Fabulous Foam Core

I never know what I will be walking into. In my school, some teachers use smartboards, ELMO's, LCD projectors, and document cameras as tools for their daily instruction. In other classrooms, teachers use the chalkboard and overhead projector. Some classes have gathering areas with an easel. Others have the desks in rows. 
As a literacy coach, I have to find a way to work with teachers and children within the existing room arrangement. Using foam core boards helps me to do that. When I am teaching students about writing, I like to show them lots of samples. Showing them 2 or 3 text samples side-by-side allows them to quickly shift their eyes and compare the pieces. I blow up writing samples to poster size and attach them to foam core. I can write directly on the pieces in the gathering area in front of the kids. Then I can leave the boards in the room for kids and teacher to refer to.

 I can move the boards anywhere in the room. I can line up several boards on a chalk tray, put them on an easel without disturbing the teacher's chart paper, or prop them on the floor for a small group. I've also used them during presentations and study groups when I cannot control the room arrangement or count on the technology available. Jennifer Allen also talks about how she uses foam core boards as portable anchor charts in an article on Choice Literacy.  


  1. I like that you can leave things behind because we all know kids will check them out, but maybe on their own time (and not always when we expect). There's still a lot to be said for low-tech (even from a high-tech advocate like myself)

  2. I agree with Kevin. Low tech has its place in the classroom. Letting kids reach out and touch is still important. I too, am a techie but my young students need to see examples right in front of them as well as on the "big screen".

  3. Bravo!
    I have fond memories of foam core. It was the heart and soul of our set constructions when I directed high school theater. It's refreshing to know it's still making an impact!

  4. I'm with Kevin, sometimes low tech is the way to go. I find the more examples I have for students, the better their own writing--or speeches--tend to be.

    By the way, Love your "I am From" poem. The original is a poem I use with creative writing students who don't think they can write poetry. Once they are done, they are pretty proud of their efforts!

  5. How do you blow things up, do you have a poster maker in your school? What a great way to have a "wall" to support your examples. It is always a challenge to go into someone's class and need to post a page (or more) for the students to see. Nice solution.

  6. This is i a great idea. I don't have much space. I am using more technology. I guess I just like to collect ideas.

  7. I have seen the idea from Choice Literacy, but am excited to hear how you applied it, too. Blowing the examples up & being able to 'interact' with the pieces is so valuable. Most of what I do is make copies for everyone. It is a challenge to navigate different classrooms. Thanks for the idea.

  8. Hmm...I've always looked at foam board in Staples and wanted to get some. I think I will.


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