Clean up your Handwriting

     There is very strange phenomena I've been witness to for many years. It's called Sticky-Kid-Finger Syndrome. As a teacher, I'm sure you've witnessed it as well. A seemingly clean kid uses a pencil at small group. You go to put it away and it's sticky! A child using the computer is having trouble. You take over the mouse to assist. It's sticky! My favorite is when a child rests their hand on your hand (face, arm, leg, any body part within reach) and it's sticky! They're like little sticky tree frogs hopping all over the room, and at times all over me. I suppose it's one of the joys of childhood, but it's also one of the reasons why I stock up on hand sanitizer and baby wipes. I'm not sure where the stick comes from, and honestly, I really don't want to know. I just know that it exists. So, any activity that promises clean hands and clean desks ranks high on my list.
NO PICTURES! I'm working up a good stick!
     This is a great activity to introduce on Earth Day. I tell my students that they are going to do lots and lots of writing today and since it's Earth Day, we won't be using any paper. Instead we're just going to write right on our desks! Of course half of the kids are confused and half are delighted. I have to be sure to explain the next part fast before my "early finishers" put lead to wood.
     Squirt a generous amount of shaving cream on each desk and let them spread it over the entire desk to create their "paper". Erasing is super easy, just smooth over your desk and start again! Ah, an entire lesson with no broken pencils, no sharpeners, no eraser dust, no complaints about a millimeter of paper touching a neighbor's desk. It really is heavenly. 
     I usually let my students experiment with cursive writing, but you can also have them practice math facts, spelling words, symbols of the periodic table...just about anything. Try using this as a fun alternative to individual white boards now and then.
     After a few minutes, the shaving cream actually starts to disappear on it's own. I usually re-squirt them a few times before we eventually are just left with a room that smells like dad, spectacularly spotless desks and, most importantly, clean hands!!

Whether it's Earth Day or just time to shake things up, bust out some Barbasol and get writing!

Shameless plug: Check out my Basal Break complete literature unit 
on The Lorax. It's on sale for Earth Day!

1 comment

  1. I know one of the elementary teachers in my district does this activity with the kids and they absolutely LOVE it! Amazing what motivation they'll have when you add a little shaving cream! :)


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