If someone asked me what is one item a new teacher must have in their classroom, I would have to say… mini whiteboards. Of course, that does mean you’d also need whiteboard markers and erasers, but it is a worthwhile investment.
After such a statement you may be thinking, what’s so amazing about mini whiteboards. Well, here are 7 reasons why you need them in your classroom:
1. Get the whole class involved
My Maths lessons revolve around mini whiteboards. I use them during explicit teaching lessons to gauge immediate feedback on student learning by having them complete the question on their board, with working out and all! I ask the students to hold their boards up when they finish, so I can quickly check it students are on track and make a mental note of those needing more consolidation.
2. Teacher led group work
With all the differentiated teaching I do nowadays I find my mini whiteboards get a workout. If I am teaching a maths skill, students can use them to practise a concept over and over again. Additionally, during reading groups, I may get students to predict what the text will be about, record the new vocabulary they discover, or record all the saying verbs used in the text. Those are just a few examples and this way I can get valuable data on my students learning and record such information in my anecdotal notes.
3. Game show time
A whole class quiz or quick question time is made easier with mini whiteboards. When asking a question, instead of students putting their hands up, they can write their responses on the board. The positives are:
1) It is quiet because no one is calling out the answers.
2) Friendly competition adds an element of excitement.
3) Every student is involved in the thinking!
4. Spell checker
During writing lessons often students are vying for my attention mainly so I can be their human dictionary. Instead, students use the mini whiteboard as a have-a-go pad. They take a guess on their board and I come around and check the word and record the correct spelling if necessary. It saves students leaving their hand up for ages and losing valuable writing time.
I use mini whiteboards for quick brainstorming activities. I find this is a helpful tool for when students are anxious about making mistakes (mini whiteboards allow them to easily erase an idea and therefore take more risks). Additionally, it helps them get their ideas down and start formulating their plan for the task ahead. Of course, there are times where I want evidence of students planning but for other times when it’s not necessary, mini whiteboards for the win!
6. Perfect for rotations
Sometimes having students recording their learning in a workbook is just too much effort due to limited time (we are realists over here at Rainbow Sky). Mini whiteboards are a quick and efficient way for students to record their responses during literacy or maths rotations, whether it’s an independent activity or game. If I really need evidence of learning I’ll ask them to take a photo with a device or upload the image onto a communal platform like Seesaw or Google Classroom.
7. Do your bit for the environment
In our profession as teachers, we can easily use a lot of paper. It terrifies me sometimes just the vast quantity of paper I can use in a term. For this reason, I find using mini whiteboards helps alleviate the amount of paper I need for my class. Applied with our paper recycling bin in the classroom, I don’t feel like I need to go and plant a rainforest at the end of the year.
I hope this helped you see the value in owning mini whiteboards, and there is more good news... a class set can last quite a few years!
Another tip: I use eucalyptus oil ( also available in a spray) to clean off really stubborn whiteboard marks. My class also taught me antibacterial gel works a treat too!
We are always looking for great teaching ideas. If you have other brilliant ways you use mini whiteboards in the classroom please share them in the comments below.
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