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Three Simple Steps to the Perfect Classroom Whiteboard

As summer winds down, many of us are starting to plan for back to school and dreaming up what we want our classrooms to look like. (No? Just me? Okay.)

In the next few blog posts, I will walk you through parts of my room. If you are like me my first year teaching and have no idea where to start, I hope this series of posts will give you some quick tips and tricks. If you are a seasoned veteran in the classroom hopefully you can take away something new and also add to the discussion with best practices you have found in setting up your room. 

White Board Set Up

Different schools have different expectations for what your whiteboard should look like. Some schools might not even give you any expectations!

An effective whiteboard layout usually has:
Date
Objective
Agenda
Homework

Other things I’ve had school require on boards include materials, literacy skills or a behavior tracker.

Before setting up your board, take time to visualize what you want that space to look like. This will be the center of your classroom and what your students see daily. Take pride in making it look neat so that students will follow your lead. 

One of my biggest pet peeve is tape that isn’t laid down straight. Below is my board my first year. You can see that the tape curves a bit instead of falling straight down.

Over the years I’ve honed my board taping technique and my process goes as follows:

1. Section Off Board

Start by sectioning off your board with whiteboard markers. You should be drawing those lines in roughly. They do not need to be straight but should give you an idea of how things will fit.

2. Make Markings

Once you know the rough outlines of your board, use your measuring tape and start on the bottom of the board. Measure your board from the end of the board to where you want your first marking to be. Put a small dash on your whiteboard to where that is and remember the length. Do the same to the top side of your board and leave a mark to that measurement. Make sure the length from the edge of the board to the notch is the same on both the top and the bottom.  This will ensure that when you lay down the tape it is perfectly straight. Continue the same procedure to all the other sections of your board.

3. Lay Down Tape

I always start my tape at the top of my board. Align the end of the tape to the notch, pull the tape roll down and line it up to the notch at the bottom of the board. Don’t touch the tape and allow it to fall organically onto the board before pressing it down. This helps the tape look natural and not forced. It also makes the lines perfectly straight. Continue this for all lines on your board.

What tape should I use?

Electric tape will be your best friend in classroom set up. It looks clean and leaves minimal residue when removed. It is also relatively cheap–I purchase mine at Home Depot. Note that electric tape is a little stretchy and can change shape if you pull too hard. When working with it allow the tape to flow naturally from the roll and don’t apply too much pressure. When the shape changes it sticks to the board curvy and can look tacky. I use electric tape for my classroom calendar to keep a clean look.

Decorative washi tape also works well. It holds its form unlike electric tape and is super easy to work with. Depending on the type of tape you get, it may leave a residue when you remove it. I use washi tape for my daily work board as well as my word wall board. 

Ready to Get Started?

Here are the board labels I used this year in my classroom. I made mine on my Cricut but designed digital versions of the labels so that they can easily be printed, laminated and assembled in your classroom.

For more white board inspiration check out my Instagram highlights to see my white board in action!


4 Comments

  • Kela (unapologeticallykela from i’m good)

    This was so helpful
    It seems I’m all over the place with not enough space
    Thank you for sharing

  • Susie H

    I would love to do this, but I have a lot of different classes. I teach three different math sections, and two different computer science sections. I do have a whiteboard that is I want to say 4 ft long. It’s in a bit of an awkward place for students. Do you think I could dedicate the whole thing to my class information? I have been putting up a PowerPoint slide at the start of each class. However, as soon as I start using the activboard that goes away

    • mathwithmsyi

      Wow that’s a lot of different sections! I’ve definitely seen agenda boards split up in classes that teach multiple subjects. You would just need to section it into five portions. It was a classroom routine that when students came into the classroom they had to write down their homework assignment. However often times there was one or two students who missed it and so it was helpful to have it left up permanently in the classroom. Hope that’s helpful!

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