works of awesome with you.
First off, this is a great way to get kids engaged and critically thinking. Second, they also have to work together and collaborate with one another which is something that not all second graders are able to do yet.
I first decided on using five of my comprehension questions from my Trophies story of the week. This was an easy way to introduce them and a much more exciting way then taking a test. I wrote down the questions on large pieces of paper and set them around on the floor, desks, etc. Really, just anywhere where the students were able to circle around and write on the paper at the same time.
I then divided the students up into groups by counting off into five groups. Each person in the group had to grab a marker or highlighter but the trick is that they can't pick the same one as someone else in their small group. Ha! I love accountability! Moving on from my evil teacher ways, I set the timer for two minutes and told the students that they had to answer the question in the center of their paper. They were not allowed to copy another answer and if they saw something they liked or agreed with they could put a smiley face, heart, check mark or write "I agree" next to the answer.
With all of the wiggling and clicking of caps I knew they were ready to go so I hit start on my timer and away they went. I'm going to interject and say that two minutes is the perfect amount of time. They have time to talk to neighbors, share ideas, and write. They have almost no time to mess around which I loved. I would jump into their conversations and ask them engaging questions, write my own answers on the blogs, and when the timer went off we switched. Fifteen minutes later they were done and talking about how they couldn't wait to do it again and again. (I was already deciding on what to say when I received the award for the most awesome teacher, that is how excited I was about these blogs.)
So from that day on, we have done Table Top blogs at least once a week. We use them currently for reading and social studies. Next week we will be using them for writing and math. Turns out days and days of unpaid professional development isn't a wait of time, it is actually one of the best things I have done in my class.
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Sara Boucher is a K-5 Technology Teacher who is developing her own set of super geeks and loves what she does.