Tag Archives: Whiteboarding

Even More Whiteboards!

I know that I just cut up a bunch of big 2′ x 4′ whiteboards the other day (or rather, had Lowes cut them up for me), but I had a few extra and thought that maybe I’d like some of the hand-held variety.

I had looked into these before, but was discouraged when I saw this:



So even at $7.81 per board (it’s on “sale” at $21 for three),  for 30 whiteboards, that would be more than $200!!

The large whiteboards at Lowes are <$15, even with having them cut it into quarters (my 2′ x 4′ rectangles). So you could buy a saw (mine was $30 at Lowes) and still not even get close to the price of buying these things online.

I cut mine into 8″ x 12″ because it went nicely into the three 2′ x 4′ boards.  Now I’ve got 34 small whiteboards[1]!  Here are pictures.


Looks jagged, but is fairly smooth.


Made lines in pencil first.


Halfway through this board. It’s good to hold it for the second half so it doesn’t twist off and give a bad rip in the middle. Or put it on two tables of equal height.


Some are cut; you see the clamps I used, as well as the jigsaw.


Done cutting!


The entire set of 36! You see the large whiteboards in the background. And yes that bench says “math”–it’s my father-in-law’s. He was a MS math teacher for 26 years.


[1] I have 36, but I got drill-happy before, so two of the boards have large 2″ holes near the middle of the board.



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More Whiteboards!

Last year I went out and bought 2′ x 3′ whiteboards and drilled holes in them so I could hang them around the walls.  It was an old school and so the principal gave me the go ahead to do whatever I wanted to the room’s walls. However, I shared the room and the tables weren’t moving anywhere (because of the other teacher(s) who liked it how it was), so I didn’t use the “vertical non-permanent surfaces” as much as I would have liked. Though I still used them plenty. But students got tired of hanging them on the wall, so they just worked on the whiteboards in groups around the room.

This year I have my own room. And I’m going to go crazy on the vertical whiteboard front. The 3 lb. command strips that I got last year didn’t last the entire year–several broke early on. This time, I’m going with the 5 lb. command strips (2 per board). But my boards are all in NM for the next teacher at my old school, so I went to Lowes to buy more.

They came in 4′ x 8′ sections, and I wanted 2′ x 3′ sections. However, you do the math–that would leave extra space, so I just asked the Lowes people to cut it down to 2′ x 4′ sections for me. Each board at about $15, and I have 26 students max (much lower than I anticipated!!), so I’m planning for 28 at most, so I wanted at least 14 boards. That meant four 4′ x 8′ boards, or about $60. But this investment will last years. I hope.

Oh, and 2′ x 4′ hopefully will be nicer in one way: I don’t have to worry about finding the exact height for all the tall vs short students. If the boards are hung vertically, then there’s lots of up and down “wiggle room”. I just hope the 5 lb. strips will hold!

Did the hole drilling thing again (it worked well last year, until the command strips came down).


The setup. Clamps + drill + “doorknob” drillbit.


Whew, got a lot to drill! (14 of these!)


Brown = dust from after the drilling.


Measure them carefully so that the boards aren’t crooked when hung.


All done!


The leftover cutouts. Trying to think of a good way to use them. Statue-stands?

But if you do the math, I have 2 extra 2′ x 4′, so I think I’m going to use my new Jigsaw (Jig Saw?) to cut these down into personal whiteboards, in case there’s a day I’d like to do that kind of review. Might as well, right?

The nice thing about the command strips + whiteboards with holes is that I can have bulletin boards AND whiteboards on all the walls. Of course, all my bulletin boards are bare right now, so time to work on that!



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Whiteboarding: Getting Students to “Read Your Mind”

Okay, so title is a lie.  I used to hate it when teachers ask those questions looking for a specific word, and then the crickets start cause of the silence of the classroom.  I hope I am quick to jump in and correct myself, usually once I realized I’ve asked that kind of question.  This activity had me feeling a little like that, but since I was flexible, I think it worked out okay in the end.

First, we defined “insulator” and “conductor”, so they had they words, but they were definitely lacking the ideas.  We then proceeded through three PhET Electricity & Magnetism Simulations.  At each simulation, I asked them to write down observations on large whiteboards.  I also told them that I had very specific observations that I was looking for, and when they got one of the observations, I would walk around and mark it with a star from a red marker.  Then, at the end of 5-10 minutes, the group with the most marked observations would win candy (no, I’m not above base motivation).  Students started to realize what I was and was not looking for (“The balloon is yellow”).  At the end of the 10 minutes everyone would read their marked comments and we’d wrap up the discussion with a few specific questions I wanted them to answer.

The activity was good.  Not great, just good.  I liked how it got them talking (this is that really, really quiet class), and they were engaged in the simulations, which was good.  Unfortunately it was less of a “present what you have seen” and more just “read what you found”.  Other students were engaged in their own simulations and had trouble listening to each other (even though at one point I had them close their laptop lids).  With a few modifications, I think this would be a good way to show students Physics ideas and concepts.

Here are the three simulations I used:

Balloons and Static Electricity

John Travoltage

Electric Hockey


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