Sunday, September 23, 2012

Graffiti Board

In graduate school, I learned about using the "Graffiti Board" method to get kids to share ideas, mostly linked to reading comprehension and discussions.  I loved the idea from the first time I saw it demonstrated, and I knew I wanted to use it in Spanish class.  Though most of my classes aren't at the level where we have formal reading discussions, there are many ways to use a Graffiti Board in the target language. 
A Graffiti Board can be done be using the classroom whiteboard space, or if the whiteboard space is limited,  you can use large paper taped to the wall.  Each space has a question or prompt and the students take their time, walking around the room from space to space, writing an answer on each space.  I encourage them to use different colors and to write wherever they want on the boards.  Seeing the colors, handwriting, and varying answers gives the look of a Graffiti Board and is both fun and interesting for the students.  It is great for visual learners and for anyone who likes to get up and move around during class.  It also encourages all students to share so that everyone's answers can be seen.  No one student can dominate and all answers get the attention they deserve.  Usually when the boards are complete, I read through the answers (without mention of who wrote what) and correct any target language spelling or grammar mistakes. 
The first week of school, I assigned the students to write a short paragraph for homework telling me about them.  I asked them to use more advanced language instead of just using normal phrases like their age, where they live, and what they like.  To help them prepare for the assignment, we did Graffiti Boards in class.  There were different questions about them posted around the room.  Some asked them to respond in present tense, some in the past, and some in the future.  I asked questions that specifically asked them to answer using the grammar they have learned in the past as a reminder and to help them see how varied their knowledge is.  

Using Graffiti Boards as a pre-writing exercise was fun for them to do in class and really helped to improve the level of their paragraphs.  All of them used the present, past, and future in their paragraphs, something very few of them would have done without the in-class exercise.
~ La profesora

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