Board Organization

 Board Organization (20 minutes)

A well-organized board can help students in several ways (Yoshida, 2005).  The board creates a record of the lesson, so that students can:

In Japan, board writing may seem spontaneous, because it typically includes students’ work and ideas that emerge during the lesson.  In fact, teachers carefully plan board writing in advance of the lesson, thinking about the key ideas and pictures on the board that will spark and advance students’ thinking.  The board provides an overall record of the lesson.  International comparisons reveal that Japanese mathematics teachers use the board more frequently than do teachers in Germany and the U.S., and that Japanese teachers tend to keep the board writing throughout the lesson, rather than erasing parts of it during the lesson (Stigler et al., 1999).

You can examine board photographs to identify aspects of board organization you might want to work on, such as supporting:

Download this file (PDF, 92KB)

You can examine a sample board plan (above) for a lesson on the area of the L-shaped figure.  The problem posed to students is shown at the upper left of the board, so students can refer back to it.  The “task” captures the problem as we hope students will pose it themselves. The “ideas” section of the blackboard captures student thinking as the class initially considers the problem (for example, that the shape is complicated but that previous learning about rectangle area might be useful), and the “work” shows the student solution methods you plan to select for presentation, in the order you want to discuss them.  The “summary” includes the mathematical points you hope to draw out of neriage and the “what we learned” section includes how students might express what they learned in their journals or discussion.

blank version of a board plan is available to create your own board plan, which you can then add to your unit plan template (under item 9).

Ideally, writing a board plan provides an opportunity to think through the whole lesson, from posing the problem to anticipating student solution methods to figuring out the key ideas of the neriage discussion.