A Whiteboard Per Group
Sometimes the best tech is no tech. I love technology but students should also touch other things besides a screen. They should be moving around. Having kids talk and discuss has a high effectiveness for learning. However, the layout of the room has a big impact on how and if students are collaborating and discussing. I’ve proven this to myself time and again as I am always presenting in rooms with different furniture layouts. Diana Herrington and I have some math activities that we are challenged to get the participants to stop working on, they are so engaged in discussing and collaborating. However, when we did the same activity at the Google Office in NYC we were placed in a conference room with a long rectangular table. The level of participation and discussion was significantly lower. Just the fact that they were side by side rather than in a more cooperative seating arrangement affected how they interacted, their level of discussion, and their level of effort.
6th Graders at Oak Grove
I went to a math conference recently where 6th graders were demonstrating participating in a Socratic seminar for math. It was amazing! The students were grouped. A representative from each group sat in a semicircle. The activity was a Dan Meyer 3 Act math task. They were hooked into the math with an engaging video about a giant gummy bear. The role of the teacher was facilitator, the students were doing all of the talking. The teacher recorded their ideas and let them debate out the math. The students then went back to their groups. Each group had a rolling stand up whiteboard. The whiteboards were double sided, magnetic and on wheels. The students were standing (and kneeling) at the whiteboard working together to discuss the math problem.
The fact that the whiteboards are on wheels aids in having a flexible layout. The kids can be working on both sides, groups can be together or across the room. Two different groups boards can be pulled next to each other for side by some compare and contrast. Kids can bring up their board to present their ideas to the class.
Rolling Whiteboards on Amazon
I am not recommending any rolling whiteboard in particular. The ones Oak Grove elementary brought with them were amazing. I did not see them on Amazon so I bought the Trek room divider. I love it. They are easy to move around and very sturdy. There were cheaper ones but if I want students really working at the boards they are going to need to be durable.