I learn new things from my students all the time. How awesome is that? And the benefits are two-fold: I learn something new (a boost to my knowledge), and my students feel like experts (a boost to their esteem). It’s a win-win!
This week’s inspiration comes in the form of a simple, common eraser.
At the beginning of the year I struggled to get my students to write within the margins of the paper. The pink line on the left-hand side of the page wasn’t registering with them as a guide for where to begin their writing. They’d often start writing at least and inch farther in, and each subsequent line grew shorter and shorter still.
Once I reiterated the importance of noticing the pink guideline, they became more consistent in using it. But without the obvious pink margin line on the right-hand side, my students were continuing to write all the way up to the edge of the paper. I pointed out that if they’d lift the paper up, they could see through the paper to the pink line on the reverse side. But the students who remembered to do that were the students who remembered the pink line was there in the first place.
One of my more uniquely visual learners was using her eraser to “highlight” where the pink line was before she began to write. She created an erasure guideline for herself. When I discovered what she figured out, I was thrilled. I finally had a way to help my students remember to use the margin guideline, and it was a “trick” the students love to use (I go through more erasers during the school year than I care to count!).
Now, my students’ final writing pieces look polished and clean. All thanks to an eraser, and a very creative student.
What techniques have you used with your students to improve their classroom habits?