One thing I miss about face-to-face teaching is my whiteboard. I miss writing on it, drawing, watching my students play whiteboard  games or draw funny pictures!

Whiteboards are a great learning tool not just for students, but teachers as well. Taking photos of my daily whiteboards really helped me reflect on my teaching when doing Delta Module 2. The bigger the whiteboard, the happier I was!

Most platforms now come with a whiteboard but it’s not always interactive, so teachers often say: “the lesson is too teacher-centred”. Interactive whiteboards can make a big difference.

Google jamboard is one of my favourite tools. It’s free – you can use the web version or download the app on your mobile device. You can add sticky notes, write, draw, add pictures or stickers as well as attach any material shared on google drive.

If you don’t know how to use it, here’s an easy tutorial.

I use my regular whiteboard when I want to make notes, and jamboard when I want students to get active. Here are some easy activities that are quite popular with my students!

1. Brainstorming.

This one is particularly useful before writing a pros and cons essay or preparing for a discussion. Students brainstorm and share ideas by adding sticky notes. You can ask them to use different colours for pros and cons or each student uses a different colour etc. Why? It just looks so much nicer when the board is colourful! Jamboard really brought brainstorming to life. 

In the example below, my two advanced students shared their thoughts on lifting the lockdown back in April. 


2.Predicting/remembering  content

Before reading a text/listening to a recording, you can use it to ask learners to make predictions about the content.

If they’ve already read a text in a previous lesson and you need to create a link with the next lesson, ask them to write what they remember about the text. In the example below, my B2 students wrote what they remembered about the what they had read in our previous class:

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3.  Unjumble the  sentence

Students order the sticky notes to make sentences. They notice linkers, punctuation and improve their syntax skills. You can write one word per box or more, depending on how complex you want the task to be.

For teenagers/adults: Share the link with them and give permission to edit. Share your screen so they can see which “page/slide” you’re on. Ask one student at a time to move the boxes in order to create a correct sentence.

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For younger learners who are not tech-savvy, just move the sticky notes for them. They say, the word, you move the boxes.

In the activity below, my second-graders read the answers (on the right) and put the words in the right order to make the questions (on the left).


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4. Sentence maker

Create two identical jamboards. Put students in two groups and give each group the link to one of the boards. Tell them to create ( a number of ) sentences using the words given. Set a timer to make it competitive! Then project the jam boards and compare results. This task helps practice lexical collocations such as verb-noun combinations or colligations, e.g. verb+preposition.  You can write full stops to signal end of sentence, or not, to make it more difficult. Either way, it’s a nice, not-so demanding warmer to start the lesson.


5. Pictionary

One thing I love is that you can create your jamboards whenever you’re inspired, save them and share them with your students when you have class. If you’re using a tablet with a stylus pen,  it’s so easy to draw funny images. Then, just share your screen and  ask learners to make sentences. If they’re feeling creative, they can take turns to  draw and their peers can shout out sentences. See example below:

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6. What’s the word? 

Select some words you want to review. Create anagrams or scatter the letters around like in the picture below and ask your learners to find the word. Use one word per slide. If you share the link, your students will be able to move the sticky notes using the arrow.  They really like that! Why not ask them to create their own anagrams if you have an extra 5 minutes?

 This visual representation of “building the word piece by piece” helps most learners memorise the written form and it’s way more engaging than asking them to spell or write it.

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More ideas..

This is a fantastic blog post! Kris Szajner shares 10  free Jamboard templates for online classes. 

Play bingo online. Read Cristina Cabal’s how-to post here .

Check out my Jamboard ideas and templates category here!