It’s easy enough to welcome state-of-the-art technology, if our school can afford it. Whether the technology is used or used wisely is up to us. I have been using interactive whiteboards for well over ten years now and I find them an incredible tool for any language teacher.
I talk and write far and wide about the kinds of benefits they bring. Today, however, I am not going to write about interactive whiteboards but about mini whiteboards. They don’t require electricity or a wall or a stand, they are cordless, they are light, they are pretty inexpensive and they are ideal for group work.
There are many tasks that can be performed and enhanced with the integration of mini whiteboards. At the end of the blog post, I am including three resources for you to explore with very creative ideas.
In this first blog post about mini whiteboards I want to share a fun and productive activity if you have several whiteboards for your class. It deals with revising vocabulary. Get your students into groups of 4-6 and give each group a whiteboard and a marker. Display on the board in the front a list of lexical items that you would like to revise (alternatively, you can dictate them. For ideas on Dictation, check out these very popular posts from this blog, Dictation 1, Dictation 2 and Dictation 3. For practical purposes, I will be using the same list of items I used in those blog posts (you will be using your own).
-a fancy restaurant
-it threw me off
-to turn down a job
-it slipped my mind
– it’s worth watching
-to get a refill
-to pull a sickie
-to have a whale of a time
Once the students have the list of items, ask a student from each group to write on the mini board any three items (let’s say the first three: a fancy restaurant, it threw me off, to carpool). Next, provide a situation. Here are some to choose from:
- you are stuck in an elevator
- you are going to a speed dating event
- at the library
- a weird dream
- your first day at work
- a strange work interview
- the novel I am reading
Tell the groups to choose a situation. A student in the group will start the story. He/She will have to use one of the items on the board. For instance, for being stuck in an elevator, she could say: “Let me tell you about my trip to New York last summer. My boyfriend and I went there last July. We normally had fast food for lunch but one day we decided to give ourselves a treat, so we made a reservation at a fancy restaurant on the rooftop of a skyscraper. So we took the elevator to take us all the way to the top, when we got stuck in it halfway”.
So this student will erase “stuck in the elevator” from the whiteboard, write another item from the list and hand out the board to a student sitting to her right (or left, whether they are moving clockwise or anticlockwise). This student will have to continue the story by including one of the three items on the board. Then he will erase the item used and replace it with a new one and hand out the board to the next student. The groups can decide to have more than one round of interventions or choose another situation for a new story.