Student whiteboards are a must in the classroom. They require NO prep, provide the perfect workspace, and offer a way to be a tad greener in the classroom. From math warm-ups to grammar practice, these tools easily slip into any lesson. With this said, mini boards take a bit of management. I’m sure many of you are pretty dialed in with these. However, just in case you’re looking to try a few new things to increase productivity with these tools, here are a handful of student whiteboard tips.
This is not a new concept, but using student numbers is a game changer. Rick Morris brought this idea to the forefront and it’s a magical management tool. It helps in so many different ways . . . and assigning tools is one of them. By labeling your mini whiteboards and markers with student numbers, it increases accountability. Students are more likely to take care of these items as they are labeled as the OWNER. Sure, it isn’t their name, but a number is a close second. Also, if a pen is lost, it usually gets back to the owner thanks to the number hiding on the shaft. Classmates are able to return the marker to the correct student. Finally, you are able to figure out who might need a “refresher course” in proper tool use. Students LOVE the bumps on the back of whiteboards and often draw or scribble on them. By numbering the boards, students typically make a more responsible decision. And, if someone “forgets” how to treat their whiteboard, you are able to quickly pinpoint the culprit.
A STINKY SOLUTION
There are endless ideas when it comes to whiteboard erasers for student use. Mine is simple and super cost-effective. I use old socks. Yep. You read that correctly. OLD SOCKS. They are perfect erasers. I swear. Simply collect DARK-colored socks from your personal family members — parents, spouse, kids, etc. (I like to know where they are coming from, but that’s just me.) Launder them up in hot water and you’re good to go. Each student gets one and it lasts all year. The best part is that these will last for years to come. Simply wash them a couple of times every year and you’ll be in business for a decade. Students get a kick out of using my dad’s old socks too. It’s a guaranteed giggle getter when you pass them out the first time.
THE RIGHT TOOL
My one thought here is NOT to cut corners in the quality department. Providing students with quality whiteboard markers is a smart choice. Yes, they may cost a bit more, but they will lead to fewer headaches in the long run. I made this mistake one year . . . and will NEVER make it again. My go-to brand is EXPO. In year’s past, I have used the standard chisel tip black markers. However, the new EXPO Dry Erase Markers with Ink Indicator caught my eye. I love this option for kiddos as they can keep an eye on their ink level. Although it won’t work with every student, there will be a handful that are more mindful of their markers because they can SEE the ink running out.
SKIP THE BOARD
To keep engagement high, I often SKIP using the actual whiteboard and have them write on the desktop. I know what you’re thinking. SHE’S NUTS. However, by altering the process just a smidge, the work becomes novel again. Student engagement increases and behavior problems lessen. Although it may leave a bit of film on the desk, it comes right off with NO elbow grease. Just treat your janitor/custodian right (toss an extra birthday cupcake his/her way or leave a random thank you note) and it won’t be a big deal. Promise 🙂
DRAW IT OUT
My last student whiteboard tip is simple. If you want to increase engagement during your actual lesson, let them draw it out first. What do I mean by this? Build in 2-3 minutes of drawing time before you launch into your warm up or lesson. Our primary babies LOVE to write and draw on mini whiteboards . . . so, why not let them be little for a moment? It helps get it “out of their system,” which in turn allows them to focus when it’s time to get down to business!
Alright, so there you have it. A quick post outlining my favorite student whiteboard tips. I hope you picked up a trick or two to toss into the mix this year. Thanks for taking the time to visit. I hope to see you again soon 🙂