Friday, March 14, 2014

Why Didn't I Think of That? {Page Protectors}

Way back in November, I blogged about a book called Embedded Formative Assessment by Dylan Wiliam that changed the way I teach.  I encountered several "aha!" moments when I read that book, and today I'm going to blog about another one.  Many of you may already know this teacher-friendly trick, but I want to share it anyway, just in case any of you are unaware like I was!

Do you have a set of these white boards?

Wonderful, aren't they?  Each student can have a white board and display his/her answer on his/her own board.  They are perfect for small group use, and even large class use. Yes, the students like to draw and doodle on them, but overall, students using white boards are usually quite engaged in the lesson. You can quickly get an idea of the students that are understanding the concepts being presented, and those that are still confused or struggling to grasp a certain concept.  (You know... just watching our students' nonverbal cues can tell us teachers a lot.  Students that confidently write their answer as quick as a wink KNOW the concept.  On the other hand, students who pause and try to covertly steal a glance at their neighbor's board do not quite understand the new learning.)

These white boards work great for practicing spelling patterns, math problems, etc.  However, they aren't the answer for everything.  They don't quite work for practicing map skills or drawing the hands on a clock.  Drumroll... that's where PAGE PROTECTORS come in handy!  Did you know dry-erase markers and erasers work just as well on a page protector as they do on a white board?!?!?  Yes, it's true!  (When I read that in Wiliam's book, I sat there and thought, I've been teaching for 15 years, and I didn't KNOW that?  Why didn't I think of that??)

Just slip a paper inside a sleeve and voila!  You have a new all-student response system that you can use with your entire class to keep them engaged!  Want to practice finding locations on a map using longitude and latitude?  Just hand out maps, page protectors, and dry-erase markers and you're all set for whole-group practice!  Want to have students practice finding the place value of a certain digit in a number?  Try this method!  

Below are just some of the ways that I have used page protectors in my class:

During our genre unit of study, I gave each student one of these genre lists, a marker, and an eraser.  Students joined me in the classroom library area.  I held up a book and read the summary on back, students determined the genre by circling the correct term on their sheet.

Colored cardstock provides a bright alternative to white boards!

Perfect for labeling maps!

Works great with any graphic organizer!

These graphic organizers are FREE on TPT (compliments of Nicole Swisher!).
Please leave a comment and let me know what other papers you slip inside page protectors to allow for individual responses during a whole-class activity!  I would love to hear more ideas!

Before I sign off for this month, I have two other things I would like to quickly mention!  First of all, I recently added a FREE April Fool's Day craftivity to my store!  If you haven't tried a craftivity with your students yet, this freebie is a perfect one to try!

Finally, I have a "Pin It to Win It" giveaway going on at my blog, Crafting Connections, right now! I will be giving away pinned resources to FIVE winners!

Until next month!



  1. I use them with a place value sheet, graph paper (keep long division in line) and like you varied "worksheets." I do have my students clip them on their clip board for a stronger surface. This makes them as portable as the personal white board.

  2. Marking sentences and/or diagramming sentences! Love using this with grammar.

  3. I clip a page protector to the back of the whiteboard so we can use both. They can work the problem on the page protector and then write the final answer on the white board side. I get to see both the work and the answer with out all the mess.

  4. Love using page protectors. Just make sure you don't by the cheap ones. They don't erase completely and need to be replaced frequently.

    Quinnessential Lessons

  5. Thank you for sharing the great ideas! I will definitely be clipping page protectors to my white boards I already have! (Kim... yes, I totally agree! I learned that lesson the hard way! :) )


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