29 August 2012

Crayons for Whiteboards

Crayons for High School Kids

Many high school physics teachers use Whiteboarding as a part of teaching.  While the boards last almost forever (try cleaning with foaming bathtub cleaner if they get grungy), the markers don't.  Students go through the traditional wet markers with little thought.  They leave the caps off while discussing; they mash the tips to cottonball consistency. Some teams spend more time trying to find a marker that works than they do in working on the task at hand.

Last year, a teacher at a meeting of the Western New York Physics Teachers Alliance told us about discovering Crayola Crayons for Whiteboards.  I bought a couple of boxes to try them out ($4 for 8 but only 5 colours usable).  Kids loved them, mostly because of the novelty.  But they lasted.  The trouble was that they were hard to find and still a little pricey.

This summer, as I was in a WalMart, I looked in the Back to School section, hoping to find the Crayolas cheaper than they were in Office Depot.  They weren't there but I did spot Cra-Z-Art washable jumbo crayons (16 for around $2, but only about 12 usable colors).  I bought a pack just to try out.  When I got into school, I did try them, and found they work just as well as the Crayolas.  They write well, and erase usually with a dry rag (I use cut-up old towels), but sometimes need a little bit of water or window cleaner to get all the writing off.

If you whiteboard a lot in class and are annoyed by the excessive use of traditional wet markers, WalMart's Cra-Z-Art washable crayons are worth a look. You will want to keep a set of the regular markers. The crayons write with a thin line that is hard to see across the room, so if you are having the students present there board to the entire class, you will want them to write with the wider markers.

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