Teaching plays a fundamental role in the upbringing of our youth. We’ve all met that one person that we view as a positive influence; perhaps it was a parent, teacher or close friend—someone you could count on. With October 5th recognized as World Teachers Day, we wanted to give the spotlight to those that make a difference. We asked you to share personal stories of teachable moments in your past, highlighting individuals that strive to make a difference every day. Here’s a few of our favorite stories:
How do you know when your students are falling behind on grades and struggling with a specific subject?
The answer to this question is always met with a variety of responses ranging from the sarcastic, “Of course, I’m the best educator in the world! How could I not know which students of mine are falling behind?” to the less enthusiastic, “I try to.”
The truth of the matter is that no educator can always know how every one of his or her students is performing. Sure, you may have an idea of perhaps a handful of students that may be falling behind, but in order to prove that theory you are forced to dig through a plethora of binders just to validate your belief.
Every teacher would love to be able to keep constant tabs on the effectiveness of their lesson plans and the status of their entire roster of students, but when there are papers to grade and lessons to be planned, you cannot possibly be on top of everything.
Or can you?
Our visual systems specialists at Magnatag frequently receive calls from school administrators asking for help on how to display, communicate, plan, and track everything from Student Progress, to Master Class and Course Schedules. With the help of whiteboards, students and staff are encouraged to come together in an effort to collaborate, ultimately resulting in better classroom cohesion. With such a variety of products to choose from, it can sometimes be difficult to decide what works best for you. Here is a brief overview of magnetic whiteboard systems that administrators tell us work best for them.
With all of the recent changes in education relating to common core, there is constant pressure put on administrators and teachers to have students meet standards. To complement enterprise software, forms and charts to track student progress, some administrators, counselors and academic coaches use a whiteboard as a visual representation for tracking. Based on my conversations with administrators, counselors and academic coaches, I have found several reasons why a whiteboard is a complementary tool for tracking students:
1. It encourages collaboration and ensures that the school’s mission and goals are aligned among administrators and teachers. By recording and showing progress, it allows administration to keep track of how the students are progressing individually and as a whole.
2. It helps to allocate resources and execute strategies as a group for students who need one on one instruction, group instruction or extra attention before exams.
3. Because it is “always on” and always available to view, a whiteboard is a constant reminder to administrators and staff of how their students are doing in specific subjects.
4. A whiteboard allows administration to group students by subject, grade, progress, testing and behavioral issues. The color-coding system (red, yellow and green magnets) is easily understood and shows immediately how the school is doing.
As an educator, it is important to keep up with technology and the latest advances in software; however, considering a hands-on, visual tool for your team to collaborate could help communication and the execution of strategies in your school. Administration and staff need to communicate and collaborate effectively in order to successfully work toward the school’s mission, goals and objectives.
As technology becomes more dominant in the educational setting, it is important to have a system that will work cohesively among a number of areas to enhance communication and productivity. The implementation of whiteboard systems has been a welcome advantage in assisting teachers and administrators in the identification of student and district-centered solutions.
When children begin school, they are often overwhelmed with new information. They quickly begin to learn to read, and initially, children are often taught to spell and write words in a kid-friendly manner where everything is spelled the way it sounds. Unfortunately, however, many times words are not spelled exactly as they sound. As children become more advanced with reading and writing, they eventually learn the basic rules of the English language and begin to spell words properly. Continue reading Teaching Spelling with White Boards
Whiteboards or dry-erase boards are a wonderful addition to every learning environment. Whether in the classroom or for individual study, whiteboards enable students to write, draw, practice, or create lessons in an easy, fun, and convenient manner. Students can easily erase mistakes and rewrite problems or diagrams until they are correct, which saves on total paper costs. Continue reading Study Tips Using a Whiteboard
Bulletin board displays are creative ways to share information, enhance learning or feature students’ work, and foster community spirit. They are visually stimulating and pleasing displays that quickly became a central focal point of any classroom or office. With a little creativity and ingenuity, teachers and businesses can maximize the effectiveness of the bulletin boards they display. Continue reading How to Create Effective Bulletin Board Displays for Businesses and Classrooms
Any teacher will tell you that their students learn in different ways. While some students may learn best from lectures, others need to participate in hands-on activities in order to fully understand something. Still other students must see a concept demonstrated or explained in pictures in order to comprehend it. Students in this third group are known as “visual learners.”
