September 18, 2012 by ray_emily
This year, we’ve used either large or small whiteboards in my classroom just about every single day. I feel great about this – and I know that the kids love it. Unfortunately, I’m here today to report on a totally irritating whiteboarding-induced problem.
The problem is this: My kids kill Expo markers at a staggeringly fast rate.
No, the markers are not drying out. (I’m sure of it.) Rather, the mushy marker tips are getting squashed by my overzealous, oblivious children.
Enter: The Expo Graveyard! (Click either photo for a closer look at some high-quality sixth grade humor.)
The graveyard is not a solution to my problem – not at all – but it has certainly brought a touch of whimsy to my classroom, and to the front of my ugly grey storage cabinet. (All posters created by students, obviously.) Additionally, my kids and I both react a little bit more appropriately, now, when another Expo bites the dust. Rather than shrugging and pretending they are not to blame, kids take ownership and sometimes put on a bit of a show: “Noooooo! Not another death! It’s tragic!” (Okay, maybe that’s not appropriate behavior…) Rather than lecturing my kids AGAIN about how they really must be more careful (ew, lecturing), I ceremonially tape the marker up with the others and put on a mournful face.
Unexpected bonus: Since the establishing of the Expo Graveyard, two students have surprised me with “gift” packages of brand new Expo markers. I suspect that, with this new awareness of the tragic Expocide taking place almost daily in my classroom, they feel compelled to make amends. Like I said – not a solution, but I’ll take it. (I also won’t feel bad about requiring kids to bring in their own markers, once I’ve run out. And – next year, Expos are definitely going on the school supplies list.)
Lest you write off this post as entirely silly and not math-related: Expo markers are the perfect addition to Andrew Stadel’s list of inefficiently designed products. They are in dire need of a “well-thought out modification/enhancement” (his words), and thus could provide excellent fodder for some creative problem-solving activity. So there.