Every board tells a story

You might have noticed that I’ve recently been sharing pictures of my classroom boards on Facebook (and Twitter, occasionally). It’s a little crazy and self-indulgent if you think about it. Well, it’s definitely over the top for someone who’s not a member of the ELT community and/or hasn’t heard of the eltwhiteboard hashtag.

Anyway, like I said, over the past few weeks, I’ve been taking pictures of my board work and added them in an album on FB. There’s no system or order in it. If I think a picture is worth it, I share it.

Now, if you’ve seen the photos, you’ll know that my board work is not exactly impeccable. Still, I think it’s very useful for me to look at the photos in hindsight. First of all, it’s a great tool for my classes because I can use the pictures in any of the subsequent lessons. It’s much more efficient than writing the whole thing up again if you want to revise the material. I’ve noticed that it usually jogs my students’ memory quickly, especially if they helped me create the board in the previous lesson by adding items to a mindmap, filling in gaps, etc.

Not only is it good for my students, but it’s also good for me. It’s a great way of observing part of my work in retrospect. I’ve come to a couple of observations:

The board always looks nicer in reality than in a photo (I should clean the board more thoroughly). I sometimes think wow! but then I conclude hm, ok.

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My handwriting is not bad but there’s still some space for improvement. In combination with a filthy surface, the result can get a bit illegible.

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Coloured chalks look cool. Use them more often regardless of the fact that you are a secondary school teacher. 🙂

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If you have time to prepare (and clean) your board before the lesson and write on a wet surface, the result is much better when it gets dry.

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There’s one way to find out that your board work is cool – your students will take pictures of it. 😀

Also, believe it or not, some of your non-ELT friends may even learn from your boards. 🙂

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To sum up, it’s great to have a visual record of what you’ve been doing in your lessons. By looking at the photos, you can always make a mental connection to a specific class and topic, which can inspire your future lessons. Also, you can use the pictures in different classes and different groups, which saves your precious time.

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About Hana Tichá

I'm an EFL teacher based in the Czech Republic. I've been teaching English to learners of all ages for almost 25 years and I still love my job. You can find out more about my passion here on my blog.
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7 Responses to Every board tells a story

  1. I had to chuckle at your comment about knowing that your boardwork is cool when your students take pictures of it. My students, who are mainly middle-aged adults, take pictures of my board all the time — not do much because it is cool but more because their distance vision is not good and they don’t have glasses!
    I have been taking pictures of my boards for some time but never thought of putting them all in the same place somewhere. I will have to give that some thought. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hana Tichá says:

      Thanks, Nancy. I think that my students take a picture of the board only if they find it useful. In other words, once I don’t pay attention to my board work, they don’t either. 🙂

      Like

      • That’s probably very true. When we value something, they do, too. That makes me really think about the things I do in the classroom that I don’t really value. Time for some introspection, I guess!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. ven_vve says:

    I’ve noticed the board pics over on fb and my dominant thought was, “Oh no, chalk!” I guess I’ve been lucky in that I haven’t had to use a blackboard for a really long time now because I remember the whole sponge and chalk business as being pretty messy. Any tips on how to get as little chalk dust on yourself as possible?
    Speaking of using the pics in subsequent classes, I’ve never thought about this. I suspect I wouldn’t have even if I wasn’t teaching online. How do you share them with the students?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Adam says:

    Great idea.. just a question… do you have an idea of how the board will look at the end of the class or does it just develop as the class goes on? Do you always start in the middle and work outwards?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Shalhevet Solway says:

    Hi, I like the idea of the board inspiring future lessons. I think the board benefits the teacher as much as the students. I also, laughed when you said that you know when your board is cool, if your students take a picture of it. How true that is!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yael Shamah says:

    This is a very good idea, but I feel it wouldn’t be useful for me since my classroom board management is not yet very neat. I think once I start getting my board in order I’ll use this idea as well!

    Liked by 1 person

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