This post originally appeared on the blog Math in the Middle.
Well, it’s official. I finally gathered up the courage to do something I have been thinking about for a while… creating my own Dry-Erase table for my 6th grade math workshop! Previously, my students had been using some old white boards (the ones on the table below) during our teacher center. Towards the end of last year, these boards started to peel, break, and turn every color BUT white. That is about the time I started to see pictures of white board tables floating around the internet, and last weekend I finally decided to give it a try. Here is the table I started with. It was a very dark brown and had a very smooth surface.
My first step, was to prime the table. My table was such a dark table to begin with, I thought this was necessary. I wanted to make sure that if I was going to try this project that it turned out, so I decided to take the extra step of priming it. If the table was white or a lighter color to begin with, then I maybe would have considered skipping the primer. I didn’t end up sanding the table at all (I actually didn’t think of it until it was too late!). I used a bunch of Frogtape to line the side of the table so that it wouldn’t get any primer or paint on it. Here is a shot of the table halfway through the primer! I used a few coats of the KILZ 2 Latex Primer.
After getting the primer on, I went home and gave it about 24 hours to dry. When I came back, I got out the dry-erase paint kit I purchased. For about $20, I bought the Rust-Oleum Dry Erase Paint. I was a little skeptical going in, since this was the “cheap” option and I had read some not-so-great reviews of the paint. I followed the directions on the box, giving the table two coats of the dry erase paint. I used a foam roller that was designed to paint a smooth surface. Once you mix the paint together, you only have an hour to use the paint. I did one coat, let it dry for about 25 minutes, and then added the second coat. It was as easy as that! The toughest part was waiting the three days before trying it out! Here are a few pictures of the whole process!
I am making sure that I test out all of my markers on a different white board before using it on the table. For some reason, my green Expo markers always have a tough time erasing, so I am making sure I don’t use those. My 6th grade students were beyond excited when I showed them the table! Since we haven’t gotten into our math workshop rotations yet this school year, they haven’t had a chance to try it out yet… but we are looking forward to it this week! Not only will it be fun for students to use, but it is also great from my perspective, since I can easily see all of the work that they are doing during our teacher center!
Update: I am now in year two of using the white board table! Students love working on it. After three months of use last year, I posted this update about how it was holding up. Click the link below to see how it held up after three months of heavy use!
Alex (The Middle School Math Man) is a middle school math teacher from Wisconsin who has incorporated a math workshop structure in his 6th and 8th grade math classroom. He enjoys creating activities and materials that can help challenge his students’ mathematical understanding. Many of his resources can be used as math centers and are intended to make math fun and engaging. You can check out his teaching resources in his TpT store! You can also follow him on Instagram and Facebook for some great teaching ideas!