So much of the work that I do is about getting children engaged in the mark making process and then managing that often tricky phase of moving them forward from being mark makers to emergent writers and then to eager accomplished writers (particularly the boys!).
Here is an idea that I think has got real potential and it lets you (and the children) re-discover the good old blackboard!
Young children are motivated by anything that massages their ego (especially the boys, some would argue that fact doesn't change regardless of age!) so, this one is all about their mark making being an avenue for immediate recognition on a grand scale. It also overlaps into K and U and Creativity.
All you need is a few 'ready to use' canvasses some blackboard paint and photographs of your children. Simple!
In a prominent position, at child height, you are going to create a gallery that the children can change daily with their mark making.
Paint several canvasses of different sizes with blackboard paint
You could do this with the children, but to be honest, it is messy and dull! Plus you need up to 3 coats before they are completely ready, so I would do them in advance.
Hang the canvasses at different heights on your wall and let the children know that they can take them down and mark make on them and then re-hang them in the 'Gallery'. They must of course stick thier photograph next to their finished work so that everyone will know that it is theirs!
You will need to make some rules about how often they can rub out someone else's work and do theirs over the top. You want to make this canvasses something really special to encourage them all to 'want' to mark make on them. I would be tempted to say that once they have all been done, they stay up for the day/session and start again the next day.
The canvasses wipe clean with a damp cloth!
You can also enhance your canvases by painting black speech bubbles and encouraging the children to record their thoughts and speech at whatever stage of their mark making they are at.
It turns out that you can paint almost anything with blackboard paint! This is where things could get really exciting. Imagine painting a sheep's skull in blackboard paint and getting the children to mark make on it?
Shells, stones, sticks, hard boiled eggs, small boxes, even bottles (it paints plastic!). The more unusual the item the more engaging!
How about making your mark making table just that and letting the children write all over it? This is a cheap one from IKEA.
You need to adjust the type of measure to the amount of paint that you want so, if you want lots use measuring cups. If you want a little, use teaspoons.
3 measures of acrylic paint
1 1/2 measures of glazing medium – water based NOT spirit based (this sounds like it would be difficult to get but it is available from all art shops and easily found on line)
1/2 measure of powdered tile grout (you need the non-sanded stuff. It is easy to get!)
You just mix it all together and then paint it on to whatever you need to paint! If it is a canvass that you have painted with your home made stuff then you need to prep the surface before you use it. You do this by lightly rubbing the canvas with the side of a stick of chalk and then wiping it clean with a dry cloth!
Oh, and if you have a magnetic white board that you can no longer clean…paint it with blackboard paint! It does work and you end up with a magnetic black board!
Enjoy your mark making!