In my previous post about Creating a Culture of Thinking, I said I would have my students working in random groups, standing, using vertical non-permanent surfaces. What I neglected to mention is that there are cost-effective ways to have all of your students working on whiteboards.
After researching alternatives to whiteboards on the net (for example here), I decided to buy frost white 1/8" smooth panelboard from Home Depot. The manufacturer is Decorative Panels International. I bought four 4x8 foot boards for about $130.
I decided to cut them into 8 4x4 sheets. My room has two whiteboards, so this provides 10 large vertical surfaces for groups of students to work at. Here's one of them:
The pieces of word sticking out at the corners are parts of an X on the back to provide stability--the board was much too floppy otherwise. Here's the X:
Tomorrow is the first day of classes, however my school has career planning activities for the first two days, so there probably won't be much in terms of creating a culture of thinking until Thursday. See you then!
Update as of September 26:
These boards work great--as good or better than the real thing. He's a picture of one that has been used daily for 3 weeks. It has just been cleaned with kleenex or regular erasers (no liquid cleaners). The lighting is weird because it was sitting beside a window.