Saving Paper, One Desk At A Time!

On the eve of Earth Day, I thought it would be a fitting time to reflect on our newest innovation in our classroom: whiteboard desks.

This is a project I envisioned last summer, when I had a three-day professional development at the Stanford (design school) and saw their whiteboard room. While many things came out of that PD (duct tape wallets/coat/ties, brainstorming in inquiry groups, prototyping behavior plans and lessons), the whiteboard dream was definitely the most ambitious.

After getting the paint (IdeaPaint) funded on, I tested the plan with my guided reading table, classroom door, and three desks. The test phase went very well. Wear-and-tear was minimal, student engagement was increased as was their production.  I took my first few hours of Spring Break to paint all the desks and left them to dry over the break. This has been the first week with everyone using their whiteboard desks and it has definitely encouraged a lot more writing!

Poetry, letters to parents for Open House, math problems, and even brainstorming ideas for our games project with Rock Our World. We’ll see tomorrow if we can go paperless for the day and use our whiteboards in even more innovative ways!

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12 Responses to Saving Paper, One Desk At A Time!

  1. Pingback: A Quick Peek into my Classroom Layout | attempts at using tech effectively in my classroom

  2. Very cool! That’s such and intriguing idea. I’m scared some teachers couldn’t get the clearance to do this (including me) but who knows? It would be worth it.

    I guess the only downside would be the temporary nature of it. But a quick shot with a digital can can archive something quickly.

    Thanks for sharing!

    – @newfirewithin

  3. As far as clearance, I think when you show how powerful it is, admin should start to see the possibility.

    It definitely is temporary, but I see more creativity happening due to that. I catalog all their work in Evernote when I want to add it to their portfolio or to use it later on. You can see an example here:

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  5. Pingback: Following up on Whiteboard Desks | attempts at using tech effectively in my classroom

  6. Nancy Palmer says:

    So cool! Yes, the temporary nature is one thing, but in my classroom, we do plenty of things that are “temporary” — and all those scaps and notes and brainstorms, or whatever it may be, go into the “finished work folder”. Or they are put in the recycling bin.

    Another great use would be for students to write the personal goal they are working on that week/month. For example, last year my students drew a picture and wrote a sentence about the personal goal they are working on, like “I will check my work” or “I will raise my hand and wait for my turn”. I attached them with contact paper, but eventually these goals change, or evolve, or students and I think of better wording and strategies that should be included in that visual reminder. In fact, it may be better for each student to come in in the morning and re-write that goal in the first place — that would be great! I reminder, a re-commitment, and easily changed.

    Thank you for sharing! I want these too, and I’m going to mention it to my principal tomorrow! Good luck and great stuff!

  7. Hi folks … thanks for all the great comments. We are in the process of creating a customizable presentation to help teachers and parents “pitch” IdeaPaint to their school administrators. The presentation will include information on cost saving, environmental benefits, and of course, case-studies of how schools are using IdeaPaint. Is there anything else we can/should include that would help?

    • Justin says:

      I think it’s reassuring to have the trap door of it being temporary and removable. It sounds silly, but I do think it’s comforting from a sales pitch perspective.

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  9. Lisa says:

    Such a GREAT idea. I am forwarding this to our 2nd grade teacher who’d probably love this just as much as I do.

  10. Justin says:

    I just wanted to follow up and check to see how this is going now? I see that this was done a few years ago and I wanted to see how the wear-and-tear effected the desks.

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