Individual Student Whiteboards

Synopsis prepared by Lee Risley
This statement started the great whiteboard “rush” in FLTeach in September of 1996.  By the end of 1997 no fewer than 76 persons had made contributions to this discussion in one form or another.
From-->  Linda Gump <> 
Subject: Individual student whiteboards 

“We just tried out a new idea, & the kids loved it!!  We all know how 
kids love to write on the board.  What we did was purchase small 
individual whiteboards for each student in the class.... 

“I used them initially to review for a test, and they begged to do it 
again.  You can do any number of different types of activities using 
them.  I'm going to leave them on the floor under each student desk 
ready for use at any time.  Now everybody gets to practice, not just the 
student going to the board!  It's a relatively cheap investment for a 
year of great activities!” 

       Linda Gump, Addison, Texas 

A. Sizes, shapes, cost, where and how to obtain.
B. Markers.
C. Erasing.
D. Typical reaction by students to the use of whiteboards:
E. Potential problems and a fair number of solutions.
F. Insights by teachers in how to use whiteboards.
G. How whiteboards are being put to use by FL teachers.
H. Some variations and alternatives to whiteboards

A. Sizes, shapes, cost, where and how to obtain:

Whiteboards are of varying sizes, generally between 12” square up to 18” square. There has been no discussion of the size. I’d think maybe a happy medium of 15” square might be good for high school and 12” square for elementary and middle school. (As far as middle school is concerned, larger than 12” square might become a tempting weapon.) A class set of whiteboards will fit into one of the plastic “milk” crates now available for storage in office supply houses and elsewhere.

These whiteboards are usually, though not necessarily, made of a common type of bathroom paneling called melamine which is available in 4’ x 8’ sheets at home improvement stores. One of these sheets generally costs $8-$15. Your final charge may well depend on charges for cutting into the sizes you ask for. (32 boards of a 12” square size, 24 of 12” x 15” size, and 18 of 15” square size.) Of course you may be able to cut these yourself or prevail upon a friend. One contributor suggests that businesses often will do the cutting free of charge for teachers. Carlex (an educational supplies company) also carries these whiteboards already cut for you, but they are a little more expensive than doing it yourself.


97/11 From-->  Judith Shick <>
Subject:  Re: Dry-erase boards.... PLEASE HELP

We love to use white boards. My husband cut 28 from a large piece of
Marlite for me. The students paid for 2 markers/student in their class
fees. I keep them all in a basket (28 at a time), 28 erasers (they came
with the markers) and 28 boards. The students hand them out and pick
them up. I loved that ' timing them' idea. The odor is strong. You can
buy low-odor markers. Use them only 5-10 minutes/class. There are so
many great ways to use them!

Judy Shick

97/12  From-->  Bethanie Carlson <>
Subject: A White board time saver

I recently began using white boards in class, thanks to the wonderful
ideas posted on this list. I was able to get them for 5 cents each at a
wonderful treasure chest of a store called American Science and Surplus
in Chicago. They have a catalog, but I do not know where it is right
now, so I will look for it if people are interested.

As for the time saver, I had study hall students who claimed they had
"nothing to do" (yeah, right!!!!) help me assemble "white board kits" by
putting a white board, old clean sock (for an eraser), and a marker in a
ziploc bag. We can now collect or distribute the bags with all necessary
materials in less than one minute, which is a definite improvement over
the time it took to hand out each individually.

Bethanie Carlson

B. Markers.

For writing on the whiteboards most people use a “dry-erase” marker, which apparently doesn’t rub off onto clothes in such a way as to seriously discolor them. The writing is removed by rubbing the whiteboard vigorously with old toweling, socks that no longer have mates, etc. A number of people remarked upon the problem of the smell of the markers becoming unpleasant (and headache-causing) in a classroom, especially when used period after period. Open windows don’t seem to help much, but several teachers group their students in pairs or trios with one whiteboard each, so that there is 1/2 to 1/3 as much air pollution created. One teacher wrote in that the dry-erase markers made under the “MARKS A LOT” brand do not smell much. Depending on circumstances, the markers usually cost between $1.00 and $1.50. (Apparently both permanent and non-permanent traditional markers WILL make permanent marks on clothing and should not be used.--The washable markers smear all over the place when used on the boards and also they are a lot harder to see.  The ink is not really compatible with the surface of the boards.--Grease pencils will work, but they don’t show up as much. Clean boards occasionally with vegetable oil.)

Cost is a factor mentioned by quite a few teachers.  Combined with the common fact that the markers quite often gradually disappear from class over the course of a week, we have a problem. There were a couple of accountability ideas suggested, but it may be cumbersome to try to pin down every marker every day. The most popular idea, however, seemed to be that each child should be held accountable for furnishing a marker. If a child forgets the marker, then that person’s work is done with pencil and paper, apparently a real “bummer” for most kids. One enterprising teacher will allow a student to rent a marker for one period, and some will sell markers to students although they prefer  not to.


96/09  From--> Kathy Colvin <>
Subject: Re: Individual student whiteboards –Reply

I have used whiteboards for years.  My students are required to bring
their own dry erase marker to class every day.   I usually keep a supply
in the room for them to buy from me if they want to when theirs run out,
but am careful to tell them they are free to buy them anywhere.   I've
never had any complaints about having them available for the kids to
buy.   This way it doesn't come out of our limited budget.   The kids
don't like to have to write on a sheet of paper when everyone is getting
to use the boards, so most of them show up with a marker.
Kathy Colvin

97/06  From-->
Subject: Re: Missing whiteboard markers
Like Irene, I required my students to have their own dry erase markers.  If
they didn't have one, I sold them for $1... sometimes if I was in a good
mood I rented them for $.25....  One unexpected bonus--- SEVERAL
students left their markers in the "community storage box" at the end of the
year.. I now have a wonderful supply of markers for next year!!!

Melissa Badger


97/06  From--> Dianna Janke <>
Subject:      Missing whiteboard markers -Reply

Mine are required to buy their own.  If they don't have one, they write
on paper.  That's not fun and I cannot give them feedback so most bring
theirs.  There are a few who never get their materials together.  Those
are generally the ones who  never get anything together.



97/11  From-->  Jason Riding <riding@POSTOFFICE.WORLDNET.ATT.NET>
Subject:  Whiteboards

I am a second year teacher and am using whiteboards for the first time
this year. I told my students at the beginning of the year that I would
furnish one classroom set of markers so that they could test out the
boards and then they would have to buy their own. My highschoolers love
them and were sad as the markers ran out of ink. I told them that they
needed to bring in their own and they came up with an alternate. They
decided that we should have a marker fund that they could put their
spare change into. This way the students don't have to worry about
carrying around a marker. So far they are paying for the markers and
taking better care of them once they are purchased. Some kids even go
and buy markers and drop them in the marker fund. I actually like the
students' alternative better than my own :-).


97/08  From--> Lori Albright
Subject: Re: whiteboards


My husband buys the better quality "Tub Surround" that can be found in
any building supply store and cuts them in 12" squares.  I get 32 from
a 4'x8' sheet that costs about $20.00. I require my students to provide their
own markers or it can get very expensive. Kids are notorious for schmussing
the tip and then throwing them away. I use them a lot for vocab: they draw a
picture of the word but we also do written activities and even some listening
activities, too. The kids (high school level) really enjoy them. And because I
see each student’s product I know where there are problems.

