Engagement Strategies - Whiteboards


Mini-whiteboards are an invaluable tool for teachers, as they both engage students and allow the teacher to check students’ understanding.  Mini-whiteboards enable a teacher to see all written or drawn responses simultaneously. Teachers can then ensure that every student is participating and is academically accountable. Mini- whiteboards are a useful addition to any lesson that requires students to demonstrate their thinking via a written or drawn response, that is not required to be permanently saved. They are particularly useful during a daily review and the guided practice component of an explicit lesson.


  Use in the Classroom

Mini-whiteboards are best used for short responses.  

As the teacher poses a question, students can use a whiteboard marker to write onto their blank mini-whiteboard and then hold up their responses. Swap Write and Wipe boards can also be used and worksheets can be inserted behind their clear covers which the students complete during a lesson. Mini-whiteboards require organisation and storage. The handing out and collection of them together with the supply of pens and rubbers can be planned for and coordinated as part of a classroom management plan.To maximise the impact of mini-whiteboards, students should be taught routines such as:

  • Soldier boards’ which indicates when the boards must not be touched.
  • Hot boards’ which indicates it is time for them to be used.
  • 3,2,1, chin it’ as a whole class response to hold up their boards to show their working.
  • ‘Hover board’ to indicate to students who have completed a task but should not yet share their answers.


  • Literacy: spelling words and writing letters for a given sound, short sentences, write the word that matches a given definition for vocabulary review.
  • Numeracy: writing down the number before or after; writing which numeral is in the hundreds place of given number; showing the number sentence used to solve a given problem.

Use with technology

There are many online interactive whiteboards available for teachers to use via their desktop computers. Teachers should explore which options would suit their own situation, as some of these will require the addition of a plugin while others require downloading.

  Personalised Learning

When students with additional needs are engaging with learning by using whiteboards to write or draw responses, there may be some potential barriers that need to be considered.  These may include following routines or instructions, completing several tasks or holding the board or marker pen. Some students may have an increase in anxiety when demonstrating their work.

Some potential adjustments may include:

  • Pre-teach gestures to assist providing engagement and response.
  • Minimise the number of questions or whiteboard responses according to ability.
  • When using a worksheet inside a Swipe Write and Wipe board enlarge the font.
  • Consider seating proximity of the student to the teacher.
  • Use an interactive whiteboard available on a computer/iPad.
  • Write clear instructions on the board or repeat instructions for individual students.
  • Use of a communication device such as a voice output or a communication aid whereby the student records the sentence and plays it aloud for the whole class.


Explain Everything Whiteboard app

The online whiteboard allows teachers to collaborate, add drawings, images, videos, and documents. Teachers and students can also annotate and record their screens.

Access resource

Dr Frost Maths website

This website has an inbuilt whiteboard that is useful for mathematics teachers as it includes grid paper and other mathematical symbols.

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