Engage students with the help of your interactive whiteboard!

Erin Dye


Thousands of classrooms across the country now have interactive whiteboards (IWBs) at the front of the room. Many teachers use these boards the same way they once used a pull-down screen and an overhead projector: to show transparencies and presentations. But the IWB can be so much more than that. Without much change in your classroom routine, you can use the IWB as a valuable tool for classroom management.

Controlling the IWB from the back of the room

It’s difficult to manage a classroom when your back is to your students. With a traditional chalkboard or whiteboard, you had no choice but to turn your back to the class while you wrote.

With an interactive whiteboard, there are apps that allow you to control your IWB from anywhere in the classroom. The champion in this area is Doceri. Doceri allows you to control your computer using an iPad. Hook your computer up to the IWB and control it remotely as you walk around the class.

In addition to simple controls, Doceri allows you to annotate over content on your computer. For example, if you want to model close reading of a website, you can underline, make notes, and highlight as needed. If you really want to write a lot on your iPad, it’s probably a good idea to invest in a stylus.

Use ClassDojo on the IWB

ClassDojo works great on the IWB. Project your class on the board and provide real time feedback on class behavior. It’s an easy way to run ClassDojo with only one computer and the IWB. And giving away points keeps individual students and small groups on task! Just make sure you have rewards ready (5-minute dance party, anyone?) for students who reach your benchmarks.

Using the IWB for small group time

The IWB isn’t reserved for whole class activities or presentations. If you have small groups of students rotating through activity stations around the room, try having one station be the IWB. You can create a self-paced activity in ActivInspire, have students annotate a text or fill in a graphic organizer, or work together to play a game or complete an online activity. Check out sites like PBS Kids, BrainPOP, or game directories to see what’s available. There’s probably something already created for your lesson.

How do you use the IWB for classroom management? Leave a comment and let us know!

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