Just spent some time getting schooled by the grade six class at Jamieson. Mr. Freeman pulled me in to watch them use their white boards during a math lesson. He had them all engaged, writing down numbers and working on place value, addition, and utilizing correct math terminology. I received a lesson in the proper way to articulate a number. I incorrectly stated a number as, "one thousand, four hundred AND seventy-two." The class (after only ONE day with Mr. Freeman--and of course, prior years at Jamieson school) corrected me: "You said TWO numbers!!! When you say 'and' it means you are saying a second number. The proper way to say it is 'one thousand, four hundred, seventy-two'." You learn something new everyday. It's just like how we were taught to 'borrow' from the tens column, but nowadays we actually 'regroup' because we never give it back. (There's a history lesson in there somewhere, but I won't get into politics).
Mr. Freeman's use of whiteboards has several practical advantages. The students are all involved on a motor skill level, using the hands-on activity. As well, Mr. Freeman is able to quickly see every student's understanding when they hold up their whiteboards, without having to circulate the room and glance down at notebooks. He commented that the use of the boards is really effective when the class is sitting in a circle. Plus, on another sensory level, I could SMELL the learning going on in that classroom. Look into using white boards with your students!!