However this prime real estate, which should be preserved as open space for student work, is often taken up by some dubious development.
|SMART Boards are one culprit. Think of all the wasted space underneath!|
|Big Ideas, Essential Questions, Objectives|
|What's the opportunity cost of all that lost whiteboard space?|
In her book Becoming the Math Teacher You Wish You'd Had, Tracy Zager summarizes Liljedahl's work, as well as her reaction. She writes:
"When I first read Liljedahl's research, a whole series of narratives and images from the history of mathematics buzzed through my brain. Mathematicians frequently talk about standing around blackboards or whiteboards together, thinking and talking. This particular kind of collaboration--standing, talking, thinking, and writing--is so inherent to doing mathematics that many math buildings are designed around it. Given that mathematicians work this way, and that educational research has revealed there are tremendous benefits to vertical, non-permanent surfaces in classroom settings, it seems we have ample reasons to set them up." (pg 322-323)
She offers options for teachers in classrooms with limited wall space, including hanging whiteboards on cabinets, closets, and bathroom doors, and allowing students to write on windows with vis-a-vis markers.
|Mirrors work, too. just ask Will Hunting.|
"We all have real constraints on the size and layout of our teaching spaces," Zager writes. "Nevertheless, it's worth thinking about how we can work within those constraints to provide students workspaces that promote thinking partnerships."
After all, it's their room too.