Lori Albright


97/08 From--> Jocelyn D Raught <>
Subject: Re: Whiteboard help

Just ask the kids at the beginning of the year to each have their own
white board marker, just as you would a pen, notebook or paper. It is
part of our FL dept. class supplies requirement.

Jocelyn Raught


97/11  From-->  Cynthia Karmik <>
Subject: Re: Dry-erase boards-reply

I have dry erase boards in my room and they are wonderful!! The reason
my district put them in my room was due to the fact I have computers -
chalk dust can do a number on them!! The kids love them and always want
to write their assignments on the board. There is no harsh smell and my
markers last a semester, if not more. There are several teachers in our
building who want to change over to dry-erase boards from chalkboards.
I'm 100% in favor, hope your district will be too!

C. Karmik


97/11 From--> Duveen Penner <>
Subject: Re: Dry erase boards

This is the second year I have used dry-erase boards. Last year, my
class of markers made it almost the entire year. This year, I required
each student to bring their own. If you buy in bulk, the kids can get
them for about $1 apiece. I've had no complaints about the requirement,
and the kids tend not to doodle nearly as much when they are using up
their own markers by doing so!

Duveen in Nebraska


97/08  From-->  Pat Kessler <>
Subject:  Re: Whiteboard help

Michael - I go to our local Sam's Club and buy a pack of 12 for about
$9.00. My students need to supply their own markers (otherwise they
don't worry about closing them tightly & they dry out very quickly).
They may either purchase their own markers or buy them from me. When I
start to run low I just make a return trip to Sam's. This has worked
well for me. I also make sure to keep several on hand for those students
who "lost mine", "it just dried up", etc.

We also tried purchasing them through our school supply center. They
were not very adequate and dried out quickly.

Good luck!
Pat Kessler

C. Erasers.

The mess?
97/08  From-->   Julianne Baird <>
Subject:  Re: whiteboards

>Thanks for all of the neat white board ideas. Now, what do you clean the
>darn things with and if each kid has one, how do you keep from creating
>a mess?

I use the brown paper towels used in our bathroom. They work fine. Some
of my kids discovered that regular paper works OK. I usually have a
stack of scrap paper. It will work in a pinch. Last year the Spanish
teachers used old (but well laundered) socks. Even though they were
clean and they worked well, some of the kids were repulsed by the fact
that they were using some one else's socks.

Julie Baird

97/08  From-->  Sandra Howard <>
Subject:  to erase whiteboards


I use cut-up old tee-shirts to erase my white boards. I keep them in a
bag in the drawer with the whiteboards. I take them home twice a year &
throw them in the washer. I call them chiffons; they really aren't
eponges. I call the boards petits tableaux blancs.



97/08  From-->  Lynn Shirk <>
Subject:  Re: whiteboards

I tried the sock idea at the beginning of the year last year but found
that my students were indeed repulsed by them. Then I cut up an old
sweatshirt into small squares of material. This worked quite well and
since the shirt was dark purple, you can't even see the marker stains
that do develop after several board cleanings.

Lynn Shirk

97/11  From-->  Andrea Merrifield <>
Subject:  Re: Dry-erase boards.... PLEASE HELP

I use the white boards in my middle school exploratory classes.  I make them use
low-odor markers---the others give me a migraine so you might want to be
careful of yourself and your students. One hint I haven't seen, is to buy
packages of shop cloths at Wal-Mart---25 for $3.00 to use as erasers.  I hand
them out one per table of two so I have a spare set when I need to wash them.

Andrea Merrifield

97/08  From--> "James C. May" <>
Subject: Re: whiteboards

I have a bunch of old bath towels I keep to use as rags. I simply tore
some up. I then have a student distribute them when we use whiteboards
and collect them when they are done. I have heard of teachers buying
washcloths for this purpose but that gets to be expensive.

James C. May


97/08  From--> Richard Lee <>
Subject: Re: whiteboards

Another thought comes to my mind. Go to an automobile parts place. They
sell cheap "shop towels" (the red or orange cloths to wipe up oil and
grease on a car engine which they use in a garage). You can buy a bundle
of them for a reasonable price. I don't remember the exact price I paid,
but not too much.

Richard Lee


97/11  From--> Rosie Wendt <p_rwendt@K12.MEC.OHIO.GOV>
Subject: Re: Dry-erase boards...


I am fortunate enough to have a supply list that the students need to
have at the beginning of the year in order to be successful in my
classroom. It includes the normal items--notebook, paper, pencils, index
cards, etc I also put on either 1 dry erase marker or 1 box of
Kleenex--student's choice. That way I have to buy neither of the latter
for my classes. I haven't had any students or parents complain so far.
Perhaps you could try the same thing.

I  try to alternate days on which I use white boards--8th on one day 7th on
a different one.  6 or 7 classes using the markers would make it almost
impossible to breathe the air by the end of the day.

Rosie Wendt

D. Typical reaction by students to the use of whiteboards:

96/09  From-->  "J. Vincent H. Morrissette" <>
Subject:      Whiteboards- what for

I've been using the whiteboards for the first time this year, thanks to all
your suggestions and all your enthusiasm on FLTEACH. The students love
them, as do I. They are so much more involved in class activities, whether
I am checking them individually as they raise their boards or in groups as
they try to win a FRANC for themselves and their teammates. The fever has
caught on in the department; since observing how students are excited about
my class, two veteran teachers have *demanded* whiteboards for their
classrooms -- one has taught 17 years and the other 34 years in our school.
How wonderful to see old-timers rekindle their fervor for teaching and what
a heart-warming feeling for this department chair who doesn't have to wield
the big stick to get more communicative activities in the language classes!
Now, I'd like to know... What is outburst (the game)???

Cheers and sunshine to y'all!


97/06  From-->  Donna Coolidge <>
Subject:      Re: Missing whiteboard markers

Regarding the use of whiteboards in the classroom, I went to our local
builder supply store and bought a sheet of shower board.  They cut it in
10" by 12" pieces for me so that I have one for every student.  The
students donate clean old socks that we use as erasers.  My students
love any activity we do that involves the dry boards.  They hurry to
write their answers and take pride in getting them right for all to
see.  Some look around and check another student's answer before
committing and writing his/her own, but since they are practice
activities, that is fine.  I highly recommend the use of individual dry
boards in the classroom!



97/11  From-->  Liz Klem <>
Subject:      Re: Dry-erase boards.... PLEASE HELP

<< You can get kids to write on a white board who seldom even write on paper!
<<It is a great technique.  Go for it!

This is really the key with the whiteboards--even when they are practicing
"boring" things like listening, spelling or verb endings there is
participation from almost everyone.  Far more than with other ways.  It is
easy to intersperse the less exciting things with the more fun activities
because the kids are enthusiastic.  It is better than writing on the board
because it involves the group.
I purchased the whiteboards myself but have the kids responsible for the
markers.  I will not lend them out but have a supply for sale (after the
first few weeks when they had to bring them in).  If they do not have a
marker they often can borrow one from a classmate or use paper or pencil but
just for a day or two.  We keep them in the basket under the desk (I have the
luxury of my own room these days) along with the shop rags that I bought.
 The biggest problem is that keeping them there causes them to get scratches
but they still work.  I am the only teacher in my dept using them and know
that there are varied opinions.  The bottom line is that they're working out

Go ahead and get them!


