This Bright Spot comes from the teachers at Boyce Thompson elementary school in Yonkers who worked with SESIS Martha Trujillo-Torp last year.

What were students able to achieve?  From 1st to 6th grade, and from general education to self-contained, teachers reported these results from one simple strategy:

* “Students now accept constructive criticism when their answer is incorrect and feel comfortable enough to try again.” (4th grade ICT)

* “Students are eager to share their work and aren’t fearful of making any mistakes. They are eager to learn and collaborate.” (6th grade ICT)

* “Students have improved their handwriting and generally built up their confidence.  They work out their thoughts before responding to the group.” (12:1:1 self-contained)

* “A child who always handed in a blank page for writing assignments wrote a strand of letters and put a period at the end.  He ‘read’ it back to me.  Although the letters were random, he is understanding the concept of a sentence and using punctuation at the end.” (1st grade ICT)

What simple instructional practice had such a positive impact on students? Individual student white boards, that allow all students to respond all the time, in a flexible easily corrected modality.  Teachers see multiple advantages; for example: “Students get extremely excited when I announce that we are using them and it provides me with a quick check formative assessment throughout the lesson”; “Students can simply erase their mistakes, with no trace whatsoever.  The boards are confidence builders, enabling my students to try no matter what”;  “It has been really helpful for my students who get OT”; and, “A white board is a great hands-on tool and keeps the students engaged!”


What can we learn from this Bright Spot?

  • The white boards are confidence builders.
  • White boards are great hands-on tools that help keep the students engaged.
  • The simplest strategies can sometimes be the most effective.