I started using my table signs as teaching tools around this time last year. With so much to teach, and so little time, I was looking for a way to reinforce and review tricky concepts without using a huge amount of teaching time. Table signs were the answer.
Students must hear (and see, and write, and experience) new information many times before it is retained and truly understood. And of course, students with less prior knowledge or with learning disabilities need that repetition tenfold. So when I began teaching my kindergartners all about 3-D solids, I wanted to find a way to give them this necessary repetition, without making it a drag. So I thought about the things I naturally say hundreds of times a day (at least is feels like it!) without even thinking about it. One obvious answer was how I call groups. Over and over again I was telling table 1 to line up, table 2 to get drinks, table 6 to choose indoor recess activities, etc. So then brilliance struck.
I quickly changed my table signs to 3-D solids. What better way to teach 3-D solids then have them hanging from the ceiling? Now I was telling the rectangular prism table to line up, the pyramid table to get a drink, and the sphere table to choose indoor recess activities. And better than that, my students were using the terms too! When I asked which table I forgot, they would all shout in chorus, “The cone table!” or when I would ask where a student sat, I would hear them say, “The pyramid table!” Repetition happened, and it was SO easy!
This year I started this teaching plan earlier. I made table signs to represent the “tricky teens,” to review some of those numbers my kids struggle to remember. Next year I might do punctuation marks at one point. I think three rounds of table names is probably a good number.
So tell me, how can you use table names to teach? I would love more ideas of things that can be easily reviewed with this method!