97/12  From-->  Louise Giordano <>
Subject:      Laughter and white boards


Just today we laughed (read that roared!) together in French class as I
had the students DRAW each item on their white boards while I dictated
recently learned clothing vocabulary. We all giggled as we noted how
most of us are totally inept in the art department! The shared
experience was wonderful and (I think!) reinforced our new vetements!

Laughter is truly the BEST "habit!"


E. Potential problems and a fair number of solutions.

Some people worry about children cutting themselves on the board edges. Most teachers don’t seem to think that is a problem, others cover the edges with masking tape.
96/10 From-->         John Young <>
Subject:      Re: Whiteboards, AGAIN

I used them today, but I gave it up after 1st period.  I need ideas on
how to manage 40 written answers in various stages of correctness
flashing before my eyes.

I thought about requiring that an entire team
have the same answer before raising their boards (like cooperative
learning's "numbered heads") and then going for speed, or calling on
just one person in the group.

Response: Often you will not have the kids raising and shaking their whiteboards, but leave them lying on the desks, so the teacher can pass by and easily check their large writing. Many teachers only pass out 8-10 whiteboards to a class that they have divided into teams as you can read below.
No one had any response to the comment that in New Jersey anything that is required for a course must be provided by the school. Of course this means students cannot be required to furnish their own dry-erase markers.

97/08  From--> Liz Klem <>
Subject: Re: Whiteboard tips

My husband took a little sandpaper to the rough whiteboard edges and they seem
pretty good now.  He did suggest that I may need to duct tape them but
hopefully not.  Tape can get pretty gooey when there's no AC.  I do like the
idea of numbering the backs--thanks for mentioning it.  A concern that popped
into my head is that some of my HS darlings will write naughty little words
on them (like they do everywhere else) and NOT with dry markers.  I sure hope
not but we'll see.  These may be the same kids that just have to spit tobacco
in the halls too; have to leave their mark on things.  Oh well.  It was fun
going to Builders' Square last week--the first person to help us thought
cutting the showerboard into pieces was dumb even when I tried to
explain--and was going to charge a fortune for the cuts.  He started doing
something else in the middle and another man had to finish the work.  HE
turned out to be an elementary teacher and finished the whiteboards
cheerfully!  It was great to find a kindred soul in the building supply
store.  I look forward to doing activities with the boards.  Thanks to all
for the great ideas.

Liz Klem


97/08  From--> Shannon Fineout <>
Subject: Whiteboard tips

I noticed that some of the edges were ragged and a little sharp. I have
students (tomorrow, in fact!) that would pick at those edges until there
was no white finish left. To solve that problem, I bought some strapping
tape and lined all the edges. 3/4" would do, and it's stronger than
masking. I also numbered the backs of each one, so I can keep better
track of them. Hopefully, I won't have to replace them each year.



97/08  From-->  Linda Schrimsher <>
Subject:  Re: Whiteboard tips

Strapping tape would do fine, but there are colored electrical tapes
that make the boards look really neat. My kids enjoy the different



97/11  From-->
Subject:      Re: Dry-erase boards.... PLEASE HELP

I teach psychotic middle school students and use the dry-erase boards
which I bought at my own expense because my voice was haggard from the
begging for supplies. I tell the students that I purchased the supplies
at my own expense and to take care of my things. They respect that.

My children have never gotten, or attempted, to get "high" from the

The boards were the easiest thing.  Builder's Square or Home Depot sells
plain white bathroom tile-board which is the same thing as marker boards -
without the pretty boarder.  I bought 4' X 8' sheet for about $10 and had
them cut it into smaller boards.

Having children bring in their own marker and kleenex is a good idea. I
spend a lot of time distributing markers and pieces of paper towel and
then collecting the markers which I do myself to ensure that the cap is
on tight and that I get my marker back.

Pros: Very useful in a variety of drill activities: time, numbers (math
problems with numbers) etc., weather.... The kids really like using
them. I can't figure out why, but...

Cons:  The markers seem to dry out quickly.

Hope this helps.

Todd in Hockeytown


97/11 From-->         "Susan J. Mitchell" <>
Subject:      Re: Dry-erase boards.... PLEASE HELP

I bought my showerboard at a local building supply store and our
maintenance staff cut the board for me to size.

I have my students buy their own markers, but just recently my students
in my class before lunch tells me that their marker seems to disappear
from their locker every day only to reappear after my third hour class
(which is right after lunch). I would imagine that class thinks it is
okay to "borrow" someone else's marker w/o permission. I will now store
that class's markers in my room to prevent this problem.

Other than that my high school students love working with the boards, I
use a combination of the odorless and odor type marker. We have never
been bothered with the smell and the students are not sitting in their
desks sniffing markers to get high.

It is much easier to have them work on the boards as I pass around the
room to see how they are doing....much easier to read than on paper
since they write bigger and I can check it faster.

Susan J. Mitchell

97/11  From-->         Jennifer Colbert <>
Subject:      Dry-erase boards.... PLEASE HELP

I am trying to convince my department to purchase some dry-erase boards
(white boards) for use with my Spanish students. I have never used them
myself (I am a first-year teacher) but from what I have seen on FLTEACH,
many of you use them successfully. I think it would be a great strategy
to get more of my students involved, with each having something
(physically and mentally) to do. My department doesn't seem too excited
about the idea: I have heard the following statements (criticisms) from
them (they have never used them either):

"With an entire class using the markers, they will leave the room 'high'
on the smell."
"Students will want to write on the desks and other students, rather
than on the boards."
"The markers will run-out within 2 days."

They have mentioned the possibility of using slate boards instead, which
suits me just fine, but I would think chalk would cause more of a
hassle/mess than the markers would.

For those of you who use the white boards or slates, PLEASE let me know how
successful they are so that I may report back to my department chairperson.

Thank you!!
Jennifer Colbert


97/11  From-->         Beverly Burdett <>
Subject:      Re: Dry-erase boards.... PLEASE HELP

In response to Jennifer Colbert's questions:

I love white boards.

They are very cheap if you just go to a home improvement store, buy a large
sheet of shower-board, and ask them nicely to cut it into 1-foot squares.
The edges don't have to be smooth as silk.

Before I pass out the markers I remind the kids of their expense.  I tell
them that they may not take the lids off until I tell them, and they may
not waste the ink, or we will not be able to use the boards again.  I don't
have any problems that can't be solved with a gentle reminder from me  --
or a rude one from other students who don't want to lose the privilege!

Many still have to put a little flower or their initials or something on
the board, but that is minor in terms of using up the ink.

If you keep them busy, they don't have time for too much other ink-wasting.

If you have a room with no windows you might have a problem with the smell,
but you should only use the boards for 10-15 minutes at a time anyway, so
there is not really a chance to get high!  (What lame excuses some people
have for refusing to do something fun and different!)

