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March 26, 2012 Guided Reading Fun With Graffiti Tables By Angela Bunyi
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

    Although reading, talking, and writing about text during a guided reading session is vitally important, I was excited to discover another technique, an idea called "graffiti tables," through a teacher in Knoxville. Read on to see how we managed to incorporate some fun into our guided reading sessions last week.

    Graffiti Tables for Grades K–6

    Traditionally, I have my students stop, think, and jot down their thoughts in an individual reading/writing notebook. This is part of our regular, weekly schedule. But I knew we needed to try something different and found the graffiti table idea on Miss Stec's kindergarten blog. The “different” in this case involved grabbing two slices of butcher paper, some tape, scissors, and markers. As students entered the room, they started with either spelling practice or editing work. From start to finish, I put a graffiti table together in fewer than four minutes. (I work with small groups throughout the day as an interventionist.) Of course, there was a lot of excitement when I asked students to come and sit at a table with markers and guided reading books sprawled across it. It was as though we were eating at Macaroni Grill (without the worry of high sodium and unhealthy fats).

    From here, the premise was straightforward. We used a nonfiction book, and 

    • we divided responsibilities using a jigsaw approach. Students became “experts” over selected pages in the book and were responsible for sharing the content and information on the butcher paper.
    • students used markers to record pertinent information while reading.
    • students added supportive drawings and illustrations to help allure readers to stop and read their information.
    • going in book order, I periodically asked each student to stop and share something they had recorded with the group. I also monitored and assisted with spelling, conventions, and the ability to discriminate important information.

    Putting Work Up on Display 

    If you are like me, you sometimes struggle with what to put out in the hall. If you take your graffiti tables out into the hall and pin them up, you will have a very colorful display of student work and learning. And that’s just what I did.

    Questions/Suggestions

    Have you tried using graffiti tables in your classroom? How did it work for you, and did your students enjoy the change in routine? Please share your thoughts below.

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Susan Cheyney

GRADES: 1-2