Every Monday I move the students around to new tables. I let them write their name on the table with a dry erase marker, as it easily washes off. The kids love that. The first time I told them to get a dry erase marker and write their name on the table, they just couldn't believe it. Several wouldn't do it until I ambled over to them, put the marker in their hand, and said, "Go ahead! Write on the table! I insist!"
Of course, I clarified soon after that writing on the table would be reserved for infrequent times when I instructed them to and not just when they felt like it. But today, during math while students were measuring things at their tables, it was a perfect time to tell them to write their answers on the table. This time, it was much easier for most of them. Probably due to the fact that it was now proven that it would, indeed, wipe off easily.
At times, when the numbers are uneven, I need to move a student to another table to even out the numbers. Today, was just such a time. It's great because, since they don't have their own desk, stuffed to the gills with
junk all their important stuff needed for 3rd grade, they don't feel so tied down to a particular place in the room. I asked a table with two girls and one boy to decide which one of them would move to another table of three students to get even numbers for a partner activity. I didn't even notice one of them move as the activity had started and the kids were already busy talking and organizing their materials.
As I scanned the room to check for engagement, I noticed the boy who had moved to a different table. He didn't look too happy at the moment. I headed over to the table.
"I don't know why I was the one that had to move to a new table," he began as soon as I was within earshot. He put on a sour look. "They just decided it was me."
"Looks to me like you got voted off the island," I told him, smiling. "It happens."
He smiled and his partner at his temporary new table laughed.
And life went on.