Of course, the key is to *keep* it fun and different.  If you are trying to
use the boards all the time, even the kids will get sick of them.

I have a variety of colors of markers and I  pass them down the rows.  I
tell the kids in front that they get the reward of choosing a color first,
since they have to/chose to sit in the front!

Passing them out in my classes only takes about one minute.  I have one
person in each row go to the stack and get enough boards for everyone in
that row.  I may have another person pass out the pens and another person
pass out the paper napkins we use as erasers.  (Some people use old socks,
etc.)  That keeps me free to supervise.  (Example:  First person in each
row go get boards, last person in each row get markers, second person in
each row pass out the napkins.)  You may even reward the row which gets
ready the fastest.

You can get kids to write on a white board who seldom even write on paper!
It is a great technique.  Go for it!

Beverly Burdett


97/11  From-->         Verdoner Daisy <>
Subject:      Re: Dry-erase boards.... PLEASE HELP

I have used dry erase boards as well... but only for every 2 people
because of the smell. Also I have several 1A classes in a row, so if I
do the same lesson plan for each, and use the boards for all classes on
the same day, I get dizzy. So, one for every 2 kids works well. They
trade off every other question. Also I keep the room well ventilated.

Daisy Verdoner

F. Insights by teachers in how to use whiteboards.

96/09  From-->         Pat Buckner <>
Subject:      Re: Individual student whiteboards -Reply

We've used the individual white boards for years, and didn't find that
the edges needed anything---mine are made of showerboard, and have
never snagged anyone.   We've found lots of uses (the math teacher
down the hall always wants to borrow them; I finally had to tell her
to get her own.)

Be aware going in, though, that the markers can be an expense---make
sure you teach your kids how to use them, and remind them that the
ink doesn't come out of clothes.

Pat Buckner


97/11 From-->         Lewis Johnson <>
Subject:      White Boards - a solution

I got the white boards and started to use them. It took about 5 minutes
to distribute the boards, markers and erasers! And then it to another 5
minutes to collect them and to check that they were all back in! I can't
use 10 minutes of class time for that. So I had a monitor for each row
distribute them. It still took 5 min.

I found a solution. I time the monitors and helpers to see how long it
takes them. The time immediately dropped to about 60 seconds. I keep the
times of each class posted. The students know the record time and try to
beat it.

So far the record time is down to 38 seconds, and I think that pretty
soon we'll get down to about 20 seconds.

Lewie Johnson


97/11 From-->         Louise Giordano <> ??
Subject:      Dry-erase boards...


I've just started using the white boards with my 7th graders. It has
made an immediate "tangible" and remarkable difference in my classroom
(and this has so far been my most challenging year in 19 years of
teaching!) The students LOVE using them, have so far not abused them,
and ask every day if we're going to use them today. I've decided NOT to
use them every day and keep them as a sort of reward about twice a week.
It is an excellent way to get an immediate sense of who knows (and who
doesn't know) recent material. For middle schoolers, it appeals to their
need to be active and tactile, and they allow me to monitor the whole
class at once.

My school reimbursed me for the boards ($11.00 at Home Dept - cutting
was free!) and the markers (I bought low-odor ones - more expensive, but
worth it! about $25 for a classroom set.) I'm actually looking for means
of funding replacements. Any ideas for monetary "punishments" that I
might impose?

Ideas for their use?  There have been many posted to the list recently.  In
the 4 days since I initiated their use in my classes, I have used them to
review numbers and do math problems, do a family tree as I described the
family members, draw items of clothing.  The possibilities are endless.  I
hope this helps convince your department to support you.

Good luck,


97/11 From-->         "James C. May" <>
Subject:      Re: Dry erase boards

<<"With an entire class using the markers, they will leave the room
<<'high' on the smell.">>

Get low-odor markers.  They don't smell.

<<"Students will want to write on the desks and other students, rather
<<than on the boards.">>

I have never had this problem.

<<"The markers will run-out within 2 days.">>

They'll last longer than two days!  But they will run out fast if
students are allowed to just doodle and it is hard to keep them from
doing that.

Whiteboards are great and much preferable to slate boards and chalk.

James C. May

G. How whiteboards are being put to use by FL teachers.

96/09 From-->         Deborah Bruhn <np_luthe_01@LNOCA4.LNOCA.OHIO.GOV>
Subject:      Re: Individual student whiteboards

I also use dry-erase boards in all of my classes.  Linda's right; the
kids love working with them.  In addition to using them for unit review
before tests, we also use them for games; beats having students run to
the board to write down answers and it's easy to see who responds first
or who responds first _correctly_ when they lift their boards high into
the air.  They never seem to get tired of using them.  You can also make
your own.  I understand that the company that makes Contact paper has a
type of "dry-erase" paper that you can apply to your own cardboard or
wood pieces to create your own.  Well worth the time and money, IMHO.
Deborah Bruhn


96/09  From-->    Irene Moon <>
Subject:      Re: Individual student whiteboards

Yes, These are wonderful for very quick monitoring of whether students know/do
not know the material. May I add a couple of suggestions based on our
experiences with the boards last year?

1. At first we supplied a classroom set of markers and collected in
        box after activity. As you can guess, they ran out of ink after 60 days
        because kids also liked to doodle. WE also "lost" some.
        So this year in our course requirements, each student had to provide his own and
        was told up front.

2. We also asked them to get ODORLESS markers. After 10 mins. review, in cold
        months kids were "High" on Spanish and we didn't want them "high" on
        the smell of the markers.

Irene Moon


96/09  From--> "Lea A. Banner" <>
Subject: Re: Individual student whiteboards

I also use the individual whiteboards.  They are great for paired
activities.  Students are using Spanish more than ever before.  I
brought all of my "matchless" socks to school for erasers. Every few
weeks I take them home and wash them.  This is so much easier than
tissues - and better environmentally also!

Lea A. Banner


96/09  From-->  Christenson <>
Subject:  Re: Individual student whiteboards

I second the motion on the whiteboards. I had purchased them through one
of the major FL catalogs (I can't remember which one) and got them at
the end of last year. The kids loved using them. I'm excited to have a
whole year of using them this year. It's a good way to check
comprehension of grammar or work on vocab. I'm also planning on using it
as a modified way of doing TPR. (Have the students draw pictures as I
give the commands) I strongly recommend their use!
Melanie Christenson

96/09  From-->         John Lecuyer <>
Subject:      Individual Student Whiteboards

I have been using whiteboards in my classes for about 8 years, and I would
like to share some ways of using the whiteboards. First of all it might be
more feasible to take a sheet of this material (I think it is called
melamine board) and cut it into 12 X 12" squares. Our custodians cut one
sheet and got 30-32 (I can't remember exactly how many)  boards out of the
sheet. This would keep the cost down. The boards here in Illinois run about
$15.00 a sheet. They also will easily fit into a milk crate along with the
rags and markers. *It makes storage a lot easier.


Spelling practice, pictionary, verb relay drills, sentence building (instead
of making index cards with the words have the student write the words on the
boards and hold them up), signaling activities.

I use these whiteboards a lot and I find they are a very effective teaching
tool. The students love to use them. We also had all of our chalkboards
covered with this material so that all of the foreign language rooms have
these white boards now. It makes grammar explanations easier if you can
color code concepts.

