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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Poetry Break Magnetic Chalkboards Under $20

UPDATE: Students love the poetry break board.  They have been "writing" their own poems all week.  I put it on a desk in the back with the letters.  So far, students have been happy with their poems. Some students have written their poems down or shared them with the class aloud.  The one thing that I feel like I need to address is the "random" concept. Some have been searching for specific words instead of using the random words they choose.  I would love to make more of these. Next time, I will use more magnetic paint.

Uh-oh, I'm in trouble.  In addition to my chalkboard paint obsession, I have now started using magnetic spray paint!  I have more magnets that any normal person should have.  I constantly use my Xyron to turn everything into a magnet. (My favorites are the magnets of each month of my adorable nephew's life. He loves to play with them and tries to destroy them but they endure.) Now, I can make ANY surface magnetic to use those magnets on.  This is overwhelming!  I wanted to experiment so I decided to use a hard canvas board to start with.  I bought these to paint with oil on.  However, I haven't been painting lately. No time!  

When I was in grad school, one of my elementary education  professors told us about the poetry break idea.  All it means is that sometimes when class gets too heavy and dull, a student might grab a sign that says poetry break and will read a poem to the class.  This is only supposed to happen when students need a break not like every five minutes.   Okay, I think this idea would get abused in middle school but I like the idea.  I really wouldn't care if someone finished with his or her work would "play" with words and write a poem anytime of the year.  This would also be a good activity to work on with a partner.  We don't officially study poetry until January but we still read poems all year.


Step One-
I covered my surfaced with paper, shook the can for two minutes, and started spraying.  The paint color is gray.  I did get some on my deck before I added some more paper.  I don't get a newspaper so I use junk mail.
I let layer one dry. Then, I sprayed two more layers. I tested each layer with a rather weak magnet until was happy with the strength of each layer.  It took about three layers for my magnet to work.

Wear a mask!  I got this one for free when I got routine blood work last year.  However, sometimes I put a bandana around my face if I can't find a mask.  The fumes for this paint aren't that bad but I felt light-headed when I took off the mask.
I got this at my local Michaels.  I think the key is to shake it upside down for at least two minutes.  You need a screwdriver or something pointy to get the lid off.
STEP Two:  I probably should have waited but I started spraying the chalkboard paint as soon as the magnetic layer looked dry or not shiny.  I only did one heavier layer as the green spray paint really covered.  This was a lot easier then using the black chalkboard paint in the can.  However, I think some still got on my deck due to the wind.

Tip: The color on the lid is the color of the paint.  Since I was rushing around Michaels like a nut, I didn't realize that. However, I really like this color. 
STEP Three:   After letting the chalk layer dry (mostly!) I busted out my new favorite possession: Neochalk Liquid Chalk marker ( which I got on Amazon.  I wrote "Poetry Break" on the top and put some of those Magnetic Poetry words all around. (I used to get the Magnetic Poetry calendar every year.  I also can make my own words by using the magnetic tape on my DYMO label maker.) This way kids can take the board to their desks.  I also have a few plastic containers of more words.  If the students wants to, he or she just jot the poem down on the board in chalk.

First poem!

If I want to use this board for grammar or as a really cool interactive student response board all I have to do is wipe off the chalkboard paint with a wet cloth.  However, I would love to make a few more of these.  I don't want anyone fighting over these.  I think these would be great for younger kids, also.  I think the whole project would be under $20. Plus, you can make more if desired. You could use those plaster frig magnets instead of words.  Also, you can do this on a wall or door instead of a board.