Teaching Matters

A collection of resources, experiences, and projects related to teaching

Thrifty Individual Whiteboards! April 3, 2010

Are you looking for ways to make your lessons more interactive and engaging for students? I have seen individual whiteboards, or dry erase boards, being used in several classrooms, with great results. Besides making lessons more interactive, individual whiteboards are excellent tools for formative assessment throughout your lessons. Imagine having your students solve a math problem on their whiteboards and hold up their boards  when finished. With a quick glance around the room, you will have important information about each student’s level of understanding and will be able to address misconceptions immediately.

If you’ve ever priced these boards you know that buying a class set of whiteboards is expensive. A quick internet search found prices around $60 and upward for a class set of whiteboards.  This article inspired me to make my own at a very low cost. Below are the steps and sources of the materials I used.

Inexpensive Whiteboards option #1

First, I made a trip to my local Lowes. Here I found a sheet of smooth, white “panelboard” for $11.87.

"White Panelboard"

4'x8' White panelboard found in the lumber section of Lowes

I chose a sheet that appeared to be scratch-free and lugged it over to the cutting area. Thankfully, the man who was working the cutting area was very happy to help me, and he knew exactly what to do because it just so happens I am not the first teacher in my town to create “thrifty whiteboards!” After tax, I paid $12.59 for 32 whiteboards, making each 12″x12″ marker board cost only 40 cents.

He made all the cuts for free!

Next, I made a quick stop at Walmart to pick up a half-yard of felt for $1.89. This will be large enough to cut up to make felt erasers for each board. For 32 erasers, each will cost about 6 cents.

Once home, all I needed to do was to lightly sand the edges of each board. This only took a matter of minutes, and they are ready to be used!

Lightly sanding the edges

Ready to use!

Want another, even less expensive option?

For $1 you can buy a sheet of white foam board at the Dollar Tree. You will find the foam board sold alongside the poster board. From each board, you will be able to cut  five 8 1/2 ” x 11″ pieces. Slip each piece into a smooth, medium-weight sheet protector, use a glue runner to secure, and now you have a very inexpensive whiteboard.

Before sliding into the sheet protector, run a line of adhesive along the edge of the board.

Another inexpensive whiteboard option

This method will cost you about 33 cents each (20 cents for each board and around 13 cents for each sheet protector – Staples brand 100/pack). This option creates a much lighter board, but they will not be extremely durable.

Visit Minds in Bloom for an excellent blog post with helpful suggestions for using whiteboards in the classroom.

If you decide to try either of these options, please leave a comment to let me know how it works for you.