P.S. Carlex also carries these whiteboards already cut for you, but they are
a little more expensive than doing it yourself.

For those that have had the problem of students doodling with the markers. I
have the rule that no one can open their markers until I give them the
signal. If they are caught with their markers open it costs them a Colon.
The students learn real fast not to play around with them, and they tend to
last longer too.

John LeCuyer
96/09  From-->         Nancy Frumkin <>
Subject:      Re: Whiteboards/what for?

Small-group brainstorming (the way trainers use newsprint)
Outburst (the game).
Grouping vocab in creative ways (inverse Outburst)



96/10 From-->         "Susan J. Mitchell" <smitiaq@WIN.BRIGHT.NET>
Subject:      Re: Whiteboards, AGAIN

I have used them in my room this year also.  I did not have everyone in
the class (23 students) each use a board though.  I divided them into
teams and had 8 teams and then had them do various things on the board
for points. The team with the winning number of points received a
prize.  Some of the things I did was to help them get ready for a test.
I would give them a specific subject and then they had to write the
correct verb form spelling it correctly and then use it in a sentence
which also had to be correct grammatical structure.  On some rounds they
even had to translate the sentence into English which also had to be
correct in structure.  I thought it was a huge success with the
students.  I will soon use it with everyone having a board.  But first I
think some ground rules need to be set first, such as boards do not go
up until I give a signal and they remain up until I feel we have
adequately corrected the errors.  I think using the boards allows the
students to be more actively participating in class activities since
they enjoy using them so much.

Susan J. Mitchell


96/10  From-->  Meryl Jacobson  <>

I am having a great time with our new whiteboards (Gracias, FLTeach!).

For listening comprehension/TPR:  Draw a wall.  Put a blackboard on the
right side.  Write your name on the black board.  Erase your name.  Draw
a face.  Draw three eyes and two noses.  OR  Draw these actions:  jump/
put your head on the desk/touch your hips  ETC.

For grammar, such as comparatives...  Student is doing the family
groceries.  How many of the following items do you buy for your family
for one week?  bananas/milk/soup  ETC.  Compare your responses (with
partner or designated person sitting in our class circle).  Write one
adjective describing yourself.  Now compare yourself (with partner or
designated person sitting in our class circle).  All comparisons are
done orally.  The data changes constantly.  ETC.

Commands:  Student is the parent.  Tell me what to do after school.
(Write command on white board.)  Student is the principal.  Give
commands to the other students.  ETC.

Many, many ideas!  Almost any situation fits!

Meryl Jacobson


96/10  From-->
Subject:  Re: Whiteboards, AGAIN

I find that I like to work with only 10 boards.  I have classes of 30
and put 3 kids per board.  I have one student write an answer, show me,
erase & pass it to the next person in the group.  Works well, moves
quickly, and saves on dry erase markers!!

Nila Grogan

96/10  From--> Dianna Janke <>
Subject: Re: Whiteboards, AGAIN

The possibilities are endless for whiteboards.

My students' favorite use is vocab / spelling review.  You CAN manage to
look at them all.  You can have them hold up the board - high - and
point, say yes, yes, accent?, oops!, etc.  The ones with not so perfect
spellings try again.

If you have them keep the boards flat after writing, you can walk around
the room.  Because they are so big, you can see from several feet away.
Their errors pop out at you.

Teams.  One board.  Pass the board around the group's circle.  All can
help, but the handwriting must change to indicate all are involved. They
can write answers to an exercise in vocab matching, sentence completion,
etc.  First team to finish stands.  2nd and 3rd teams stand etc.  Call
out the answers.  First team with all correct wins 3 pesos each, 2nd
team gets 2 each, 3rd team just one each.  That way they are all in the
game in case there are errors with the fastest teams.

Checking homework.  Assign individuals to write sentences, one each, on
their board.  This sounds a little humiliating, but my students tell me
it is not.  I want them to learn to edit their own work as well as help
others.  #1 reads her answer.  If it is perfect, she gets a peso.  If
anyone in the audience sees an error or can give a variation of the
correct answer, #1 calls on them.  They come up and write on her board.
If the correction is accurate, then the correcting student gets a peso.
That really does encourage them to LOOK at what they are doing. Even
capitals and end punctuation seems to get better.

They come in handy for lap desks and to hid papers from partners when
doing a paired speaking activity with pictures or missing information.

AND........  It goes on and on.

Dianna Janke


96/10  From-->
Subject:      Re: whiteboards, AGAIN

I use it for true/false questions either on a cultural reading or using
the vocabulary in sentences.  They hold up V or F.

I also use it in connection with playing jeopardy in teams.  One person
in the team writes the answer down.  It must be spelled perfectly for
the team to get the points.

Deby Doloff


96/11  From-->         Lynn Engel <>
Subject:      Re: white boards..revisited

Hello!  I use whiteboards for everything.

1).  I review verb conjugations; give an infinitive and a subject and the
students write the appropriate conjugation.

2).  I go over book activities (rather than do them orally and to save
correcting time.

3).  I check vocab by saying the word in the target lang and having the
students draw the word.

and the list goes on and on...


96/11  From-->         Denise M Jones <>
Subject:      White Boards

White boards are wonderful!!!   Just be sure to have a large supply of
markers - they don't last long.

I user them for many activites, including:
 -number drills, oral math problems
 -verb conjugation
 -other grammar drill i.e. forms of  a la, forms of  le, forms of  de
 -Win, Lose, or Draw in small groups
- Jeopardy- each pair answers the question on their board to ensure that
   all students are on task .  Correct answers earn the pair francs,
   which the winners can use to "buy" a prize
- Alphabet and dictation

I am interested in others' ideas also.

Denise Jones


97/06  From-->  Rosie Wendt <p_rwendt@K12.MEC.OHIO.GOV>
Subject:  Re: whiteboards

I teach in middle school and use dry erase boards for all types of
practice, but they are especially good for practicing spelling and
sentence structure.  The kids love to use them especially if I make a
game of it--highest number correct, first done and correct, etc.

The year before last, I bought the markers. (chaching!)  This year I put
3 per student on the supply list and collected them at the beginning of
the year. I had plenty left over--2 per student would have been plenty.

The only drawback is that most of them have a strong odor and after a
few periods using them, the room gets pretty odiferous.

I just bought a yard of felt for new erasers.  Again after a year of
use, I would have had to take them to a Laundromat to wash them.  $4.00
a yards for felt has to be cheaper.

Rosie Wendt


97/06  From-->         James May <>
Subject:      Re: White Board Ideas

<<if you currently use the individual white boards, please let me know
<<how it's working and what kind of activities you use.  I am thinking of
<<doing this in my Spanish I and II classes this fall.>>
1)  You can say a color and students have to draw what would normally be
that color.  2)  You can say a sentence in the TL and students have to
draw it (i.e. The napkin is under the glass).  3)  The boards are great
for number practice—you say the number in the TL and students write the
numeral.  4)  Have them practice vocabulary words in context, i.e. (In
the TL, of course)  Draw a small school.  Underneath the school write
your last name.  Write your first name to the left of the school.  Erase
your last name, etc.  BTW, they love to write their name.  If I forget
to have them write their name they always remind me to do it.  5)  Draw
a picture of your best friend and tell your partner about him/her as you
explain your drawing.  6)  verb conjugations.  BTW, as I posted earlier
some of the markers tend to disappear so you have to be careful of
that.  I also had some boards disappear (!!).  I use old cut up towels
to erase.

