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Teaching with Dry Erase Boards (Part III)

Laura Candler, TeachHUB Blogger

Dry erase boards are an awesome tool for instruction, but they do require a certain amount of organization and management.

Here are some helpful tips I’ve picked up over the years. In Dry Erase Boards: Part I and Dry Erase Boards: Part II, I shared where to obtain enough boards and how to teach with them. In this blog post, I’ll share helpful tips for organizing and using dry erase boards.

4 Organizational Tips for Using Dry Erase Boards

Numbered Boards 

Write a number on the back of each dry erase board, and assign every student their own board from your collection. The boards should stay at school so that they’re always handy for any lesson. I find that assigning each student their own board encourages students to take better care of them. The boards are less likely to be left on the floor where they can become scratched or dirty. If we do find a board somewhere in the room, it’s easy to return it to its owner.

Marker Management

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Teaching with Dry Erase Boards: Interactive, Effective and Fun! (Part III)

If your school doesn’t supply dry erase markers, you’ll need to figure out a way to ensure a steady supply of them. Some teachers ask students to bring in a pack of markers at the beginning of the year, and they store the markers in the classroom to hand out as needed. You may be able to purchase them as a part of a grant or ask a local business to donate some. As a 5th grade teacher, I felt comfortable expecting my students to be responsible for having a marker each day. When they ran out, I let them borrow from me or a friend, but they had to take home this Dry Erase Marker Request Slip and get it signed by a parent.

Handy Sock Erasers

In addition to markers, you’ll need a supply of erasers. Kids can use tissues, but that’s wasteful and expensive in the long run. I’ve found that small black socks work best; I buy boys’ ankle socks in packs of 10 or 12 at a discount store and they last for a long time. White socks soon look grungy even when washed, so it’s best to get the black ones. Kids like to wear their eraser socks on one hand while holding their markers in the other – definitely a “handy” solution to the eraser problem! 

Surface Solutions

Keeping the surface of the board clean and free of marks can be tricky. Encourage your students treat them with care to prevent scratches and to erase all traces of marker after every use. If marks are left on the boards for any length of time, they are almost impossible to remove later. I’ve had varying degrees of success with dry erase board cleaners, wet wipes, and nail polish remover. I use the nail polish remover myself after the students have left, and I air out the room completely before leaving for the day. If you purchase your boards from Kleenslate, you can clean them with soap and water, and you can also order replacement surfaces if the original ones become marred.

Materials StorageTeaching with Dry Erase Boards: Interactive, Effective and Fun! (Part III)

Markers and Erasers

I like to keep a set of four markers and four erasers together in a zippered pencil pouch. At the end of the day, the team captain is responsible for making sure all markers and erasers are back in the pouch.

Dry Erase Boards 

I prefer to let my students keep their dry erase boards inside their desks where they can pull them out on the spot for instruction. I used to sew small covers for them that looked like tiny pillowcases, but I found that solution to be costly and time-intensive. Eventually I decided that it was easier to replace the boards every few years than to try to cover them. Some teachers store all the boards together on a shelf, organized in sets for each team. The team captain retrieves the set of boards when instruction begins.

Dry Erase Board Sets

If students don’t have space at their teams or desks to store materials, you may want to store sets of markers, erasers, and boards for them. You can purchase clear plastic sweater bags to keep all the materials for each team together. Label each plastic storage bag with a team number to make it easy to distribute materials when needed.

Well, there you have it! Now you know why I’m convinced that dry erase boards are interactive, effective, and fun! I recently discovered through a Facebook posting that a huge number of educators share my enthusiasm for dry erase boards. They graciously contributed their best tips and tricks for using dry erase boards, and I’m happy to pass them along to you in a small ebook called Terrific Dry Erase Board Tips. I can promise you that after you start using these strategies yourself, you’ll become a member of the Dry Erase Board fan club, too!   

How do you manage and organize your dry erase boards? Share in the comments section!


Read Part I and Part II

Teaching with Dry Erase Boards: Interactive, Effective & Fun (Part I): Learn why dry erase boards make great learning tools, where to get them and teaching strategies to get started.

Teaching with Dry Erase Boards: Interactive, Effective & Fun (Part II): Learn six guided practice strategies for using dry erase boards.