“If I had to choose between an interactive white board and a classroom set of dry erase boards…I’d choose the low-tech whiteboards.”
– TeachHUB Blogger Laura Candler
Whiteboards are the BOMB in a high school mathematics classroom. In fact, when I was student teaching for a district without them, I bought some really flimsy plastic ones. They were terrible, but that’s how much I believe in them!
Why do I love whiteboards from the bottom of my teacher heart? I have a lot of reasons… here are several in no particular order.
- 100% engagement is within reach
- provide continuous formative assessment
- fun for students
- reduces paperwork to grade
- versatile for whole class instruction, small groups, and individual remediation
- no worries about technology glitches!
Sold yet? Well, if you’re not, let me flesh each of these perks a little bit more.
100% engagement is within reach
Monitoring student engagement is so much easier with whiteboards – at any moment you can simply ask students to hold up their whiteboards. Can the students still look off their neighbors whiteboards? Yes, but so can they with paper and pencil.
Provide continuous formative assessment
Again, at any moment during a problem you can simply ask students to hold up their boards, which allows you to track students’ progress at any time. Better than this though, is that whiteboards beg students to write large, which means I can slip around during student work and easily monitor how individual students are doing on each problem. I often use what I see to help the entire class by announcing common mistakes I see (ambiguously – of course =]).
Fun for students
Honestly, who doesn’t want to write with something that you can erase from existence if you get it wrong?! (I love whiteboards so much, we have a giant one in our home in our office.) But seriously, students love whiteboards, even the biggest tough-guys and notorious slackers like using whiteboards. I have had several students who would do absolutely no pencil-paper work for me, but they’d work on whiteboards all class long.
Reduces paperwork to grade
Need I say more? If you use these during class, you don’t have to ‘grade’ them. And the strange thing is, I don’t know if I’ve ever gotten the annoying question, “Will we get a grade for this?” when using whiteboards.
Versatility for whole class instruction, small groups, and individual tutoring
This really deserves an entire blog post on its own… There is so much you can do in each of these categories with whiteboards. I’ve used them in all three contexts with much success. Of course, as an educator, you must be flexible and make it work for you. If whole class instruction on whiteboards just isn’t working (maybe too much to monitor), try breaking the class into small groups and start there. Whiteboards are great for individual remediation because they’re so low pressure. Make a mistake? Just erase.
No worries about technology glitches!
I had a classroom with a SMARTboard and document camera, and I loved both dearly. However, some days technology just wasn’t on my side. Those were perfect days for whiteboard activities. Just pull out some practice problems from printed resource or your own brain, and you’re set for an entire period of engaging material.
I hope this post persuaded you to try whiteboards in your classroom. They really are life-changing for a math teacher, but I’m certain they can be utilized well in other areas also.
Are you thinking about making the jump from printed class activities to whiteboards? Tell me about it! Do you already use whiteboards in your classroom? Share your reasons WHY you love them as much as I do.