Saturday, November 30, 2013

Cheap White Boards

The $2 White Board
I know that lots of other teachers use white boards regularly. Over break I went to Lowe's and got two 4'x8' sheets of wall board cut down into six boards each (free cutting when you tell them you're a teacher!).  I'm going to cut up some fleece to be erasers, and I've got the $2 white boards!  I bought 4 boards from Amazon several weeks ago (for $17 each!), and they have revolutionized my calculus class, so I'm looking forward to introducing these to Math 9.  In class, students get up to get boards on their own, and love to figure things out on them.

Freedom to Explore

Students feel more free to try things out and to make/correct errors when they are using whiteboards.  And, who doesn’t love a bright purple marker?  The only issues: comparing work later and having records to use for future problem solving.  Enter the smartphone camera!


Almost all of my students have fancy phones, so I’ve started asking them to take photos of their work before they erase, and to title it in their phone memory.  Now students have been zooming in on their photos on phone cameras to remember what they did and to compare their work. They can e-mail photos to me or to each other.

One student got a classroom sized whiteboard for her birthday from her retired-math-professor grandmother.  She regularly works on assignments at home on her board, takes photos of them, and then sends them to me, both for advice to get unstuck and to turn in her work.  


  1. I love that you're letting students submit photos of their work as an assignment. Might want to require them to write their names on the thing before photographing it, as a bit of a hedge against plagiarism.

    Did you get the whiteboards cut into 2' x 2.66' whiteboards? Or some other size? What a great idea.

  2. Yes, names are a good idea. With so few students, I actually know their handwriting quite well at this point.

    Yes, 2' x 2.66' boards, well the .6 is actually repeating, but you get the drift. They are quite heavy, but will be fine when left in the classroom.

  3. It has always amazed me how much more accessible math seems with colored markers on a white board.

  4. I remember doing that for my classroom - several classrooms ago. Last year I found this great whiteboard paper on a roll - maybe Hobby Lobby? - that turns any surface into a whiteboard. My current room had a bank of windows that 1) let in too much light to see the LCD projector well, 2) was distracting anytime a delivery truck made a stop at the school cafeteria, and 3) didn't give me space to post. I bought a couple of rolls of the whiteboard stuff. You just unroll it and stick it to the windows. It has been up since last April and it works GREAT!
    Also I have tried many things for erasers over the years. The best and cheapest iteration is a pack of brightly colored washcloths bought from the dollar store - cut into quarters. The work great as erasers, they are bright colored so they don't get lost, and when they get dirty, I just throw them in the washing machine with my rags and they are good as new. At first they will shed some threads where you cut them, but it doesn't seem to be a problem any more.

  5. Excellent idea about having them take pictures! I often take pictures with my ipad to project to the Apple TV, but this is better for them to have at home as a reference.

  6. Diana, that's a great idea! I'll have to look into that. I just made some fleece erasers...we'll see how they work out.

  7. Anna, I would like to set things up so that I can project stuff in my room. I have mostly avoided dealing with tech up until now. Thanks for your note!

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