Visual Thinking in my Classroom: Wipebook Workbooks Upgrade

Next year, not only will I be able to scan my Workbook sketches and post them online for my students, each student will have their very own Wipebook!  I can throw out those junky dry-erase boards and pass out Workbooks to each student.


I know it’s summer vacation for most teachers, but I’m already thinking about next year.  I start thinking about the next school year in May.  I don’t do any deep planning, but I definitely start letting my mind imagine the possibilities.  One of the best parts about teaching is that each new school year is a fresh start. A fresh start to rebuild, reinvent, and redesign. How will I redesign my classroom for more collaboration?  How will I reinvent my learning experiences to have more impact?  What new tools can I use to enhance my instruction?

Wipebook and Visual Thinking

One of the things I am MOST excited about is my latest addition: Wipebook Workbooks for my students!  I do a lot of drawing as part of my whole-class and one-on-one instruction.  At the beginning of each school year, I teach my students a visual vocabulary developed by Dan Roam that helps them tap into their visual minds and allows them to articulate their thinking.  Most teachers in the classroom rely on their whiteboard to write lesson objectives, detailed directions, or the daily schedule. This is such a missed opportunity to sketch out big ideas!  I use my Wipebook Flipchart to help me tell better stories, explain complex concepts visually, develop new ideas, solve problems in unexpected ways, and share insights with my students. Research shows that making ideas visual helps engage students and clarify concepts. 


Journal with ideas for lessons and brainstorming on Wipebook Workbook.

Depth and Complexity

I teach students how to annotate various texts by drawing depth and complexity icons.  I tend to  waste a ton of paper redrawing these icons each time we have a class discussion or when I work with students one-on-one.  Not anymore! I now sketch on my Wipebook Notebook and use the Wipebook Scan app to upload them so that students can access our discussions throughout the year.  I also use visual thinking to teach complicated topics in U.S. History. For example, when discussing the American Revolution, sketching out concepts visually allows me to communicate the complex military, social, and economic forces that guided certain historical outcomes.  Having an engaging lesson is great, but I don’t want to do all of the talking. I want my students to use pictures to analyze primary source documents, make inferences, and convey their clear thinking to each other.


Image of a brainstorm for an analysis on a Wipebook Flipchart.

Endless Wipebook Workbook Options

Next year, not only will I be able to scan my Workbook sketches and post them online for my students, each student will have their very own Wipebook!  I can throw out those junky dry-erase boards and pass out reusable Workbooks to each student.  I plan to have students draw their thinking on the Workbooks throughout multiple subjects.  For Math, they will be able to sketch their thinking using the square graph paper.  They can use the blank or lined pages for any other visual note taking we do in class.  For example, I can quickly scan the room and check for understanding to see how students are approaching a particular Math problem.  Or I can have students draw, erase, and draw again as they explain complex thinking in small-group discussions.  If they want to save their work, they can use the Wipebook Scan app to save it to their Google Drive. 


Wipebook Mini Pro used to sketch out ideas


My lessons just got an upgrade!

This is a game-changer for how I will facilitate better collaboration and critical thinking in my classroom!  Using these Workbooks, along with my Wipebook Flipchart, will help me better structure my classrooms to encourage idea cross-pollination among my students. At its best, learning is a social act.  Student collaboration and discussion are essential elements of an engaging classroom experience and promote deep understanding.  Using the Workbooks as a  collaboration tool (and Flipchart as an instructional tool) will ensure that my students are able to continually collaborate across a variety of topics/problems. 

I realize that Fall is a long way off; I have a lot of rest and recovery ahead of me.  However, part of my recovery process is getting excited about things I want to try in my classroom in the upcoming school year.  I believe that learning can be both fun and rigorous; engaging and responsive when students use erasable Workbooks to draw out their thinking.  My class set of the Wipebook Workbooks will help my classroom be more engaging and collaborative.  My lessons just got a huge upgrade!

Adrian Neibauer, Learning Experience Designer, Dakota Valley Elementary School, Cherry Creek School District


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