James May

97/06  From-->         Margie Seely <>
Subject:      Re: Whiteboard ideas

I have been using individual whiteboards for several years, and students
do love them - they see them as some kind of treat, or game. I won't
repeat uses that have already been mentioned by others, but here are
some other ways I have successfully used them:

To  practice verb conjugation, I will give an infinitive, then a
subject, and the students need to write the correct verb form and hold
it up for me to see. They almost race to do this.

To practice adjective agreement, I will give a masculine singular form
adjective, then a noun, and they must write the adjective in the correct

Both of those move rather quickly. Another way I have used whiteboards,
which takes a bit longer but is nevertheless useful, is to practice
double-object pronouns. I will first give an example of what they are
supposed to do. Then I read a sentence in the target language, and they
rewrite it, replacing the object nouns with object pronouns.  I will
vary it with questions and negatives as well.

Margie Seely


97/06  From-->         J Kotecki <>
Subject:      Re: White Board Ideas

Saludos, listeros,

I've been using white boards since Christmas (grades 6, 7, and 8).
Some of the ways we use them are:
     -verbal relay races:  first person in row must give the
first person singular of  particular verb, then send the board to the next person, who must
write down the second person singular of the verb, etc.
     -Spanish math:  students must write down the ENTIRE
problem and solve it
     -"Bell Ringer Review":  we use "Bienvenidos", which
includes a "bell ringer review"  as one of its ancillaries.  The students will sit down at their desks, open their workbooks to their completed homework, and while I walk around to check homework, they work on a bell ringer review:
     -"List all the adjectives of nationality you've learned so far"
came up this week.

     The kids really love writing (drawing) on these boards, and ask
whether we are going to use them today. Even the unresponsive students
respond to these boards.  I consider it $15.00 well spent!



97/08  From-->         Irene Moon <>
Subject:      Re: whiteboards

Here's just a quick summary:

Jeopardy...correct answers earn pesos (buy prizes) Number drills &
Verb conjugations
Vocabulary review
Teams: pass 1 board around, write ans. to exercise, sentence completion,
vocab match. Ist team done, stands & earns pesos 3@ or 2@ or 1@
depending upon # correct

Use for teams: subject...students write sentence verb........ "
Give sentence and have students translate

Listening: draw a wall, put the letter "B" on it, write your name, draw
a face w 3 eyes & 2 ears

Commands: Tell me what you do after school. Write an adj that describes
you. Compare yourself with a partner.

Irene Moon


97/08  From-->         Laura Davis <>
Subject:      Re: Whiteboard ideas

Several of you asked about the idea booklet that came with my whiteboards.
Sorry it took so long, here they are.  I haven't done all of them, but if
you have any questions, I'll try to answer them.

1. Check spelling: hold up objects or pictures that the class is
studying and have the students write the word on the board in the FL.
Have them hold up the boards and quickly scan them for accuracy. Let
them correct the word as many times as needed to get it right. Sometimes
we do this as a race, students can keep score e.g. 3 points if correct
on the 1st try, 2pts for second try etc.

2. Dictees: students can write or draw what the teacher says

3. Number problems: Dictate math problems, phone nos. in the FL.
Students must write the formula as well as the answer.

4. Vocab: Dictate words in the FL and have students come up with the
opposite, synonym, definition. Alphabetize a dictated list of words,
play win, lose or draw.

5. Win Lose or Spell: In this variation, I show a picture or give an
English word (I teach beginners) The first person to correctly spell the
word in the FL gets a sticker (or whatever) Students keep track of
points and can do this activity individually or in groups or pairs

6. Verbs: Have students write the FL pronouns down the side or across
the top, then give them an infinitive and tense. Have them conjugate the
verb on the boards then hold them up for the teacher to check. Verb
wars: students put their desks head to head and race each other in
conjugating the verb.  (Noisy)

7. Map drawing: have students draw continents, countries, bodies of
water that you dictate in the FL. Students may draw one of their choice
and, without showing their partner, must ask yes/no questions in the FL
to find out what they drew. (Like 20 questions) Good for practicing
directions. Students can keep track of the number of questions it took
to guess the correct answer, with the lowest score being the best. You
could use landmarks or buildings in your own city.

I find my students like to use the whiteboards because at this age they
still like to "go to the board". --- The other bonus for me is, the
boards save on paper. Anything you can do on paper or at the board can
be done on whiteboards.

Laura Davis


97/11 From-->         Kimberly Huegerich <>
Subject:      Re: Dry-erase boards.... PLEASE HELP

Again, they are not being used every hour of each day.  Sure some will make
extra little drawings, but if the kids replace the caps tightly, there is
no problem.  I have markers that I have been using for two years now.  This
past week I used them, but didn't allow them to use erasers.  It was a
progressive activity used with conversation where they had to continue to
add to the board.  Those who drew pictures right away were cramped for
space on the board.  The other students reprimanded them for their
wastefulness.  This was an excellent activity to demonstrate the concept of
conserving the markers.

Jennifer, these are WONDERFUL.  Every student is involved in the activity
and every student is accountable for their learning.  This has been the
easiest way for me assess student learning for all student using the least
amount of time and energy.  Sometimes the students translate, sometimes
they draw pictures and we discuss/compare/contrast, sometimes one student
describes while another draws.  The possibilities are endless and there is
no paper waste!

Buena suerte
Kim Huegerich


97/11 From-->         Lauren Tidd <>
Subject:      Re: Dry erase boards

Just a note about dry erase boards.  My French classes LOVE them.  They beg
me to use them everyday.  Someone brought up the possibility of the students
drawing on desks, doodling, etc.  I told my students before we ever used them
that if I caught them using the boards for "evil" (ie: cuss words, doodles,
desk drawing) that they would lose their privileges for the year.  They know
that I mean it and the prospect of using boring notebook paper and a pencil
keeps them in line.

The dry erase boards make "boring" grammar exercises exciting and fun.  The
kids love to race and see who can get the answer the fastest.  I also choose
a student with the correct answer and applaud them which makes them feel
great.  Students with the wrong answer are great learning tools.  I ask the
students to correct their mistakes.  It allows me to see what the problems
are and points out a lot of problems that I don't always think of.

I am also an English teacher and I use the boards for my English classes
also. Some of the things I do in English could be used for higher level
foreign language classes. After reading a story, play...whatever, I ask
the kids to draw what happened in a particular scene and they love it.
They don't realize that we are doing comprehension exercises. It is so
much more fun than regular "end of the story" questions.

I am always looking for more ideas for using the boards.  Keep them coming.

