Right, that’s enough high-tech stuff for a while – I want to share with you another tool that I love to use – one that you can’t download, rather you have to carry in to the classroom. Mini-whiteboards – they are really simple, A4 sheets of laminated card/plastic, that often come in sets with dry-wipe markers and sponges as erasers. As simple as that sounds, they can really change the way a class works. Googling around to find links it seems that these mini whiteboars are used a lot by Maths teachers, having stolen Tarsia from Maths teachers, I’m starting to think that they have the coolest activities – think I’m going to start following them around!
You can buy ready prepared mini whiteboard sets, but I reckon you must be able to make them fairly easily and save yourself some money.
The key to this resource is the fact that unlike paper any thing can be rubbed off and written again, easily, which seems to be really conducive to group or pair work – getting learners to work together to construct a text/word/sentence. It’s less permanent than writing on paper, so learners are more keen to experiment and correct each others’ work.
Here I am going to go over a few ways that You could use mini whiteboards – but I’m sure there are hundreds more – please comment and contribute any ideas or experiences you have below
Making standard language class exercises more collaborative
Liven up a plain old grammar exercise by getting learners to work in pairs/groups with a mini whiteboard between them. Rather than silently completing a worksheet learners will discuss/argue/fight over what the correct answers should be – hopefully leading to deeper engagement with the task – it’s then easy for the teacher to correct as they see fit, and learners can copy down the correct form for their notes. This tactic could also work very well for competitive spelling tests, etc.
You could also get groups to peer correct each other, having learners in groups or pairs writing something, or completing an exercise before swapping boards with another group for correction. Again, group work takes the pressure off individual mistakes.
Ask questions whole class and get learners to write their answers on the boards and hold them up. Again, it’s probably worth getting students to do this in pairs or groups… You’ll get more discussion and it takes a bit of the pressure/responsibility off individuals.
You could also unleash your students’ artistic side by using a picture dictation… Describe a picture to your learners and get groups to try to draw the picture that you are describing. You can play Pictionary or ask learners to work together to make their own picture dictionary.
Hopefully this post has inspired you to run out and try using mini whiteboards in your lesson – they really have an impact on the dynamics of any session and are really flexible… I’ve found some links with ideas here:
What would be really great though, would be if you were able to add your own ideas below… Go on, you know you want to!