A Giant Chalkboard to Inspire Self-learning and Expression

by Rashmie on May 8, 2012 · 7 comments

in Read & Write


Slowly but surely I’m ticking off some of my long pending projects that have also been very close to my heart. And, in doing so, I’m feeling much peace. Really, procrastination drains my spirit, I should know and understand clearly – once and for all.

First, it was the mud pie kitchen. Then, a BIG chalkboard that I’d envisioned having on one of the bigger walls in Pari’s room.

This chalkboard (6 feet by 4 feet) , I’d been really, really wanting to have  - to serve as the ‘voice’ for each of us. I’d visioned it to be a place in the house where Pari and I would stop by any time we just felt like giving an outlet to our thoughts – in the form of words, doodles, zentangle, poems – whatever.

We have a smaller one for years now, which has been useful, too.

But I knew that a wall-sized canvas/writing area would inspire at so many levels. It’s basically about the “space”. When an entire wall transforms itself into a space for self-expression, no one can remain untouched.

You feel invited, inspired and raring to go.

It serves as a wonderful place for discussion and brainstorming.

And, well – also as a means to tackle boredom. (wink)

Yeah – all of THAT was my vision rather than creating a classroom at home. No way. Far from it, I’ve been encouraging Pari to use it in all sorts of ways for HER to challenge ME. Like – throw an un-scramble challenge at me; sketch a shape that I can zentangle inside; write a math equation that I can solve!

So, she thinks, she’s the one in charge rather than me. No way would I want her to think that I’m out to TEACH her and that her learning is under my control.

Nope.

I want to motivate her to be in charge of her own learning.

(In the picture below, I wrote that poem from our collection while Pari drew Daffodils to illustrate the line from the poem – “and sometimes clouds have a daffodil hue“)

The chalkboard has also been a wonderful get-together point for her with her friends.

They play teacher/school games! Oh well!

All said and done – the teacher games seem to be the most popular among kids, especially girls!

I’ve noticed that sometimes (well, these days – often) when Pari is not motivated to write using paper pen/pencil, she gets a fresh bout of motivation (and ideas) when I mention the chalkboard.

Especially with Hindi (our mother tongue), which she’s never keen on writing. The chalkboard lends itself beautifully to many word games encouraging her to write a ton of words – all the while under the impression that she’s playing! (wink)

In the photo below, I play a game with her in which she needs to decipher the code (solve the riddle) and write it in Hindi. She thinks she’s playing a detective. Each time she deciphers the code, I give her a “code-hugger hug” – whatever that means! But, it’s the high point of the game for her – with lot of  giggles and pride!

While I wonder at her innocence!

Not to mention – it saves piles of paper each day.

Isn’t it symbolic then that our chalkboard is green and not black!

Another related article on the topic of self-learning that you might find helpful:

Giving Creative Freedom to Your Child

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Melissa Taylor @imaginationsoup May 8, 2012 at 8:32 pm

I love how excited the girls are about learning – you’ve facilitated so much independence and autonomy with them!!
Melissa Taylor @imaginationsoup’s recent fabulous post..Spring Picture Books, Board Books, & Non-Fiction Books

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Mansi@experimenting-mom May 8, 2012 at 8:48 pm

Loved the Big chalkboard. Having a big chalkboard wall is in my to do list too! as kids we use to have a huge black garage gate which was our fav place to draw on.

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Suchita May 9, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Loved this chalkboard… i am using a red-wall for my 3YO… Loved the one..where girls writing in hindi…
Suchita’s recent fabulous post..Glass painting-with kundan work

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Louise Blake May 9, 2012 at 7:02 pm

Love the idea of a big chalkbaord – when my little one grows up – I want one of his walls to be a chalkboard so he can just get creative whenever he wants!

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Ann May 19, 2012 at 6:23 pm

It looks like a good one too! I think this is such a smart idea. You know the funny thing is they hardly use the chalk board in schools anymore! My daughters teacher has letter cards and and posters taped to it! I have an easel version and my kids “play school” all the time with it. I am now considering upgrading!
Ann’s recent fabulous post..My Son, the Doctor!

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Sadhana Bhagwat May 22, 2012 at 4:33 pm

we, as kids had this huge wall in the courtyard which was our black board- every evening, all my revision happened with me teaching to an imaginary class room! :)
Glad there is a revival of black boards! Keep up the good work rashmie!

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Shukti June 5, 2012 at 10:35 am

Dear Rashmie,

Great article and makes me go back to my childhood, where I had the whole wall in our backyard to play teacher-teacher with imaginary students. Still having that sparkle in my eyes imagining myself with the chalk in front of the blackboard :)

As a Mumma now, I sometimes struggle to generate that interest in my 8 year old son to learn to read and write languages. Tried some ways, like creating my own stories and poems, but he just does not want to read any, either mine or the books that we get for him. The interest in language sometimes shows, but only if there are facts coming out, so while a Nat Geo Kids Almanac generates curosity, a funny Raold Dahl story fails to do that. Do I need to be so worried?

Could you share some ideas to generate that interest, the genuine interest that comes from his heart, rather than a way to please Mumma and look good in her eyes :)

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