Thursday, March 31, 2016

Whiteboards for Everyone

This year, I've turned into the Oprah of whiteboards: you get a whiteboard, and you get a whiteboard, and you get a whiteboard. Everyone gets whiteboards! That hang on the walls! But can move!

Over the summer, I learned about vertical non permanent surfaces from Alex Overwijk. I liked his ideas, and began to think about how whiteboards might fit into a 5-Practice Routine. I wanted a way for my students to create a product on a large, vertical whiteboard, but also be able to re-sequence the boards as needed.

To that end, I created 2 ft by 2 ft 8 in whiteboards out of Thrifty White Tile Board. They come in 4 ft by 8 ft sheets, so having the people at home depot cut it into 6 pieces isn't too bad. And, they're about the same size as the Post it Easel Pads (and much cheaper in the long run). I bordered each with black duct tape, and drilled two, 1 in diameter holes in the top, using a cardboard template to drill in the same location each time. The center of each hole is about 2 in from the top and each side. Lastly, the boards are hung with a bulk pack of Command Medium Hooks. I ended up with about 18 boards in total. In the picture below, they haven't been hung up yet, but a better picture is above.

The great thing is that I've found more ways to use them that I thought possible. I've incorporated them in timed-practice, whiteboard speed dating, stations, find the error problems, anchor charts, and more. Even better, I can put these boards on a chair and use it to teach a mini-lesson to a small group of students.


Recently, I've had the kids getting more involved. They've been walking over to a board in the middle of class to explain an idea. I find them teaching each other on the boards between classes. One student has started taking pictures of his boards with a cam-scanner app as a way to save his notes. Not too bad for a few dollars at Home Depot.


UPDATE SUMMER 2018: I moved schools last year and I got to take the whiteboards with me. Most of the command strips came off easily, except those on the window in direct sunlight. Those degraded and needed to be scraped off. I was able to save all of the plastic hooks, and simply buy more command strips. Below are some pictures of my new classroom.