Classroom hack – How to erase permanent marker.

One of these pens it not like the other.

Two of these permanent markers found their way to Sakata.

In my neighborhood, I have to write my name on my rubbish bag in permanent marker. After doing that recently, I put the pen in my pocket, took it to school, and wrote all over the classroom whiteboard with it. I had done the exact same thing while I was teaching in elementary schools, and luckily knew how to get the whiteboard looking brand new.

Step 1 – Draw over the whiteboard in permanent marker.

Step 2 – Try to erase the it. Is it permanent marker?

Step 3 – Get a whiteboard marker pen, draw over the permanent marker.

Step 4 – Erase, and watch in awe as the permanent marker disappears from the whiteboard.

Step 5 – High-five your co-workers and enjoy being the hero who saved the whiteboard.

I don’t think this will work if you leave the permanent marker on there for a significant amount of time. When I have done it, I have managed to get it off about an hour later. You may need to repeat step a couple of times to get everything off.

There is a solvent in the dry erase marker pen that will dissolve the ink from the permanent marker. The hand sanitiser trick from before will leave the whiteboard a smudged mess and should be avoided.

Get a 100-yen whiteboard and give it try.

Chris really likes his whiteboards. Really, really likes them.

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The IKEA effect

This is one takeaway I have from the last training day we had where Mike Griffin came here to present to us. More info the event is here

The IKEA effect

We like it better if we make it ourselves.

In the back of the “Finding Out” teacher’s book there are photocopiable cards that we can use for games. Recently I decided to let my students personalize them. I usually copy them and cut them without adding anything else to them to save time. Look at the photo. It takes time away from the lesson to get them made but it got my students more invested in the lesson and had them wanting to use them more in the classroom and lobby. A class of 8 will get everything taken care of in less than 10 minutes.

These cards come from “Finding Out 4”. They were made by year 4 primary school students.

Final tip, if you use regular laminating film for these the corners will be dangerously sharp. You can get a tool from Daiso to cut off the corners or use card style laminating film.

Students are more invested in these cards and choose to play with them more often because they made the cards themselves.

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Escape the textbook

In one of the English firsthand teachers books theres a teaching tip saying “Don’t solely rely on the book. Try other activities that let students escape the book”

When we are using Finding Out in our elementary school aged classes, there not too much on each page so most teachers will have have the students using English and not holding the book all lesson.

With McMillan English  there is a lot in the book but its just as important to put the textbook down.

Here are two activities that are going really well in my JHS class. Thank you to Parisa and Melissa for the ideas.

Parisa presented at ETJ in Sendai ( , inspiring us to inspire our students. She had her JHS class write a diary. I tried this with my JHS class and was initially met with “めんどくさい。。。” Look at the photo to see what / how much they are producing each week.

Melissa has worked hard to set up a pen pal program between schools. The project was only started recently but my student involved loves getting and writing the letters.

Thank you Melissa and Parisa. We are all at our strongest when we can share our ideas and what we are doing.


Classroom hack – Marker pen on the partition

First post in a series on classroom hacks. Short tips that help in the classroom

This one relates to keeping the classroom clean.

It can be hard to distinguish the partition from the
whiteboard when you are writing in a hurry. I have had almost all age ranges
doing it including adult students.

Hand sanitiser takes it off very easily. It only works on the partition.  

Never use it on the white board.  

Sakata partion got pen on it at some point. Watch me in action!

Did you already know this or has your mind been blown?

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