Mitch Ritter, Grade 8 educator, Hamilton, ON., HWDSB
Working together through VNPS and Wipebook Flipcharts
I remember when I first started teaching, the thing that got me most excited in a classroom was watching students work together and collaborate on rich math tasks.
However, I always ran into the same problem; how do I allow students to share their ideas while fostering collaboration and teamwork? Naturally, I always gravitated to chart paper and markers. Students would show their thinking, draw/write solutions, tape their chart paper to the board and then explain their work. Seemed like the best and only option…. And then I discovered Wipebook Flipcharts and a world of possibilities opened for me.
Putting VNPS and ThinkingClassroom to the test
This past week, my grade 8’s were working through order of operations and multiplication of decimals. Students were posed with a series of math inquiry questions which required them to work collaboratively to solve.
Using vertical non-permanent surfaces (VNPS) such as the Wipebook Flipchart, allowed the students to brainstorm, make changes, erase and correct their work as they went while using only 1 “sheet.” This created an environment that was focused on learning, making ‘mistakes’ and trying new things because it was simple to chop, change and delete ideas on the fly. This further helped to develop their teamwork and problem-solving skills as they examined and critiqued each other's work, constantly making changes and corrections seamlessly as they worked through the challenging tasks.
An easy Eco-Friendly solution to paper waste in classrooms
In addition, the Wipebook Flipchart has helped significantly in cutting down on paper waste in my classroom and school. This has always been a focus of mine as we move to a paperless classroom and a more environmentally sound focus in education. It has become second nature for students that once they are finished their work to grab an iPad, open the Wipebook App and snap a photo. This allows students to then share their work freely from group to group and allows an even greater opportunity to explain their thinking, consolidate their learning, and challenge the thinking process of others.
Just the Beginning, a bright future using VNPS and ThinkingClassroom
This is my first year using VNPS in my classroom, specifically Wipebook Flipcharts and I have seen collaboration and effective teamwork reach new heights as my students gather and discuss around their charts.
They have really enjoyed the ease of using whiteboard markers and being able to write, erase, fix over and over again while working through challenging tasks. I love how easy it is to assess and document student thinking and process through the app, keeping all my files neatly organized in Google Drive.
I’m excited to continue my journey with VNPS and love sharing my positive experiences with colleagues and seeing how they are incorporating non-permanent writing surfaces in their classrooms.
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