Looking back, I believe this is the first non-digital thing I’ve ever *made* for my classroom.
As you read this, please note that the whole idea of “whiteboarding” was new to me until I really started ready math blogs heavily this summer. Almost all credit for this post goes Bowman Dickson, and some other math teachers I stalk on Twitter. You (probably don’t) know who you are.
So the idea is to create some cheap, generously sized whiteboards for students to use in the classroom for practice problems, games, and other learning activities. The idea is for these not to be individual student whiteboards, but instead a large enough blank space for 2 to 3 students to work at once.
Here’s my take. I accidentally passed up my left turn to go to Target today and had to pull a turnaround in the parking lot at Home Depot. “Wait, I want to go in here,” I told me wife. “They might have some showerboard.” As confused as she was, if Ash has her B&N nook in hand, she’s agreeable to about anything.
Home Depot had just what I needed. They call it Panel Board. Sheets measure 8’x4′, and they were just under $12. I asked the first worker I saw if he could cut the board into 6 rectangle for me. I could see his brain starting to jam up. I reiterated, “6 rectangle, they should be 24″x32″.” He starts doing some nervous figuring, but I calmed his nerves when I told him I was a calculus teacher. At that point, he was happy to help. He even remarked on how he’s heard a lot of teachers are having to buy all their desk/room supplies and how it’s a raw deal. Yes, yes, it is. I bought two boards, and had them cut in about 5 minutes time. Total cost, $25 after tax.
Now, once the boards are cut, the edges are a bit rough, and they are susceptible to getting nicks and gashes in the whiteboard surface.
So I need something to smooth the edges. What fixes everything? Duct tape. I’ve seen all the fancy print Duck Tape brand duct tape recently (my wife’s cousin even asked for it for her birthday), so I was really hoping to find some tiger stripe print at Target (school mascot). Failed in that search (but don’t worry, they had pink zebra, because, you know, all the pink zebras out there are so popular. Geesh.). I did however, find some neon orange, and I already had black at home. That will do, I thought.
So I came home and started wrapping up the boards. Here’s what they look like so far.
I ran out of black tape after I wrapped 7 of them, so five more to go. But overall, I’m very happy with the effect. I think they’re going to work great, and I’m excited to get them in my classroom and see what they kids think.
The project, of course, still needs some thought. First, I don’t have markers or erasers. Druin says cutting up some felt from Hobby Lobby is the way to go. I might try that, but I’m not sure how soon I’ll make it to the store. As far as markers, I’ve been seeing 4 packs of Expo markers on sale for $2 all over the place lately, so I guess I could invest in some of those. Might shop around a little.
I’m also going to need to read this post from Bowman again. I find out there’s a whole “whiteboarding” culture out there on the mathblogosphere, and I’m just a newbie to the game. I need some ideas on student activities, games, and other math-y stuff to do with the boards.
But all in all, that was my big afternoon project. Hope you like it. I’ll answer any questions you have in the comments. Need to go buy some more black duct tape now.