Lauren Tidd


97/11 From-->         Lauren Tidd <>
Subject:      Re: Dry-erase boards.... PLEASE HELP

One other thing that the Spanish teacher in my school did. She asked
staff members and students to bring in bags of their old, clean socks to
use as erasers for the dry erase boards. She got a lot of socks!! They
are great erasers and she can just throw them away when they get too

Lauren Tidd

97/11  From-->         Nedra Graves <>
Subject:      dry erase boards

Hola listeros.  I too use the white boards, and my kids love them.  In
addition to vocab & conjugation games I have pairs divide their boards
up into 4-6 sections then each draws either half of an original cuento,
or they do mix & match so 1 student tells the 1st part of the story,
then partner the next and so forth.  They plunk themselves on a couple
of stools in front of the class and sally forth.  Most of them get so
involved in their pictures that they don't realize how well they're
doing at creating some really fun, very original stories.  Biggest
disappointment is in having to erase their works of art!  I've cut up a
pair of old sweats into 3" squares for them use as erasers.  I throw
them in the washer periodically and they've lasted now for 3 yrs.  We
also use the, almost, odorless markers, and they last at least a
semester.  I'm very careful to be sure that the boards are thoroughly
erased before they're put away because if not, the ink seems to
penetrate them and they get real "mungy".

Nedra Graves


97/11 From-->         stevi <>
Subject:      Re: dry erase boards

I tried Nelda's whiteboard idea today(the 6 squares to tell a story) and
it was a great success. The only requirement that I added was that they
narrate the story in the past(we are doing the preterit) The stories
were amazing and they only had 8 minutes prep. time,. I also am not
looking forward to erasing them. they are all lined up on my real board
awaiting erasing but they are so good I want a picture first. Thanks for
the great idea.

Stevi Suib


97/11 From-->         Nedra Graves <>
Subject:      white board stories

My white board use usually follows whatever theme we're studying at the
time. Por ejemplo: In your story you need to have 3 people, 2 animals, 4
items of clothing and 3 separate places. Or: use at least 4 different
verbs, 5 adjectives, etc. etc.

Sometimes I'll just throw out a topic and let them run with it, like
taking a date to B.K., going shopping at the Mall, vacation at the
beach, mountains, etc. Anything with the seasons or weather, a trip in
your space ship to wherever.

We are using Blain Ray's TPR-S Workbooks "Look I Can Talk" and “Look I
Can Talk More" as adjunct materials. The stories in the workbook lend
themselves to all sorts of variations. Using the boards seems to help
the kids internalize the language and certainly facilitates their
ability to use it, and above all it's a lot of fun for them as well as
for me.

Disadvantage - it takes quite a bit of class time when you have 35-36
kids. Usually I'll have another project for them to work on after
they've told their story like a wordsearch, crossword or something like
that. They also have to put their boards, pens and erasers away after
they've told their story. I will also have other kids act out the
stories being told. Works for me!


98/07 From--> Pam Fedie <>
Subject: marker boards

Dear listeros,

Someone inquired about activities for the white boards.  I did a workshop this
year which covered activities to work with the white boards.  I have way too
many to give on the internet, but I can share some.

1.  Simple applications are: pictionary, match game, numbered heads together
(a cooperative learning technique which most are familiar with).
2.  Students draw what they eat for meals and boards are passed around the
room to discuss nutrition, etc.
3.  Students draw pictures of brother and sister and list some personality
characteristics. Boards are passed around and students compare the student to
his/her brother/sister.
4.  I have a mini-unit in first year about what students want out of life.
Students then draw about 7/8 of these things on the board.  They are passed
and discussed.  For each board they discuss they must write on a piece of
paper an item which they think is entirely likely and the name of the person
(i.e. a big family).  Afterwards we discuss their opinions. (John wants a big
family because he comes from a big family.  He has 5 siblings)
5.  I also have a unit on what must their dream man/woman have/be.  They then
draw them and boards are passed for discussion and whether they
6.  Students draw (3 hobbies, freetime activities, favorite/least favorite
foods, clothes, sports, kinds of weather, names of 3 favorite people.)  I then
give students cards with 2 question words on them.  While walking around they
must ask questions of each other using these cards.  Students of course must
respond. When they go to another person, they must exchange cards each time.
7.  Students draw a person/a house/a car.  Then they write on the bottom of
the board 5 things about themselves as if they were the house, car, etc.  i.e.
I have 10 rooms. People argue in my bedroom.  Students walk around the room
and take on the personification of this thing while the other students ask
questions.  They then exchange boards and take on a new identity.
8.  Times games: Students divide the board into 4 parts: They then draw items
like 4 clocks, 4 vocabulary words, 4 body parts, etc. The boards are passed
from pair to pair.  I give them 15 seconds or so (depending on the
difficulty). One student describes to the other the 4 things such as 4 times.
They count how many he has right and then 15 seconds are given to the other
partner to guess. All pairs are competing against the others in the class to
accumulate points.
9.  combined stories: A group of 4 is given different items to draw without
discussing it with the group.  For example, the crime: a.  when and the victim
b. where and the weapon   c. the murderer   d. the result.  After they finish
the scene is put together and discussed filling in details.  Boards are then
passed to the next group to discuss. The topics could include constructing
fairy tales, a Mars landing, the life of a person.
10. add-on-pictures-cooperative activity. For body parts/clothes, animals,
etc. Students in groups of 4 draw the same body part-i.e ear and label it.
Then they pass their boards to the next students and they draw hair, etc. After
each round students must say each body part to the next student.
11. Values clarification: I give each student something different to draw.
For clothing I give things like: a man with 2 earrings, a girl with a lip
ring, a polka-dotted shirt with a striped tie, cowboy boots, etc. While
passing the boards students must describe the scene, tell whether they like it
or not and why, whether they (or their parents) would wear such clothes.  I
also have situations for the house, the future, school, past tense.
12. verbs endings-A pair of students determine what they have in common.  We
like rock music, etc. and write them on the board.  The boards are passed
around and the they form is discussed.  Students like to write comments to
other students on the bottom of the boards. Also good for I to he/she.
13.  To work with the different you's I give them pictures to draw: a child,
the principal, friends and the names to go with them.  The boards are passed
and students must take on the personifications from the boards and students
must ask  them questions using the correct verb forms.
14. I give students descriptions of family members to draw.  They are families
of 4.  From my descriptions they have to find the other members of their
family by describing themselves.  After they all find each other, each family
then invents different things about itself based on questions which I give
them.  They then present their families with pictures to the class while
others ask questions.

Since I do not use a textbook the boards come in quite handy.
I have invented quite a few white board games including rummy which are very
successful.  Try them.  They are great!


H. Some variations and alternatives to whiteboards as described above:

97/08  From-->
Subject:      Re: whiteboards

If you have trouble with the white boards then you can use plain paper
that has a heavy duty laminate. Since I travel "boards" are too heavy to

You can also use erasable crayons. They are cheaper and have no odor.



97/08  From-->
Subject:      Re: whiteboards

You can have plain white paper laminated with the heavy duty laminate at
places like Office Max. Then you can use erasable crayons. I plan to use
this since my storage space is limited and I will travel next year.


97/08  From-->         Michael Kundrat <>
Subject:      Re: Whiteboard help

I'm not sure if you want to know about whiteboards or whiteboard ideas, so
if I miss the mark...

