2015 Mini-grant Project

In the Winter 2014 the physics department installed ‘illegal’ whiteboards around its classroom: we bought dry-erase sheets from Home Depot and used double faced tape to secure them to the walls of the classroom. This was done without permission from the school’s administration. Teachers now make students use these boards regularly during lessons. We are applying for this grant to replace the poor quality boards with sturdier boards and to have them properly installed. Getting new boards is an opportunity to document how we use them and to reflect on how to improve or change things.

Project Proposal

Reflections on the 2015 Mini-grant experience

At John Abbott College’s Physics department, we used our mini grant to buy student whiteboards. Our goal was to make students model proper learning behaviour for other students. We had begun experimenting with Masonite boards taped to the walls, and getting real boards was a great opportunity to get my colleagues to share their ideas and activities: problems, mind-mapping, mini-competitions… When my colleagues saw the new boards proudly installed on the walls of the classroom, the question they asked is “Why aren’t there more?”

The lesson is: once your colleagues begin active learning, they do not turn back.One of the best things about getting a SALTISE grant was participating at the SALTISE conference on June 2nd. With colleagues from Mathematics, Chemistry, and Biology we presented different activities that dry-erase student whiteboards. We played a curve sketching game, had a resistor combination competition, completed a jigsaw activity for multi-step chemistry problems, and assembled the phases of mitosis. I had heard of the neat activities my colleagues had developed, but trying them out first hand, and seeing others try the activities was eye opening. The conference participants were enthusiastic about trying activities outside their comfort zone. I think a good time was had by all. In fact, I plan to try a jigsaw activity when I teach Electricity and Magnetism in the fall. I’d like to thank Alice McLeod, Sean Hughes and Roxane Millette for a great session, and I’d like to thank Saltise for making participation in the conference a condition of the mini-grant.

Project Leader