Crayola sidewalk chalk. I use it on the floor in my classroom. It’s especially helpful at the beginning of the year. I use it to make a circle on the floor so the kids know exactly where to sit.
When I teach shapes, I’ll put a hexagon down, and the kids all say, ‘Come on, sit around the hexagon.’ I also use it to teach sorting. Children will bring in objects, and I’ll tell them to put the objects in the shape that is most like their object.
I can draw graphs on the floor and write the numbers right on the carpet. It’s better than writing on the board. They can interact with it, and nothing’s ever out of reach.
I use the chalk to teach positional concepts. I’ll draw a circle on the floor and there’s a song, “The Circle” by Hap Palmer, that tells them to walk around the circle, stand inside the circle, jump into the circle.
The chalk comes off in about an hour or two, and it doesn’t damage the industrial carpet in most classrooms. You run out pretty quickly, but Crayola sells a big bucket of 52 pieces. As a teacher, I buy in bulk.
Do you have a favorite teaching tool? Share your ideas online at: www.teachermagazine.org/go/tools
A version of this article appeared in the January 01, 2007 edition of Teacher