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Yes! These activity mats are also perfect for entry tasks and/or writing centers.
Both options work, so it really depends on your resources. We began using laminated copies because we didn't have the money for a class set of Wipe-Off pockets. Once the mats were all laminated and cut out they were durable and VERY easy to use. The Wipe-Off pockets are nice because students take ownership in keeping their pocket clean. Also, it isn't necessary to laminate all the activity mats.
Good question! Allowing your firsties to share their work is extremely important because it gives them a purpose to write. To accomplish this in a quick and easy way, we have a Quick Share TIme right before we clean up. This is when students share their work with a partner. We also do a quick teacher check if we have time. This is when students share with us and we give quick feedback.