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Whiteboard Activities

We have found that the whiteboard camps seem pretty evenly divided; either you love them or hate them. In previous columns we built whiteboards on-the-cheap; today we have tips for using them in the classroom. Similar to handing out individual chalkboards for student use, whiteboards are the new answer to board work. For better or worse, they are now replacing some of the larger green chalkboards many classrooms have on their walls.

For more info, previous Teachnet.Com stories on white boards include:

The teachers from the T2T mailing list recently shared these ideas for putting whiteboards to use in their own classrooms...

In math we use white boards as a check for understanding. We work on a problem and they can write their answer down and hold it up. This also works with spelling. The kids love it!!! -GABSJA

I made white boards for my second grade class last summer. I used them during the year for the kids to keep score for math games, and during whole group lessons they wrote their answers on them. They would then hold up their boards to show me their answers. The kids really like the white boards and the dry erase markers. They either like to sniff the markers or complain about the smell. There are low-odor and different chemical based markers if people are allergic to the basic kind. Just make sure you don't store the boards with any marker left on them, because they will stain. Lots of luck! -vogelfam

I use white boards often in my 1st grade classroom because I find that it helps to keep the students engaged in learning. In reading groups, I use them for familiar writing of known words, to practice word families, to teach new words, or to quickly write down responses to questions. Additionally, I find that the children like when they are a part of a reading workboard center. The children used them to practice spelling words with a friend. They are also handy in a large group when you really want to observe what students know. -CheetaKat3

We use our white boards for practicing spelling words, syllables, math problems, division... if every one has to work it on the white board, I can see who is having a problem. -Avis

Also can be used for individual games.. tic tac toe, hangman, etc. I find that if they have a spare moment.. they also draw on them! At least the fingers are busy!! -AJB

I use whiteboards for all sorts of things. They practice their handwriting on whiteboards before we go to the book. They do math facts on their boards. They can practice spelling words on the boards (this is a real incentive because for some reason they think it is such a treat). They also make good lap board when kids are writing on the floor. -DebbieB

Sweet Treats

Always in need of cheap incentives for the classroom, our friend, Mrs. Mac (Olathe, KS), saves fancy oil and vinegar bottles. Wash them well with a grease-cutting detergent to get rid of the herb smell, then fill the dry bottles with small candy - M&Ms and Skittles work great. Cork the bottle and tie with curly ribbon for a VERY inexpensive treat! Give them as gifts to aids and helpers or have students enter their names in a weekly drawing for each time they score a 100%.

What? You don't go through a lot of vinegar and oil? Check with local restaurants and ask for their empties. (In Mrs. Mac's neighborhood, a local Williams-Sonoma is happy to help out.) Ask them to just set them aside for you - no need to wash them (you can do that!). You'll find many restaurants that are happy to help a teacher out.