In the business world, project managers love to drop the “Pick Any Two” line on clients who want something fast, cheap, and good. “Yeah, well,” designers will say, scratching their goateed chins, “you can pick any two of those, but you can’t have all three.”

TriangleRandazzo
Teacher friends, allow me to bust the classic Project Management Triangle with my own fast, good, and cheap solution to my latest problem – how to find a class set of affordable whiteboards.

Looking on Amazon, a set of 10 individual-sized white boards runs about $21.00. I, like many of you, have class sizes of 34-35, so I would need four sets, for a total of $84. Um…that’s a little spendy, folks. What to do? Build my own set in a way that’s faster, better, and way cheaper.

What to do: Grab a stack of page protectors (less than 10 cents each in a 100-pack I already had in my office closet), slide a sheet of paper inside, and – boom! – I now have a set of 40 dry-erase boards ready to roll for the fall semester.

Whiteboards

Yet another win for education.

Teach on, everyone!

Join the conversation! 24 Comments

  1. I do this, too, and call them my ghetto whiteboards. Instead of tissues, I have used old socks, used dryer sheets and used the disposable, white cotton makeup rounds that are like a buck for 84 of them until this year when I scored 4 packs of black terrycloth coasters on clearance for 25 cents a piece!! Love this!

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  2. Makeup rounds and clearance coasters, here I come! 🙂

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  3. Left over felt squares work great and last forever.👍

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  4. Yes, keep those ideas coming! And I’m thinking the felt should be dark so the kids won’t realize how dirty those little squares actually get, right?

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  5. I use the felt squares as erasers, too, and I’ve also used the page protectors. If you’re looking for something a little more permanent or sturdy, home improvement stores sell 4′ x 8′ shower board for $10-$15. Most places will cut them for you, too, but check before buying them! If the store won’t cut them, maybe your STEM teacher will cut it for you. If you get them cut in 12″ x 12″ squares, one sheet will give you 32 boards! I really can’t tell the difference between them and “real” dry-erase boards.

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  6. Great stuff, Michelle! I never would’ve thought of shower board. Cool.

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  7. I tried hot gluing pom poms on the ends of dry erase markers, like I saw on Pinterest, and they were thrashed within days. It’s all about the felt, which can be stored inside the sheet protector. I will say, by the end of a year, the sheet protectors were pretty gnarly! Definitely a yearly redo!

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  8. Oh, Pinterest, why can’t my life ever look like those Pins? Thanks for the tip. Skipping the pom-poms and sticking with felt.

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  9. Two more thoughts:

    1) You know that poster paper that we all love to have our kids write all over to engage them in class? Just have several sheets of that laminated and reuse it for each lesson! So obvious, isn’t it? I went through three pads of that expensive paper before a veteran teacher gave me this tip!

    2) And I second Michelle’s Shower Board idea. There are also other panels at home improvement stores that could work. I just checked, and HD sells a 1/16 in. x 4 ft. x 8 ft. Plastic Panel for $19.98, and they also have a 3/16 in. x 2 ft. x 4 ft. Marker Board for $9.97. You’ll have to pay for cutting, but it would still cost a lot less than you can find them at a dollar store or Amazon. 🙂

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  10. Now this is my kind of professional development! I am loving all of the creative solutions everyone’s sharing. Thanks, Viv!

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  11. This is the shower board I had mentioned earlier:
    http://www.lowes.com/pd_16605-46498-300_0__?productId=3015239#BVRRWidgetID
    In the reviews, some people suggested to buy chalkboard paint and paint the back of this whiteboard to shake things up a bit, but I’m not that crafty. Most of the people who reviewed this product bought it to use as a whiteboard, too. And I actually thought that I was the only person with this idea.

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  12. Thanks for the follow-up, Michelle. 🙂

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  13. I do this too and use the thick sponges cut in half for erasers.

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  14. Great tip! Thanks, Kim.

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  15. A friend of mine put different colored tape around the edges. This is good for making groups, jigsaw, whatever. She also makes sure to pass them out and strategically give one color to kids she knows she needs to be especially watching to make sure they get the lesson. Sneaky differentiation :).

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  16. Great idea, Elizabeth! I love being sneaky. 🙂

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  17. ‘Chux’ work well too and the generic ones are quite cheap.

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  18. Thanks for the suggestion, Sylvia. Never would’ve thought of chux.

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  19. I am curious… How do you use these in your classroom? Do you use them daily for a specific activity, recording group work answers, etc. Thanks!

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  20. Great question, Kelly! I mostly use them for Quarter Trio competition games, where I want student teams to write down (and hide!) their answers before the teams all reveal them at the same time. Works like a charm! 🙂

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  21. We use old DVD cases with the original paper turned inside out or, if color-coding, simply insert colored paper. I put my DVDs in a book-style case and save the cases for classroom use. We tuck a bit of sock and a marker inside the case. Old PC games often came in the same sized cases, too. You might have plenty of dry-erase boards laying around your house right now.

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  22. SO clever, Cassie! And I’m kicking myself because I just consolidated my classroom DVD collection last week and recycled a bunch of these cases. Oh, man, they would’ve been perfect for this! Thanks for the tip. 🙂

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  23. You can also insert “worksheets” for them to practice with before actually using them. I had number bonds and fill in the blank addition subtraction sentences.

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  24. Great idea, Jennifer. I’d maybe use this for editing the grammar of sample sentences. Students could take a guess on the plastic slip and then record the correct answer on the actual paper sheet to keep as a reference. Thanks for commenting!

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