One area in which size does matter...

14th January 2000 at 00:00
Your classroom may have a blackboard, a whiteboard, an interactive whiteboard or an overhead projector.

Whichever it is, there will be something on which you need to write in order to convey the main teaching points of your lesson.

The ability to use the board is invariably taken for granted, but it is worth thinking about it in more detail.

First, the most important question: will your work be seen by the entire class?

If the board is not raised, a pupil at the back of the room may only see the upper half.

Pupils may have to crane their necks to see properly, or ask the person in front which leads to chatter.

Having a hard-to-see board can unsettle the class and may subsequently be used as an excuse for not completing work, such as: "We couldn't see what we were supposedto be doing."

Is your writing legible? Ensure it is big enough for the far corners of the room. This is one area in which size does matter.

Try also to make it reasonably neat. We can hardly complain about untidy pupil work f we set a bad example on the board.

If you are unhappy about the quality of your own writing on the board, try copying out this sentence repeatedly to practise each letter of the alphabet: "The quick, brown, fox jumps over the lazy dog."

Consider also whether your handwriting is suitable for Year 7 pupils.

They may not be accustomed to readingcursive handwriting and it may be worthwhile printing instead.

It is also worth considering whether there are any benefits in writing instructions on the board in advance.

Be aware that "dustless" chalk can leave a film of grease on the writing surface which gradually renders it unusable.

Whiteboards are probably easier to use than the traditional black ones. Ideally, aim for dry wipe markers - the work can be rubbed off without water.

Remember that you can easily end up with ink all over your hands if you are notcareful.

Remember, too , that boardmarkers are a prized graffiti weapon among pupils, so you should keep yours safe at all times.

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