bright ideas: Using dry erase markers on your desktops!

Ready for some Bright Ideas!
Of course you are!

Do you have a paper or a copy Nazi at your school? This year we were given a box of paper and told that was it! ONE box! Sorry, but I still love a good worksheet, but we make do with what we have! ANd I do not have the drive to buy paper!
And I suppose saving a few trees is nice too!

One of the ways I save paper is using our desks! We have a class set of white boards and clear sleeve things called communicators, but sometimes they kiddos need more room, or I need them to sort things out and record some answers along with it.

So we break out our...EXPO markers! That desk is like a blank slate! and the dry erase markers really do wipe right off. Trust me, I'm a little OCD about any kind of dirt or markings on the desktops!

Here's a few ways I've incorporated this bright idea! Here we were in the throes of regrouping! Sometimes you have them so well trained they even record their name and date in the corner! and of course a love note!

another way I use this bright idea is helping my kiddos out when we play scoot! I love scoot! but whoever invented it had older or more equipped kids than I have ever had! Plus we don't sit in rows so it's hard to tell which desk they should "scoot" to next! So I draw an arrow to where they go next! I also write free space or of they have to go to a different table, I also write that. 

and here's another bright idea! you can use shaving cream in the same way! This is great for drawing shapes with specific attributes, or practicing cursive! It also cleans them really well! Just don't use too much! Otherwise you'll need to clean it again with a wipe or some spray.
fyi-your kiddoes will love you even more!

I hope you learned a new bright idea or two! Now go and visit with my lovely Owl-ways Be Inspired buddy Stephanie at 3rd Grade Thoughts!! Just click her sweet button below to hop on over!

Alternatively, you can search by topic using the link-up below and move along to any 
other blog on the blog hop!


  1. I've started to use whiteboard markers to write notes on kiddos desk when I know I have a sub... they were SHOCKED I wrote on their desk with MARKERS! (gasp). I LOVE your idea of using shaving cream. I'm thinking this will come in handy when we are review geometry skills for our test in the next 2 months... it'll break up the test prep, make it exciting and hands on, and hopefully the experience will help the concepts 'stick.' I already pinned it to help remind me. :) Thanks for the bright ideas!

    Tales of a Teacher

  2. I hopped over during the Bright Ideas Blog Hop!
    Thank you, this is terrific!
    Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas!
    Fern Smith's Pinterest Boards!

  3. Love this Rachel! My kiddos would get the biggest kick out of "doing the unthinkable" and writing on their desks! It's the fun little tricks that really make an impression and cement that learning! Love it!

  4. I've always loved using shaving cream to clean our desks. Now I have to get over my fear of writing on them! ;)

    Teaching in High Heels

  5. I love the arrows for the scoot game! Great idea!!
    Tori's Teacher Tips

  6. I did this last year and a few of the desks did not erase properly. I am not sure if they were not coated anymore or what but it drove me crazy seeing the lines. No matter what I tried, I could not get them off. Do you use anything specific to get rid of the lines left? I would love to try this again. I have different desks this year!


    1. Have you tried febreeze to get the residual dry erase off? I've heard it works wonders for dry erase boards...

    2. Ashley, I have been successful in the past by using some hand sanitizer on stubborn whiteboard stains.

      Nicole :)

    3. A bottle mixed of vinegar and water does the trick!

  7. My students love writing directly on their desks and we do it a lot as well. I love the idea of helping with scoot! I'm constantly reminding students where to go when we play scoot. Thanks! ~Melissa

  8. So much easier than passing out Whiteboards!! Love it!

    Corinna (✿◠‿◠)
    Surfin' Through Second

  9. I've written on desks before, but I never thought to use it for arrows during Scoot. That is GENIUS! :) Thanks for sharing your bright idea!

    Luckeyfrog's Lilypad

  10. LOVE doing this! Why didn't I do it during regrouping this year? Duh! That would have made it soooo much easier! :)

    Teaching Maddeness

  11. I LOVE this idea! Also, I love your name tags for the desks! Where did you get them?

  12. I do a version of this with my 10th graders: I walk around during independent work activity and draw stars for good work and focus, happy faces, etc. I draw sad faces to get people back on track, or write them little notes. It's a riot, and works. They appreciate not being spoken to outloud so everyone else can hear. And I have fun too.

    1. I love this idea!! Especially for those kids who really struggle with staying on task. Removes the stigma when they get busted!!

  13. I have been doing this for a few years and i wish i could've photographed my custodians face when he walked in one day and saw what we were doing! Priceless!!! I thought he was going to have me kicked out of the building! So really one box of paper! WOW! I too love a good worksheet and so do my kids! Sense of accomplishment when they finish! A friend of mine uses sharpies and alcohol to wipe it off. That is what she uses on her dry erase board and her notes never smear and at the end of the day EVERYTHING is clean and sanitized!! I love the ideas for scoot!

  14. We do our phonics lesson on our desk every Thursday, and let me tell you...they NEVER let me forget!

    For the Love of First Grade

  15. Such a fun way to complete work! I've used the shaving cream for years, but just recently started with the dry erase markers. Sure does cut down on time passing out boards for sure! Great post, Rachel!!

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notes to the teacher

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