What’s that old Einstein quote?…
…the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result? If this is truly the definition of insanity, I guess the leading adjective to define the organizational structures in my math classroom over the years must be “insane.”
( Fun fact: we all must be insane because it looks like Einstein never said this in the first place).
Anyway, without further ado,
Here is my FAVORITE Organizational Strategy for the Math Classroom (that makes me a little less insane each day):
Give Them a Place to Test Those Expo Markers
Who doesn’t hate a dried up (or almost dried up) Expo marker? No one… The answer is no one because EVERYONE hates this. Teachers hate this. Custodians who have to pick up lost Expo caps from the floor hate this. Students hate this. Everyone. I get it. So, I understand why students want to test their Expo markers before they use them.
However, this doesn’t stop it from being my biggest pet peeve. Every year. Without fail. For EIGHT long years. No matter what I did… move the Expo markers across the room… put Expo markers out at each table…hang large signs that say ‘PLEASE DO NOT TEST YOUR EXPO MARKERS ON THE WHITEBOARD’… no matter what, each day, at the end of the day, I would inevitably end up with large streaks across MY whiteboard left behind by well-meaning students who just didn’t want to suffer through the experience of having to write with a dried-up Expo Marker. And then every day, like clockwork, I would have to erase these streaks before I wrote up the homework, wrote out reminders for the class, demonstrated a solution, hung an anchor chart, or in any way used MY whiteboard.
No more. This year it finally clicked. I understand the student frustration and motivation. Wouldn’t I want a place to test these Expo markers too? Why not just provide them with a designated location to conduct said tests?
It worked. Like a charm. I didn’t even have to explain. Not once. All I did was tape a small handheld whiteboard to the supply shelf, labeled it “Test Your Expo Markers Here” and ta-da, no more streaks across MY whiteboard at the end of the day.
[Insert face-palm Emoji here]
(Now if only I could get them to THROW OUT the dried up markers instead of leaving them in the bin for someone else to find…).