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Teaching with Dry Erase Boards (Part II)

Laura Candler, TeachHUB Blogger


Teaching with Dry Erase Boards: Interactive, Effective and Fun! (Part II) Dry erase boards are one of the easiest ways to keep kids engaged in every lesson. In Dry Erase Boards: Part I, I shared where to obtain enough boards for all your students and how to use them for whole group instruction.

In this blog post, I’ll share guided practice strategies for using dry erase boards.

6 Guided Practice Strategies for Dry Erase Boards

Effective lessons often start with whole class instruction and include guided practice through cooperative learning, small group instruction, one-on-one assistance, or learning centers.

 Try these dry erase board strategies for the guided practice portion of your lesson. These methods work well to actively engage students in practicing a skill with a partner or group, but you’ll want to follow up with an independent assignment for accountability.

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Task Cards Examples

Use for Partner Pass, Pairs Compare & Showdown

Card Descriptions        

Task Descriptions

Sentence with underlined word

Write the part of speech.

Math problem

Solve problem and record the answer.

State name

Write the capital city.

Science review question

Write a short answer.

Number in standard form

Write the word name or expanded form.

Present tense verb

Write the past tense form.

Definitions of key vocabulary

Write the correct term.

Partner Pass

Pair students of similar abilities and give each pair one dry erase board and a marker to share.

Next, give them a set of task cards with questions or assign a page of problems from a textbook. Be sure to provide an answer key for the assignment.

As they complete the assignment, students take turns being the Recorder or the Coach. The Recorder solves the first problem and/or answers the question while the Coach watches and coaches as needed. The Coach checks the answer with the key and they switch roles for the next task card.

To see an example of an appropriate set of task cards for this activity, download the Subject and Predicate Task Cards. You can create your own task cards using the blank task card template from Teaching Resources. Starter ideas are included in the side bar.

Pairs Compare

For Pairs Compare, both students will need their own dry erase board and a marker. Create pairs of students with similar abilities and provide them with task cards or a textbook assignment as described above.

Both students work the first problem independently without talking. They place their boards face down when finished. When both are ready, they flip their boards face up, compare answers, and discuss solutions. They check their answer with a key or use a calculator to check math problems.


For Showdown, students should be seated in cooperative learning teams. For each team, you’ll need a set of task cards as well as a reference for checking answers, such as an answer key, a textbook, class notes, or a calculator. The task cards are stacked face down in the middle of the team and students rotate the role of Leader.

The Leader flips over the top card and all students silently solve the problem or write the answer on their dry erase boards.  They turn them face down to show they are ready. The Leader says, “Showdown!” and they flip their boards face up, compare and discuss.

You can find a page of kid-friendly Showdown directions on Teaching Resources.

Teaching with Dry Erase Boards: Interactive, Effective and Fun! (Part II) Showdown Team Management Tips
Teams of four are most effective for Showdown, but teams of three or five will work as well.
Teams can be created as mixed-ability groups or similar-ability groups. However, if your mixed-ability teams vary greatly in skill level, please be sensitive to the need of your at-risk students. In my experience, these students get really frustrated with Showdown if they are the only one getting the problem wrong. If this seems to be happening, you may want to pull those students out to work with you in a special group or allow them to work with a tutor or assistant at this time. Another solution is to regroup the entire class into similar-ability teams and differentiate with leveled task cards.

Small Group Instruction

Dry erase boards are great for working with kids in small groups. Keep a stack of boards along with a box of markers in the middle of your small group table.

When you ask a question or pose a problem, have students jot the answer down on their boards before sharing with the group. This step keeps everyone on task and serves as formative assessment while you are teaching a new skill.

One-on-One Instruction

If you have a teacher assistant, parent volunteer, or peer tutor, there’s nothing better than a dry erase board for working with students individually.

 The tutor can write a problem or question on the board and watch closely as the student solves the problem or responds to the question. The level of difficulty can easily be adjusted for each new task according to how the student responded to the one before it. 

Teaching with Dry Erase Boards: Interactive, Effective and Fun! (Part II) Learning Centers

Many center games involve recording answers or solving problems; for example, math games often require students to solve a problem before they can move their marker or cover a space on a game board.

Dry erase boards are terrific for these activities because they save paper and allow students to correct their mistakes easily. When assigning students to work with a buddy, have them use Partner Pass or Pairs Compare to provide structure and individual accountability.

How do you use dry erase boards for guided practice? Share in the comments section!


Read Part I and Part III

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 III): Learn helpful tips for managing and organizing dry erase boards.

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