What it Means to Be a Visual Learner
A visual learner is an individual who learns best when he or she is able to view information in the form of visual aids, including demonstrations, videos, diagrams, and pictures presented by the instructor or the textbook. Visual learners remember what they see more often than they remember what they hear. They often have trouble with verbal instructions and are much more likely to be able to complete a task successfully when it is explained using images. These students often prefer art to music, and they would rather read than listen to someone speak.
- The Visual Learning Style: On this page, you will find a definition of the visual learning style, along with some study strategies for visual learners.
- Recognizing Visual Learners: This page offers a list of characteristics teachers can look for in order to identify visual learners in the classroom.
Helping Visual Learners Succeed
Visual learners will benefit from any teaching strategy that allows them to “see” the concepts in front of them, as opposed to simply hearing about them. When teaching visual learners, instructors should try to include images, charts, and videos whenever possible. One of the easiest ways to accommodate visual learners without taking away from students with other learning styles is through the use of a whiteboard, which allows you to complement speaking with written notes, drawings, and other visual aids. To ensure that visual learners are adequately informed about important events, such as assignment due dates or exams, consider using a dry erase calendar in addition to verbal instructions.
- Strategies for Teaching Visual Learners: This page provides a list of challenges visual learners often face in the classroom, along with tips for overcoming them.
- Teaching Math to Visual Learners: In this article, you will find specific strategies designed to help you teach math to visual learners.
- Connecting with Visual Learners (PDF): This is an informative article published by Purdue University that instructs teachers on how to connect with visual learners and understand education from their perspective.
Multiple studies have shown that students’ learning styles differ considerably. While it may not always be possible to label every student with one specific learning style, all students have preferences when it comes to learning and instruction. Studies have also shown that accommodating these preferences can improve learning outcomes. Since research indicates that more than 60 percent of students are visual learners, incorporating visual teaching methods is essential for every teacher.
- Benefits of Visual Aids: Suzanne Stokes discusses the empirical benefits of using visual aids in the classroom in this scholarly article from the Electronic Journal for the Integration of Technology in Education.
- Importance of Visual Literacy: This article discusses potential benefits of visual teaching methods for all students, including those who prefer other teaching methods. This supports the use of these methods by all teachers.
Handwriting is a foundational skill that young students must master. With neat and effective handwriting, the student can organize thoughts and ideas and communicate effectively. As important as handwriting is, this skill requires that children practice and work to develop skills. Some children resist handwriting due to its tedious nature, making it difficult to teach skills. Handwriting practice on a whiteboard can help children hone skills to develop neat penmanship, while keeping them interested in the lessons. Children love having the chance to get out of their seats and write on whiteboards. When children practice handwriting exercises on the whiteboard, they are fully engaged and active participants in the learning process.
- The Importance of Teaching Handwriting – Learn why handwriting is not the trivial skill that some believe it to be. This website explains the difference between manuscript and cursive handwriting. As little as 15 minutes of practice each day on a whiteboard can be enough to help a student make significant strides in handwriting.
- Handwriting Practice Can Be Fun – Handwriting does not need to involve paper and pencil. A whiteboard offers a different writing method that many children enjoy. Offering different mediums for handwriting practice often helps children become or remain engaged in learning.
- Handwriting Activities for Home – This web page offers details about how to use a whiteboard for pre-letter learning and handwriting practice. Children can trace and draw shapes on the whiteboard and then progress to tracing and writing letters.
- Teacher Guide to Printable Handwriting Activities – This article recommends using a variety of surfaces and materials for practicing handwriting. A whiteboard and markers are one combination that many children enjoy. Markers in bright colors often appeal to young students.
- Handwriting Activities – Learning cursive handwriting takes time. Kids may be more likely to spend extra time practicing if they can use a whiteboard and brightly colored markers to practice making letters. The fluidity with which markers glide over a whiteboard surface can enhance learning.
- Handwriting Bags – This teacher explains how she uses handwriting bags to teach children handwriting skills. Inside each bag, kids find tracing cards, an alphabet to use for making letters, writing paper, a mini whiteboard, markers and an eraser. Kids often enjoy the variety of materials for handwriting practice.
- Literacy Teaching Ideas: Aspects of Writing – This publication details how children progress through specific stages as they learn how to write. The more practice children have, the faster they will learn handwriting skills and the neater their handwriting can become.
- Letter and Letter Sound Identification – Children may struggle with learning letters because they don’t realize that each letter has identifying characteristics. A teacher can use an interactive whiteboard to write a letter and then draw kids’ attention to specific features of each letter. Children can then practice forming the letters on the interactive whiteboard.