Show me boards 2.0

Having now entered my 12th year as a maths teacher and witnessed the evolution of the mathematics classroom in that time, I find that my favourite resource is still the show me board (see this Prezi put together by an excellent NQT in our department). I have, in the past, had my own Qwizdom set to use with my classes and have flirted with using Socrative but nothing beats good old fashioned mini-whiteboards for instant feedback and participation from all members of a class. I have an element of this in most of my lessons and using them effectively is something of an art I have developed over the years (I have been meaning to video myself using them in a lesson and will upload it here soon. Watch this space!). I love the fact that not only can they be used as an assessment tool, but they can also be used to build and deepen understanding through well thought out questioning.

So what on earth are ‘Show me boards 2.0’? Well, it’s an idea that I have developed over the past couple of years where I use a combination of interactive excel spreadsheets, alongside a template stuffed into a plastic wallet. Below is an example of  an activity I designed to build up the idea of factorising quadratics with a year 10 group.


Interactive spreadsheet

Interactive spreadsheet

Pupil template

Pupil template

The idea is that the pupils have a blank version of the interactive sheet in front of them along with a dry marker pen. You reveal bits of the spreadsheet and the pupils copy down the information onto their show me boards. They then work out and fill in the rest of the information. If any students struggle, you can individually give them more information. If they are all finding it easy, you give them less/different information the next time. As a teacher, you get to be in control of the pace and the challenge of the whole activity throughout.  You are also able to pick up on any misconceptions throughout and talk about them and deal with them through your questioning.

A few tips..

  1. Store all your templates in 1 set of plastic wallets and get your pupils to move the one you are using in that lesson to the front.
  2. Make sure when you finish using them in a lesson, you get them to wipe them clean otherwise it is a pain to clean them!
  3. Use them as reusable worksheets for things like cross-numbers or number puzzles.
  4. Get them to hold up their boards together so that you get an accurate picture of each students understanding.
  5. Have some “what would happen if..”, “can you explain why..” etc. questions ready for students who are finding the tasks easy.

I have put together a few of these and am always looking to add to my collection. If you think of any great ideas, please let me know and I will do my best to put something together..

Click here to see the ones I have created so far, including the factorising quadratics one above.

photo credit: Danny Nicholson via photopin cc


2 thoughts on “Show me boards 2.0

  1. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    August 26, 2014 at 8:27pm

    I think one of the best ways to use mini whiteboards is when you ask a nice open question and insist that no student is allowed to have the same answer on their board as anyone in the class (or on their table if you are feeling nice), it is really interesting to see all the different answers they come up with. Often lots that I wouldn’t think of myself! Plus no one can copy from their partner!

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply


      August 29, 2014 at 8:30pm

      Fantastic idea and I can imagine lots of interesting discussions would follow! Thanks Kerry 🙂

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