The use of individual white boards (slates) can be a powerful
tool. Unfortunately, small white board slates can be very expensive when you are
considering purchasing a class set.
| White board slates can be easily and cheaply produced. Purchase a sheet (4' by
8') of white bathroom wall board - you'll recognize it quickly as it resembles classroom
white boards. Cut the sheet into the size boards you wish to use. One
sheet creates 8 larger (2' by 2') white boards or 18 smaller (16" by 16")
white boards. The bathroom wall board can be easily cut with a
circular saw or table saw and the cut edge should be roughly sanded.
Some home improvement stores will cut the bathroom board for you free of
charge (or for a minimal cost) if you tell them you are a teacher and
wish to use it in your classroom.
| These homemade white boards work in the same manner as classroom white boards.
They can be wiped clean with a dry cloth (or eraser) and should be cleaned occasionally
with a regular household spray cleaner. When you have your entire class using the white
boards, be sure to use low-odor markers. If regular odor markers
are used with an entire class, the smell can become quite strong.
Wash cloths purchased from a Dollar Store serve as good "erasers" for
the students and only require washing once or twice a year.
| White board slates can be used for many student activities (drill and practice,
review, group work, presentations, etc.) The tactile nature of the boards serves as
a wonderful, out-of-the-ordinary motivational tool for the students. In addition,
the slates can be used as a teaching tool for "do now problems" which are
written ahead of time and displayed by placing the white board slate in the chalk tray.
Used in this manner, the slates can replace an easel or overhead. The slates
are also a wonderful tool for quickly discussing a "side" topic that pops up
during a chalkboard demonstration. Concepts can be illustrated without confusing the
students' perception of the concept under development on the board.
The larger boards can also be used for
listing homework assignments and can be placed anywhere in the
classroom, thus saving your chalkboard space.