Dry-erase boards are the one pice of equipment I just can't teach without! They are easy to carry anywhere, allow me to check answers for everyone in the class at a glance, and kids love to use them. It's a win, win, win!
My problem was always the cost. They are pricy little devils. Then I found a quick and easy (and cheap) way to get a whole class set in only a few minutes. I always let the kids take them home at the end of the year, but NEVER during the year. I always have a few extra, but they are to replace boards that get beaten up for one reson or another. There aren't many that go bad, but when they do, they need to be replaced.
So, follow the simple directions below and you'll have your class set!
I live near a Home Depot, so I go there. I'm sure other stores like it would also have everything you need. It takes one 4' by 8' piece of Eucatile. It sells for $13.97. That's 43 cents per board. It has a slick white surface, which is perfect for a dry-erase board. I've also heard it called "white board".
Home Depot will cut it up for you at a small cost BUT I have always told them I was a teacher, and it will be dry-erase boards for my students. They have always cut if for me for free, which I always appreciate! Each finished dry-erase board is 12" by 12".
This is what Eucatile looks like. It is found in the Millworks section of the store. You will recognize it because it is white, shiny and slick.
The first step is to get someone who looks friendly (you want it cut for free----right?) and he will take it to the cutting station.
I just tell them that I want it to be cut into one foot sections. The first thing they do it cut it into one foot by four foot strips. There are 8 of these strips.
Next he will take the 4 by 1 foot strips and cut them into one foot squares.
When he is done you have 32 boards.
The whole process takes about 15 minutes.
You don't have to tape the edges. I have never had a child get cut on an edge in over eight years. Have each child write their name on the back with a sharpie, and bring an old sock from home for an eraser. My school provided dry-erase markers, but with cut backs you may need to ask students to bring a couple of those as well. I only used black, since it was easy for me to see when they held up the boards. I told my students that the board was theirs, but they could NOT take it home until the last day of school. That rule came about after my first year of using them. Many, many, many never came back to school. Irritating, and not fun for me. The boards hold up amazingly well throughout the school year, but there are some that get pretty beat-up. Since 32 boards come from one sheet of Eucatile, I always had extra to replace boards with.
How to use dry-erase boards in class?
1. Reading: Answer question and hold up the board. You can see immediately who needs help. They are perfect for guided reading!!
2. Math: Work together or alone, hold up the board for teacher to check.
3. Spelling: Practice words, homophones, etc.
4. Writing: Practice hooks, better adjectives etc.
5. They are perfect fore groupwork, individual practice and centers. Honestly, I used them many, many times throughout the day!
If you can think of any other ways to use dry-erase boards in class, please add them in the comments below!