Teaching Tips

Getting Students Prepped for Whiteboarding

Excerpts from an article written by Casey Zahner, Tom Struckmann, Amy Campbell, Christie Ortiz and Jackie Neeley, all 9th grade Physics First teachers in Missouri high schools.
Whiteboarding may not be intutive for students. It is useful to address potential problems at the beginning of the year and repeat classroom expectations as the year progresses. Problems include:

  • Partners do not equally share writing and talking duties.
  • The class is not a good audience; they may not listen, or they may make derogatory or counterproductive comments while another group is presenting.
  • Students in the audience may not follow along and make corrections to their work as needed.
  • Students who finish writing or presenting their whiteboards early may cause discipline problems.

A list of whiteboarding rules reminds students of proper etiquette. Some of our rules include:

  • Partners should take turns writing and presenting at every session.
  • Students should pay close attention to the presenters; students may make positive statements, ask questions, or correct errors that they observe; counterproductive or derogatory comments will not be accepted.
  • Students are responsible for all the answers given, but more importantly, are responsible for making changes to their work if it has errors.
  • If a group finishes whiteboarding early, they should think of questions to ask of their peers regarding other parts of the worksheet.
  • Specific student groups are assigned the task of asking the first question of each presenting groups.

To read the full article, see the April 2008 issue of the  A TIME for Physics First Newsletter.