Dry erase markers and whiteboards have become standard tools in almost every elementary classroom. And, I love them just as much as everyone else does! But, if you’re like me, you’ve had some problems with them that just make you crazy! The good ones cost too much. The cheap ones don’t erase well and they don’t last very long. My kiddos ALWAYS use the wrong markers on them. The lids are ALWAYS getting lost. And, I still haven’t found erasers that work well, last a long time, and don’t cost a fortune.
Well… I’ve got good news! I’ve solutions for all of those problems that are easy AND cheap!!
First, don’t ever buy a whiteboard again! You can make your own class set of them in about 10 minutes for just a few dollars!
All you need is some white card stock and a laminator. For these, I prefer my personal laminator over the type schools have because the lamination is so much thicker with a personal one. I LOVE the one I have! You can get yours HERE. You’ll also need laminating pouches. There are LOTS of different options, and honestly, I haven’t noticed any difference between the cheaper ones and the more expensive ones. So, I opt for THESE because they cost so much less!
So, to make the DIY whiteboards, all you need to is laminate one piece of card stock for each kiddo you have! You can write directly on it with dry erase markers, and it will come right off! But, I love to customize mine! So, I like to trim down my card stock by one inch on each side and put colorful paper behind it! You can use plain colors like the set in the picture above, or you can match them to the decor in your room! The best part about these is that if they get messed up, it’s OK! It’s way too easy and cheap to replace them, and when you’re working with little kiddos, that is a big deal!
So, now that you have all the whiteboards you could ever need, it’s time to make sure the kiddos use dry erase markers, and ONLY dry erase markers when they are using them! All you need for this dry erase hack is a roll of the washi tape of your choice! Wrap the bottom of each dry erase marker with washi tape to mark them as “special” markers that are only for the whiteboards! Markers that don’t have the special tape aren’t special markers and can’t be used on the white boards! You will need to spend some time at the beginning of the year training your kiddos on this, but once they’ve got it, your life will be so much easier!!
Here’s another hint: Use the washi tape to customize your DIY whiteboards, too! They’ll match the markers AND they’ll be super cute!
Now for those sneaky lids… They are always and forever getting lost! The kiddos take them off the dry erase markers, and it’s like they just get up and walk away! (And it never fails that they show up the day AFTER we’ve given up and thrown the marker away!) So, I solved this problem by giving my kiddos a simple place to put the lids until it’s time to put them back on the dry erase markers. It’s called the Cap Cup.
It’s just a small cup where the lids go while the kiddos are using the dry erase markers. But, it keeps your kiddos from unintentionally knocking the lids on the floor, under a shelf, or behind a cabinet while they’re writing. (It works for anything that has a cap!) Does it work? YES!! Again, you’ll have to train your kiddos on this procedure. But, once they’ve got it, those pesky little lids will stay put!
And, last but not least, erasers. I just haven’t found any commercial ones that are reasonably priced that I like. And I DON’T like to spend a lot of money on things, especially if I know I’m going to be replacing them on a regular basis. So, what do I use? Pom poms. Yep! You read that right: pom poms. I started using them a few years back when I saw this fun picture on Pinterest of pom pom that were hot glued to the bottom of the dry erase markers to be used as erasers. So, I tried it. How did they turn out? Well, that’s not the hack I’m telling you about, so I’ll let you guess how it turned out! To say it was a Pinterest FAIL really doesn’t do it justice! It was a mess to glue them on. I’m pretty sure I burned my fingers several times. And, the very first time my kiddos used them, almost all of them came off.
In a moment of complete and total frustration, I told the kiddos to just pick up the pom poms and erase with them anyway! It worked like a charm, AND it gives those fine motor muscles a workout in the process!! Double win! So now, I completely skip that whole hot-glue thing and go straight to the pom poms! They cheap. They’re simple. They work. And they are easy to replace! Plus, you can store them right in the cup with the dry erase markers!
So, there you have it! Four dry erase hacks that every teacher should know! What are your favorite dry erase hacks? I’d love to hear the things you’ve come up with to make your teaching life easier!
You might also want to check out some of my back-to-school ideas! It’s almost that time of year, you know!