Fostering a Thinking Classroom as a New Teacher

"Classrooms are diverse, and students come from all backgrounds and situations. Students who may have anxiety or trauma and struggle to work in groups, have become enthusiastic in going to their vertical non-permanent vertical surface, their Flipchart."

Pictured is Ms. Trottier a second year Elementary school teachers and author of this blog


New Teacher


As a new teacher, Wipebook's Flipcharts have been the best tool to support cultivating a classroom community. Students are eager to go to their Wipebook each day; to brainstorm our classroom norms, to stimulate discussion, to problem solve and are inquisitive. Flipcharts allow students from all backgrounds, cultures and communities to have a place to explore, be curious and feel safe to try. 


Wipebook Make it Easy  


Ms. Trottier's students work together to solve math problems on Flipchart's VNPS


Being a new teacher can be busy and overwhelming. After creating a defronted classroom with Flipchart I am able to stand in the middle of my room and view all of the students' work at a glance. At any point in the room I am able to know what my students are thinking, know where they are at in a problem, or know which students are ready for a challenge or who may need more support. Students learn to work together, to look around the room and to share their thinking, see others work, creating the mobility of knowledge which allows students to take ownership of their learning and me as a teacher to step back. Stepping back allows me to assess student understanding and provide feedback to extend student thinking. At the beginning of the year we used our Wipe Books in our non-curricular thinking tasks, which would typically be done on paper. The Flipcharts allowed students to work together, build their collaboration, perseverance, problem solving and teamwork skills, while allowing every student to have a voice and feel included. 


Multiple Entry Points 


One of Ms. Trottier's students adds on to a communal project on a Flipchart being used to defront the classroom


Classrooms are diverse, and students come from all backgrounds and situations. Students who may have anxiety or trauma and struggle to work in groups, have become enthusiastic in going to their vertical non-permanent surface, their Flipchart. Students have to stand at their wipebook, which makes them more engaged in the task, and the non-permanent aspect of the Wipebooks allows students to take risks (P. Liljedahl, 2021). Not all students are comfortable raising their hand, but in a thinking classroom and using a Wipebook all students know their voices are heard, their thinking matters and it is not a you versus me mentality, it is everyone thinking and taking risks together. If a student is anxious they are able to quietly step back, observe the room and use the mobility of knowledge to contribute to their specific group. If a student is not comfortable sharing their ideas, then they can become the designated recorder for their group. Wipebooks allow for the learning to meet the students where they are at so they feel confident in their thinking and value. 


Formative Assessment Tool 


Ms. Trottier's students take turns using the VNPS to solve math problems
Together two of Ms. Trottier's students use Flipchart's reusable surface to solve a numeric puzzle

As students learn from each other and I am able to step back and observe, I am able to provide my students with an authentic observation, and timely feedback. Wipebook's Flipchart allow me to provide clear goals, feedback and a balance of challenge and ability to keep them in the flow which is where they are willing to take risks and persevere (P. Liljedahl, 2021). I am able to see the thinking of all my students and see if they are ready to do something, if they can justify or explain their thinking, can they teach their peers or if they are ready to extend their thinking (P. Liljedahl, 2021). The Flipcharts allow me to provide all students with what they need in order to persevere, take risks and grow. 


Corinne Trottier, Elementary Teacher, Halifax Regional Centre for Education

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