Teaching with Table Signs

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!



4 Responses to Teaching with Table Signs

  1. Rie wenninh January 5, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

    I love this! I use flat shapes taped randomly on their chairs for grouping too. I have four tables so we use that grouping for big groups. I have 8 flat shapes and we group that way for smaller groups. Thanks for the idea!

    • Teaching Ace January 5, 2013 at 7:37 pm #

      That is a fantastic idea! I do some large group games where I need teams, and I often end up trying to organize the kids by where they sit on the carpet. They have a hard time remembering their teams, so your idea would totally fix that. Thanks!

  2. carin January 18, 2013 at 9:20 pm #

    I love this idea…I actually use the continents to label my tables. The kids love it and they learn the names. Also, when I switch up their seats they have to learn a new continent and by the end of the year they really know them all. Great info about 3D shapes, LOVE IT!

    • Teaching Ace January 19, 2013 at 6:55 pm #

      That is great! Your mind can go crazy thinking of great things you could review with table signs! Problem is, you can’t use them all or it doesn’t work. I love the continents idea!