Whiteboard Walls

BY Bonnie Lasorsa

Wareham Middle School

Project Description
Whiteboard paint turns any surface into a dry erase board. The application of this paint on the wall of my classroom gives students a large surface to explore and create and it is FUN to write on the wall. Some of my goals this year are to encourage my students to explore and try new ideas, to include more movement in my lessons, and to give students places to be creative and collaborative.

Research shows that students who are engaged in their work are more successful when solving problems. At the beginning of every year I ask my students if they like math class and if they are good at math. Overwhelmingly they say they do not like math and they cannot “do it.” I am hoping to change that mindset. I have confidence that if I can get them to work through problems, work together, and allow them to move their mindset about math will change.

The back wall of my classroom is approximately 30′ x 10′. I would like to paint 200 square feet of that with a clear coating that turns the wall into a dry erase board. Students can work through problems on the wall as well as the whiteboard in the front of the room. Allowing them to do this gives me a view of their thinking and places to intervene.

I have approximately 65 students this year but I am also the math department chair and serve as a model for my department. The paint has a 10 year guarantee so students in the future would be impacted as well.

How will the project be evaluated (e.g. how will you gauge its success)
Student surveys are part of my class now. The success of this project will be evaluated by their surveys. Our goal is always to increase the engagement of students and the way they view their ability to learn math. Increased collaboration and practice will have a positive effect on student surveys and on their scores on standardized testing.

Benefit to the students and the school
Although the paint will only impact 65 students this year, there is a 10 year guarantee on the product. Anyone using the room for at least 10 years – during the school year or the summer program – could utilize it.

Students – and teachers – think it is FUN to write on the wall. It allows them to move around the room, collaborate with other students, be creative in solving their math problems, and encourages them to write out the problems enhancing their precision and attention to detail.

This is a pilot room and idea. Hopefully, school funding could be used in the future in more classrooms.

Timeline of Project (when will you do the project, if applicable)
There are several steps to the process. Smooth and clean the walls, prime, paint with a base coat and then apply the whiteboard paint itself. Upon receiving the funding, I would almost immediately begin the process. The funding for the primer and paint are my own contribution and my husband has agreed to help with the labor. Each step has to dry overnight so our goal is either the Martin Luther King holiday or February break. Earlier if possible.