Responsible for Your School’s Budget? Invest in Whiteboards!
Whether you’re handling petty cash or dealing with the budget for the whole department, every teacher will find themselves responsible for a portion of their school’s finances at some point in their career. Monitoring school finances is just one of the many tasks you didn’t necessarily sign up for when you became a teacher, but it’s a vital cog in the running of the school so it’s important that the job is done well.
There are many different tools and investments that are worthy of a portion of your school’s budget. Today we’re going to talk about just one: The Whiteboard.
What’s so Great about School Whiteboards?
Why have whiteboards become such a vital tool in schools? Well, there are loads of different reasons.
Better Student Engagement
Paper and pencils just aren’t as much fun as dry erase markers. If you’re working in a primary school, your students will always be more excited if their work involves writing on a whiteboard.
Easier to See How Students Are Doing
One of the easiest ways to quickly assess how your students are doing is to have them answer questions, explain their ideas or solve a sum on a whiteboard. If you have multiple personal or mobile whiteboards, you can get a number of students to work on a problem at the same time and then all reveal their answers at once. This will allow you to see if some or all of them are struggling with the exercise without having to walk around and talk to each student individually.
Keeps Students Occupied if You Have to Leave the Room
Many teachers find themselves being constantly interrupted during classes. Unplanned guests, minor emergencies and phone calls can all drag a teacher out of the room without giving them enough time to plan a new activity.
Asking your students to use the whiteboard to list multiples of 7, come up with all the compound words they can think of or practice their handwriting will keep them occupied while you’re out of the room.
Made a Mistake? No Problem!
Everything you write with a dry erase marker is temporary. All mistakes are gone with just a quick swipe of the eraser. Whether they’re struggling or simply eager to make everything perfect, your students will be more willing to make mistakes in this safer learning environment.
Reusable and Set-Up Free
A whiteboard requires no special skills as they’re so easy to use. Like their older cousin, the blackboard, their easy erasure makes them perfect for spontaneous work and quick explanations. Unfolding processes like sums, matching exercises, discussion and ranking activities and note-taking all benefit from the use of a whiteboard.
Key Tips when Using a Whiteboard
Try to keep these pointers in mind when using your school whiteboard:
- Students will need an uninterrupted and direct view of the whiteboard. Keep in mind that students sitting at the sides of the room may not always have this view. After you write something, move to one side so everyone can see the board again.
- Make sure that your writing on the board is clear and large enough for students to read from the back of the room. Try to use dark-coloured pens – like blue or black – as these are easier to read.
- Learn how to write on the board with eyes in the back of your head, especially if you have younger students. Having the teacher turned away for too long can prove just too tempting for more mischievous students, so turn to face them as often as you can. Experienced teachers learn how to watch their students while they write!
- Before you clean the board, make sure every student has finished taking notes. Some students find copying from the board more difficult than others, and may need a little extra time.
- If you’re having students take down notes from the board, make sure they’re accurate and grammatically correct. It’s fine to have the odd bad writing habit, but don’t let your students learn them from you.
One of the many perks of a whiteboard is the enhanced opportunities for collaboration it offers your class. You can encourage your students to work together on a shared board by integrating the whiteboard into your learning. This will mean that rather than simply being recipients of prepared information, your pupils will get to become part of the lesson. This added immersion should help them to better understand and recall the subject matter being discussed.
If you only teach one class group, or happen to have the same class group two periods in a row, leaving the previous session’s notes on the board for the beginning of the next class is a handy way of allowing the group to re-familiarise themselves with the last set of information before moving onto the next one. Of course, many teaching timetables won’t allow for this, but if yours does try making use of it!
Whiteboard or Chalkboard?
While most schools by now are operating on whiteboards, some older schools may still have their old blackboards in place. It can be difficult to decide whether or not to replace your old blackboard, especially if you’ve been working on it for some time, but many teachers are now making the switch for a number of reasons.
We’ve explored some of the reasons for the change in our infographic: Why Teachers Prefer School Whiteboards to Chalkboards.
If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy the following blog posts:
- The Advantages of Magnetic Whiteboards for Teachers
- Why Magnetic Whiteboards Prove to Be Popular Amongst Schools
- What Your School Classroom Needs to Be the Perfect Learning Environment
- 8 Whiteboard Accessories You Won’t Be Without
- Our Top 5 Blog Posts of 2018