Monday, January 30, 2017

Teacher Hack: Create Cheap Group Dry Erase Boards

Well, at least her supplies won't be that expensive with only 3 kids in class this year.


But, if you're like the average American teacher, you have anywhere from 21-27 students in your class, and at my school, 32 is not uncommon. Larger class sizes obviously mean more of your money is spent on supplies and more time is spent grading. In my blog post Teachers, Stop Grading Everything, I wrote about how I used whiteboarding to reduce my grading load, and I received some questions about how I had acquired a class set of the group-sized boards without selling a kidney. 

Ask, and you shall receive. 

This week I teamed up with a math teacher from my school, Melinda, who found the cheapest boards for purchase were $24.99- needing 32 boards meant roughly $800 or two kidneys. Yikes! 

Instead, we made them: Home Depot* to the rescue!

$79.40 later, we had purchased what we needed. That's a 90% reduction in cost for my non-math teacher friends. We had a blast, and even made a quick video for you if you want to see how the process went down:

In case you don't spend much time at home improvement stores, the "thrifty" dry erase panels are near the lumber, and this was the item we chose. Each piece makes 8, 2'x2' boards, so we picked up 4 of them. The store will cut them for free. Be careful as you pick them up, the edges get damaged easily until you tape them. 

And, that's why you need one roll of black duct tape. Don't be tempted by the pretty designs and colors they have available: your black Expo markers will stain them and leave a dark residue. This item is essential to keep the corners of your "thrifty" board for getting bent. After two years, mine are still unscathed. You can find tape in the middle of the store near the paint department.

Lastly, you'll need some poly rope, you may want a thinner strand (1/4") if you plan to hang them up so that more will fit on a hook. We were even able to find our school colors as the stars aligned on aisle 13 near the other ropes and chains. Oh, it's the little things...

With two quick drill holes at the top of the board, the rope handle makes the boards easier to maneuver when the students are presenting and can be used to hang them for storage. 

Finished Product
The time to tape the edges and drill the holes was minimal, and I had students help tie to handles during study hall. Child labor, FTW.

Note: I use microfiber clothes for the students to clean the boards that are machine-washable and more economical and effective than traditional erasers. I maintenance them with Fantastic and Pledge to keep the finish looking nice, as well. If you have not tried furniture polish on your white boards, you should; they erase so much easier! 

Lastly, once that you have new boards for the kids, feel free to keep the new Expos for yourself. 




  1. I really need to make these!

  2. Melinda has really enjoyed hers! Summer friend project, perhaps 😉

  3. nice article great post comment information thanks for sharing.

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