Mini-whiteboards increase learning & engagement
Students love writing on mini-whiteboards! Maybe because they are copying the teacher. Maybe
because there’s no faster way to correct a mistake than to wipe it off these modern day slates.
Maybe because they can write and re-write using colorful markers. Whatever it is, students who
use mini-whiteboards learn more and are thoroughly engaged in the task at hand. One reason for
this is that boards allow information to be processed in an active, rather than a passive, manner.
Active learning uses different brain pathways than passive learning, creating more connections in
the brain. As a result, students who practice their lessons in different ways, such as mini-
whiteboards, will likely remember more and enjoy more about what they they are learning.
After adding mini-whiteboards to my 6 th gr. grammar class 4x a week, I’ve experienced this
firsthand. I have noticed an increase in grammar skills and enthusiasm. All students are ready to
go as soon as the boards and markers are passed out. Everyone is paying attention. If students
write down a wrong answer, I ask them to erase it and re-do it until they get it right. They use
markers that have an eraser on the tip, so erasing the wrong answer is easy. They seem very
satisfied after correcting an answer. It’s an “Aha!” moment coupled with the satisfaction of
getting it right.
Increased Learning – My students are scoring higher on homework exercises and tests, because
they are retaining more of what was taught during class time. Another benefit is that the boards
motivate some students to try to answer questions they would not ordinarily answer. In addition,
some students try, more frequently, to think of answers because they want to write on the boards.
Even if students write the wrong answer, they are more likely to remember the correct answer
because they have heard it stated by a student and/or seen it written correctly on another
student’s board. Students enjoy reading each other’s answers out loud from the boards placed at
the front of the room and this recitation assists the aural learners. These are just a few of the
ways that boards can help students be more successful in the classroom.
Increased Engagement – Some board strategies invite all students to write down an answer at
the same time. At this point the teacher has engaged all students, instead of engaging just one or
two students who raise their hand. Student engagement is also higher with boards because
students can decide whether or not to share their answers. This encourages students to try, since there is no consequence, intimidation, or embarrassment for wrong answers. They can choose to hide an answer or show it only to the teacher. If they are sure they have a correct answer, they may choose to raise boards up for others to see, or place boards at the front of the room.
As a result, students can become more involved with and focused on questions and answers through the use of boards.
The more my students use boards, the more I like them! I highly recommend buying one for
home use. It could come in handy for chore lists, family meetings, phone messages, games,
stocking stuffers, etc. I’m looking forward to trying more mini-whiteboard strategies in my
classroom soon. If we try something, but it doesn’t work – we can “just erase it!”