No doubt you remember how annoying it was when new sticks of chalk snapped in two under even the feeblest of pressures and you were forced to use teeny tiny pieces of chalk almost too small to grip. And when summer sunbeams would enter the classroom window and let you see how much powder was floating around and up everyone’s noses; especially after wiping the board clean.
Thankfully, the days of cloudy blackboards and lung-busting dusters in the classroom are well and truly behind us. The age of the whiteboard is here.
This page was set up to highlight why whiteboards are awesome and how you can make better use of whiteboards in your classroom with colors, ideas, and entertaining whiteboard learning games.
While colored chalk was freely available, teachers mostly used white chalk. Probably because other colors tend to blend into the black background and students could hardly make out the difference in colors anyway. Or picking up multicolored pieces of broken chalk from the floor didn’t make it any less annoying.
Whatever the reasons were, whiteboard pens are much different. They also come in a variety of colors. Teachers are more tempted to use them, especially black, red, blue, and green. Different colored pens keep the material interesting and possibly easier to memorize since it adds some creativity to the teaching process, combining elements of the left and right side of the brain.
According to all-round genius and inventor of Mind Maps, Tony Buzan, Mind Maps for kids and adults work best when they make use of different colors. Something to think about even if you don’t plan on making use of Mind Maps in class to help your students learn the material.
A good eraser will likely clear all the areas you wrote on but what if you are using a whiteboard that hasn’t been wiped in weeks? Or what if you forget to clean the whiteboard for a while and now the ink seems like it will be there for the rest of eternity? Never fear, the solution is here.
To get rid of stubborn pen marks, simply go back over them again with one of your whiteboard markers to moisten the dried-in ink before wiping off the whole mark with your eraser. Simples.
The large, clean area of a whiteboard is ideal for projecting an image or movie. Imagine having all your students watching a video on a large screen rather than wheeling in a 20” TV and then having all your students squint as they try to make out what’s going on.
Many subjects don’t require the use of a whiteboard but that doesn’t mean it can’t be used to inject a bit of fun into your lessons. You can use it for fun learning activities. Or you can use it for keeping track of points in a question and answer team challenge. It’s up to you how you use a whiteboard to vary the way you teach and keep students interested.
There are times in the classroom when you want your students to stay quiet while listening to what you have to say while other times you want to encourage questions and interaction. For quiet times, it’s common for students to want to raise questions about what they hear. If you’re happy to do so, you may stop and take the question. Write it up on the board and plan to return to it later when you are finished.
On the other hand, during discussion time there will be questions you may not know the answer to and need to research it for the next class. Again, write them up so you don’t forget and everyone knows what to expect.
Getting up in front of the class to answer a question or giving class presentations can be nerve-wracking experiences for many students. One way to avoid upsetting nervous students and instead build their confidence is by asking them to come up and write or draw something. This means they don’t have to give their answer out loud and you can even give them feedback as they write to further promote their self-belief.
Fun Whiteboard Activities
Here are some ideas you can use as fun whiteboard activities:
For hundreds more fun class activities that make great use of your whiteboard, check out 1001 Fun Class Activities and Learning Games
- Guess the Phrase: Most kids today probably won’t get the reference to the term “Hangman” but you can still make use of the game play. The game doesn’t need an official name anyway. You begin by writing the topic of the phrase and then draw the number of dashes required to complete the phrase on the board. Invite your students to raise their hands and guess a letter. Keep going until one student gets the complete phrase. Then it’s the winning student’s turn to write up the topic and dashes for the phrase. They can always whisper it to you beforehand to ensure the right number of dashes.
- Pictionary: Pictures are often better than words because they stimulate more areas of the brain. Write some animal names or objects on pieces of paper. Ask for a volunteer to come up and draw the term you give them. The rest of the class will then guess what it is. Again, the winner will then come up and draw the next one.
- Pictionary Plus: A more advanced and more exciting version of Pictionary. Divide the class into 3 teams. Choose 3 people, one from each team. You will say a word and then those 3 will run up to the board and draw the thing you said. The first team to draw the correct object gets a point. Choose other team members for the next round and so on until all members have had a chance to draw.