Monday, July 23, 2012

Whiteboards for groups & student roles - Made 4 Math Monday #2

Recently, @fnoschese linked to a blog post he wrote just about two years ago, called "The $2 Interactive Whiteboard," where he described the advantages of a large dry-erase board that students can use to work collaboratively and then easily share their findings with the class. You can buy these large whiteboards from various places on the interwebs, but I thought I would try the cheaper option explained in the blog and went to Lowe's, where a 48" by 96" piece of white tile board cost me $11.50.

They cut it for me into 6 pieces that are 24" by 32" each (for free!!), which are just about perfect for two or three students to use for a partner or group activity. The edges weren't sharp, but I put duct tape around them so that the cardboard backing wouldn't get fuzzy and disintegrate.

I'm thinking that students can just stand them up on the marker tray at the blackboard at the front of the room, but if that doesn't work, I can get all fancy and attach two metal hoops to the back of each whiteboard so that it can hang on the hooks at the top of my blackboard.

There are more whiteboarding resources at Whiteboards USA and Whiteboarding in the Classroom, as well as at Frank Noschese's blog, linked above.

The second thing that I worked on today was cleaning up classroom roles and expectations. I've had an assigned class leader for the past few years, who rotates every week, and it's been helpful both in making the class run more smoothly and in fostering students' independence (it's really nice to leave sub directions like, "1. Take attendance 2. Give all handouts to class leader and let her direct class for the rest of the period."). I've gradually moved away from group roles, which has made the class roles more meaningful as well. This year, I've decided to split up some of the jobs into two roles: a Class Leader, who sort of runs many of the starting and ending class routines, and a Materials Manager, who takes care of supplies and handouts/class organization.


  1. When I got to my current job 7 1/2 years ago I was shocked that they didn't have student white boards. I made 32 1x1's out of a sheet. They are VERY durable and I still use them all the time.

    In fact, a couple of years later, I bought one and cut the 4x8 sheet into thirds and mounted them on the wall. I'd have groups go up and work out problems on there. It went really well.

    I wasn't going to get into this #made4math thing, but I might have to, because there's a cool thing I've done with J-Channel for vocab words I am realizing I need to share with the world.

  2. Awesome, glad to hear that they are so durable. We have a class set of small whiteboards that are plain on one side and have a coordinate graph on the other side, but I love the idea of bigger whiteboards to encourage group work and that will make presentations to the class easier. I'd love to hear about J-Channel - you should definitely blog about it!

  3. You've reminded me that I need to go to Lowe's soon! :) I really really really love the idea of the Class Leader though! I am totally stealing that idea!