Fun Non-Technology Assessment in the Classroom
For those of you that don’t know me, I was a high school business teacher for 3 years and was certified to teach middle school, as well. One of the many things I learned from being a business teacher, is that students need variety and sometimes prefer more hands on work than technology driven work. When trying to find the perfect and easy non-technology review game, I went with the mini whiteboards in the classroom. I purchased a set of whiteboards for my classroom and they quickly became my favorite form of formative assessment. I loved using them in place of online reviews or homework. And they also make great review activities as well.
Why Mini Whiteboards in the Classroom are GREAT
There are many ways to use mini whiteboards. One way I use the mini whiteboards, is by making a set of problems, usually around 8, and hanging them around the room. The students take their whiteboards, expo markers, and mini erasers and go from problem to problem answering the problems, by working it out on the whiteboard. I just keep the answers to myself and the students have to show me their work and answers in order to move on to the next problem. I try to have around 2 students at every problem when they first start out. Half way through going to every problem, the students are pretty scattered because some students are faster at some problems than others. Just make sure they aren’t asking their neighbor for help! In order to combat the cheating, I make sure to see that they have detailed work written out on their whiteboard. This helps you see who is understanding which problems and what problems they are struggling on.
Another great way I used mini whiteboards in the classroom was through review sessions before a test or after a lesson. I would have all of my students take out their whiteboards, markers, and erasers and then I would showcase a question on my whiteboard. Once the students read the question, they would have to write the answer on their whiteboard and then display their whiteboard over their head. This gave me an idea of how many students were understanding the material and how many students still needed more help. Again, the downfall to this method is cheating. To make sure they aren’t looking at their neighbors answers, you need to be looking around the room and telling the students to make sure they hold their answers directly above their head, so other students can’t see their answers. I have my students in rows, so this makes it easier for them not to cheat. I also tell them it’s not for a grade, that it’s just for review, so this helps with the cheating issue.
One pitfall to these activities with mini whiteboards is that my students were always terrible at putting the caps back on the markers tightly when they were done. I went through a lot of expo markers and they are not cheap! In order to reduce this problem, I made each student keep an expo marker at their desk. I told them that they only received 2 expo markers a year and that if they went through 2 markers because they were faulty at putting the lid on tightly, that it was their responsibility to buy their own marker. None of my students wanted to pay for their own marker, so they always made sure their lids were on tight and I never had a problem after that!