Whether you are a harried parent, an educator, or a student, a simple white board can bring big benefits in helping to keep track of everything from shopping lists, to homework, to important dates. The key to making a white board an effective tool is size - the bigger the better - and prominence. Tucking your white board behind a door or in a corner will not be anywhere near as helpful as putting a large board of at least two or three feet in diameter smack in the middle of your room, your classroom, your office, or your kitchen.
You don't even have to have an actual board. There are now whiteboard or dry erase paints, that can transform any wall area to a white board. But you do need to keep erasable markers in a variety of colors (the better to catch your attention) nearby, as well as an eraser. And some boards are also magnetized, so magnetic clips will allow you to post fliers and reminders. Just don't overcrowd your board so that reminders get lost in the clutter.
What about electronic reminders and calendars? Aren't they more helpful? They are helpful and can be lifesavers for folks on the go. But the whiteboard is not intended to replace them, only to supplement them. Further, a whiteboard can be seen by everyone in your household, so they are terrific for such reminders as "Thursday is recycling pickup" or "Turn down the heat before you leave for the day".
Some other uses we recommend for the students with whom we work include:
- Use a whiteboard to create a timeline for homework tasks, setting out when these will be done
- Create a checklist of tasks to accomplish each day, or each week. Cross off each assignment or responsibility when it is completed. For students who have difficulty breaking large tasks into their component parts and having a sense of accomplishing each step in the process, this visual reminder of progress can be extremely valuable
- Putting "to bring" lists out in the open for each student in the family (and for parents, too) can help family members remind one another about things to take with them when leaving for the day. "Joe, did you bring your sneakers for gym?" "Mom, I need my permission slip signed. Did you give it back to me?"