Whiteboards are just sort of plastic pieces, about a foot square, that
students can use to write on. They're for sale through Carlex, Teacher's
Discovery, and probably a lot of other teacher supply companies. They cost
around $100 for a classroom set, I think, but someone got the idea to just
go down to their local lumberyard, buy a 4x8 sheet of something called
showerboard, and ask them to cut it up. That's what I did last week, at Home
Depot, where I paid $8.95 for the sheet. They cut it into 32 pieces for me
and didn't charge anything extra. Now I need to work on getting markers.
I'll either use some of the money I saved by going to Home Depot, or have
the kids buy their own.

Anything you can do on these boards can be done on a sheet of paper, but
the idea is that they're reusable and more fun. Because of that, it
would be pretty much impossible to list all the uses, but I hope you get
the idea. Spelling practice, alphabet, numbers, drawing pictures to
represent vocabulary or sentences, math, paired practice, following
instructions, giving directions, etc.....

Someone also posted a really cheap way to go for those with bare bones
budgets or teachers who travel. Take plain paper, go to an office supply
store, and have them apply a heavy-duty laminate.

If you have any more questions, feel free to ask. Also remember that you can
access the archives for all the old postings at the following site:

Michael Kundrat


97/08  From--> Cherice Montgomery <>
Subject:      Inexpensive whiteboards

Another option is to make your own dry-erase boards. I buy sheets of
cardboard (our Make-It-Take-It room sells them) and a roll of the dry
erase, self-adhesive Contac paper (usually sold at places like Wal-Mart,
K-Mart, or Hobby Lobby and kept with other kinds of shelf paper/shelf
liner). I simply covered one side of each piece of cardboard with the
paper and then cut the cardboard into lapsize pieces with an exacto
knife. They work great (if you are careful to affix the Contac paper
smoothly) and are much more lightweight than the shower boards. I was
concerned that students would abuse them, separate the paper from the
cardboard, or write on them with other markers, but that hasn't happened

Cherice Montgomery


97/11  From-->  HELEN FOUNTAINE <>
Subject:      Re: Dry-erase boards.... PLEASE HELP

There are other options to use instead of white boards and markers.
Each of our FL classrooms has a set of mini-blackboards. We keep ziplock
bags with a dry sponge to use as an eraser. There is some chalk dust but
nothing too serious and it is easily cleaned. The cost per board is about
$4.00 but we've used them for years. You can also use a plastic "paper"
plate or the plastic lid from a 5 lb. coffee can with a crayon. These wipe
clean with a paper towel. You can use the command "flip your lid" in the
target language when you want kids to hold up their answers. They love it!
Hope this helps.

Helen Fountaine


97/11 From-->         Ann Sullivan <>
Subject:      Re: chalkborads v. white boards for the classroom

Many years ago when I taught in Morocco, we used chalkboards. It was
*very* dusty ; I suspect that today with the increase an numbers of
allergic children, that might pose a problem.

I myself use an alternate solution which may or may not be doable today.
Remember the message boards that people used to have--the ones that use
wet-erase pens? Well, quite a while ago, I bought a bunch of them when
they were on sale. I discovered that washable markers (the ones that are
about the size of a pen) work fine--and cost only a few dollars for a
package of 36. I also bought a large package of washcloths from
Wal-Mart. The day before I plan to use the boards, I take the washcloths
home and wash (but do not dry) them. They're just damp enough to erase
the boards easily.

Et voilà--no fumes or dust.

What I don't know is whether it's still possible to find the wet-erase

Ann Sullivan


97/11  From--> Nicholas McLellan Vincent <>
Subject:      Re: chalkborads v. white boards for the classroom

I prefer chalkboards ... and I'm allergic to chalk dust ... as well as
the marker fumes, but the allergy is stronger for the fumes.

Keeping the board in good condition is easier with a chalk board, every
few months a coat of paint, a good washing once a week or so.

The cost of the pens here in the third world is quite a bit more than
chalk (even the not so much dust and writes ever so well chalk from

Using the wrong chalk means washing the board, not using a lot of
chemicals that stink worse than the fumes.

And I've never painted the front of a shirt with a piece of chalk in the
pocket as I have with uncapped markers in a pocket.

N. McLellan
Instituto de Ciencias
Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico


97/12  From-->  Deborah & Michael Blaz <>
Subject:  whiteboards

I have a homemade set of whiteboards, and we write on them with CRAYONS,
and wipe off with scraps of flannel. It takes a bit of "elbow grease"
but crayons are much more economical and less smelly than the markers.



A brilliant (desperate?) FLTeach member made the discovery that dry-erase markers work beautifully on the horizontal glass platform (where you lay your transparencies) of any overhead projector. No slippery acetate needed. Completely (and quickly) erasable!
97/10  From-->  Ann Pulley <>
Subject:      Overhead made easier!

Hola listeros,

This "tip" was a gift from God for me this year!

I "travel" from room to room---"sharing" chalkboards and sometimes there's
no place on the board for me to write.

I use the overhead as my chalkboard and was always running out of
transparencies for my "board".

One day I decided to write on the glass with a Dry-Erase marker.


It's wonderful and erases with a regular chalkboard eraser (if it's never
been used for chalk).  I keep an eraser on the overhead cart in each room
that I visit and label it, Dry-Erase.

My colleagues have picked up the practice and we all wonder why we never
thought of it before!

Try it and you will be amazed!

I still use pre-made transparencies for things that I will be sharing with
all the classes but for quick explanations, HW assignments, etc. I'll never
use another transparency sheet.

Buena suerte,

And finally, let us not forget some housekeeping: The toweling, rags, socks need to be washed every now and then.

And here are the listeros, as best I’ve been able to account, who’ve contributed to our helpful discussion of whiteboard use:

Mary Young Cheri Yates Rosie Wendt
Mike Watson Nicholas McLellan Vincent Daisy Verdoner
ConnieVargas Todd D3troiter Tamara Truax
Lauren Tidd Ann Sullivan Stevi Suib Wilson
Sue Alice Shay Lynn Shirk Judith Shick
Margie Seely Gary Schubert, Jr Linda Schrimsher
Jason Riding Jocelyn D Raught Erwin Petri
Duveen Penner Katharine Paxton Michelle Osberg
J.Vincent Morrissette Irene Moon Cherice Montgomery
Susan J. Mitchell Andrea Merrifield Sharon McClurg
James May Linda Masterson Bill Mann
Richard Lee John Lecuyer Paul Lanciaux
Michael Kundrat Joanna Kotecki Liz Klem
Caren Kindel Patricia Kessler Cynthia Karmik
Louis Johnson Lewis Johnson Dianna Jahnke
Meryl Jacobson Kim Huegerich Sandra Howard
Linda Gump Nedra Graves Louise Giordano
Susan George Nancy Frumpkin Helen Fountaine
Shannon Fineout Deby Doloff Laura Davis
Kathy Colvin Jennifer Colbert Donna Coolidge
Melanie Christianson Bethanie Carlson Beverly Burdett
Deborah Bruhn Pat Buckner Anne-Marie Brown
Marla Boynton Deborah Blaz Leo Banner
Melissa Badger Julianne Baird Janet Baron
Barbara Andrews Lori Albright

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