33 Teacher Ideas for Using Student Whiteboards


Do you have a set of student whiteboards for all of the kids in your class? I have tons of student whiteboards, but in all honesty, they don’t get nearly the use that they should each day.

Does this sound familiar to any other teachers out there? I have store-purchased boards, handmade ones, and even tables that you can write directly on.

But, I am lacking ideas of how to get more use out of my student whiteboards. So per usual, I went to the experts in our Fearless First Grade Teachers Facebook group and asked the question. These teachers never disappoint, as I now have 33 uses for student whiteboards to share with all of you!

While my students are using whiteboards in their centers or during independent practice, I like to have some kind of accountability page for them to complete. It is a way I can check for understanding if I am not able to take a look at everyone’s work on their whiteboards. For all of my accountability worksheet needs, I hop onto ETTC Premium and quickly search through the library of 15,000+ resources to find one that is just right for my lesson.

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Benefits of Student Whiteboards

1. Engagement: Students use their hands, eyes, and ears while using a whiteboard, engaging more of their senses! Before pulling out the whiteboards, get their mind prepped with an anchor chart or daily chant like this one.


2. Easy to fix mistakes: I hate the black smudges and torn paper from some erasers! On a student whiteboard, kids can erase it anytime!

3. Quick activities: Perfect for a quick math problem or a guessing game! Read the clues about a particular word and see if your students can write down the word or object you are talking about.

4. Time fillers: The students can play many games such as Scattegories and tic-tac-toe!

5. Early finishers: Students can use the whiteboards quietly in their place when they finish their work. A favorite in my classroom is to sit down with a partner and play “Would You Rather…”. They pick a stick, write down their answer on the whiteboard, and then have to explain their choice.

6. Use in place of scratch paper!

7. Saves paper! 🌳🌳🌳

8. Teachers have zero items to grade if students work on their whiteboards! Record as you go or snap a photo!

Using Whiteboards in Centers

9. Comprehension: Place a graphic organizer in a page protector with whiteboards and markers and have your students use the visual cues to comprehend stories in their center. I use a 5 Finger Retell to help my students understand all of the components of a story. They get to trace their hands on the whiteboard and then fill in their responses.

10. Math: Warm-up with a Number of the Day activity before you begin your math block. Simply display a number on your whiteboard or Smartboard and have your students follow the steps on your anchor chart example to learn all about the target number.

11. Quick: You can scan the room and make notes on correct answers and errors faster than grading individual papers.

12. See areas that may need reteaching: If someone is consistently unable to make a word or a letter, or come up with the correct answer, or if several kids have problems, a teacher can quickly decide who needs additional teaching on any subject!

13. As a clipboard: Okay… actual clipboards can get pricey. Especially when you have to buy them for your entire class! I like to get my students up and moving around during centers, so they use their whiteboard as a hard surface while doing Write the Room activities.

14. Everyone reveals at once, and the teacher scans


Math Activities for Student Whiteboards


15. Activities to show work. “Instead of having them raise hands to share, I walk around and look. They cover answers so neighbors can’t see. It gives everyone a chance to answer.”–M. Johnson

16. Whole group starter activity: Get your students ready for the day or your math lesson with a quick 5-minute warm-up. They take a look at the daily slide, work out the problem on their whiteboard and can then discuss their response with a partner or table team.

Your students prep their brains for math learning, while you get a few minutes to clean up from the previous lesson or set-up for your math lesson. Win-Win!

ELA/Writing/Handwriting Activities

17. Jot down vocabulary that they need to check: If a student hears a word or sees a word, they jot it down and go find the definition for better understanding of the story.

18.  Write down any questions they may have while reading a book. Did they hear an interesting fact in a non-fiction text that they want to investigate further? Or maybe something was mentioned in a story that they didn’t quite understand.

19. Beat the Teacher: “We race to spell words in our phonics patterns. I use the wall whiteboard, and the students use their own. If they beat me (spell it faster), they get a point. If I am faster, I get a point.” “They think it’s hilarious when I lose. We keep a tally chart (class vs. teacher) on our boards. You can play it with any subject, especially math facts and spelling words.”–E. Morales

20. Word Mapping: With the ever-growing popularity of Science of Reading concepts in classrooms, almost everyone is doing word mapping these days. Using picture cards, your students can map out words on their whiteboards using the phonics knowledge they have learned and are currently learning in class.

21. Spelling practice: One of my favorite spelling activities is to have my students pair up and practice signing their spelling words. As their partner gives them the sign for a letter, they write it down on their whiteboard. Can they spell the word correctly, or guess it before their partner is done giving them the letter signs?

22. Handwriting Practice: Whiteboards are the BEST when it comes to practicing letter formation. Your students can erase and rewrite if needed, they can write a line of letters and then start all over again. I like to pair whiteboards with teaching slides, so they are practicing on their boards while I am walking them through the correct way to form letters.


Other Uses for Student Whiteboards

23. STEM design: Students can predesign their STEM challenge on a whiteboard!

24. Preplan of art drawing: Not sure what you want your final picture to look like when you have included all of your thoughts? Draw it on a whiteboard first!

25. Directed drawing: Follow simple steps to create drawings on your whiteboard. Practice the first time on the whiteboard, and then give it a try on paper.

Pointers, Tips, and Tricks for Student Whiteboards

26. Sheet protectors:  Amazon Basics Sheet Protector – Non-Glare, 100-Pack: I set up binders for ELA centers, Math centers, and small group work. Students can write with expo markers, and that means fewer copies! 


27. Laminated sheets of paper make great student whiteboards: I laminate white cardstock because it is a little sturdier when I want to put additional whiteboards in my centers. It is a much less expensive way of creating whiteboards instead of purchasing them.

28. Dry Erase Pockets 30 Pack:  Slide any paper copy worksheet into these pockets, and you’ve created a reusable work task! These pockets make anything, including a blank piece of paper, into student whiteboards.

29. Inexpensive Erasers: “I buy a 12-pack of men’s black socks at Walmart. I give each of my students a sock and a marker. The kids store the marker in the sock, and the sock makes a great eraser. I have them keep them in their desks.”–J. Membrey

30. “We have tables, so I use carts. Students store their whiteboards in a basket. One for each table group we have in the class. We use them for our morning review, phonics, and handwriting.”–T. Poor

31. “Each table has a basket with 6 marker boards, markers, and erasers. We use them for phonics, math, and handwriting every day.”–S. Bright-Moore


32. “My students all have numbered crates with their own supplies.”–S. Miller Keith

33. “I use a regular plastic bin. We store all the whiteboards next to the markers and erasers. When it’s time for the lesson, we make a line (and) everybody grabs a board and marker. I always had the first problem or some activity for them to do as soon as they grab it, so we don’t waste time.”–B. Burr Ingle

I am stoked! I cannot wait for my whiteboards to have more use! And, I am super hoping that my students will be more engaged in some lessons! We will, at least, be saving some paper! Hopefully, we were able to inspire you to try your whiteboards for a few more things! If you have some great ideas that teachers haven’t shared yet, please comment below!



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