Turning a Wall Into a Blackboard: Your Kids Will Love It!
Creating a blackboard wall is a wonderful way to inject life into a room and add a different dimension of learning and communication to your home.
The opportunity to teach and learn is all around us, in the air we breath, the people we meet, the sights and sounds, observations and myriad other constant, external, incoming stimuli. Add to this the human tendency to utilise, plan and resource learning experiences, and it is incredibly encouraging to realize the potential education right at our fingertips. Our environment is always amenable to the creative pedagogue: Even our homes lend themselves to a never-ending appropriation of possible lesson data. Consider for example, the authentic learning that can be achieved as we combine maths with useful culinary skill development, or the spatial planning and management skills required to plot a vegetable patch, or a row of balcony herbs. Houses can also be visually converted into zones of learning, via posters, art, and other visual resources. One particular alteration has the advantage of being both a pedagogic tool, and in a world of interactive whiteboards and communicative technologies; an aesthetically pleasing reminiscence of times gone by; the conversion of a living space wall into a blackboard.
Choosing a Spot
Most walls can be converted to a blackboard, and with most chalks manufactured these days being non-toxic, any room presents a possible location. Some of the most common spots include living, or rumpus rooms, or any style of room designed for communal family engagement. Study rooms, libraries, and kitchens are also popular. The size of the wall depends on the space, purpose and aesthetic of the individual home, but essentially, there are no limits. An entire wall can be converted to a blackboard if you so desire. Keep in mind though, the extent of usage you think the board will undergo, as, despite the low toxicity of chalk, it can still build up around the bottom of the board, something to consider if you are asthmatic, have allergies, are regularly preparing and eating food in the vicinity, or just don’t like the idea of cleaning chalk dust.
Whilst the term “blackboard” features in this article, “chalkboard paint” actually comes in a variety of colours, the most traditional being black and green, and most chalkboard paints are only a little more expensive than normal paints, so it shouldn’t break the bank. Once you have chosen a colour, you are ready to begin. A dry, sealed surface is of course necessary, and if the wall is old, has been painted multiple times, or has those annoying little bumps and cracks that can develop over time, it may require a very light sand, just to remove the bumps from the surface. If a whole wall is being painted, then the process is straightforward. If only a particular part of a wall is to be covered, decide whether you want to create a kind of wooden frame around the area, otherwise, carefully positioned masking tape can be used to delineate the area, and removed when done.
Priming, or Breaking-In the Board
When you first look at your completed, pristine chalk board, you may be tempted to think it is ready to go, and with gusto launch into your first artistic rendition of a carbon atom or draw up a funky times-table chart for your kids to peruse. The problem with this is that the board still has to be broken in, otherwise it is a nightmare to remove the markings made by that first premature unleashing of the artistic pedagogue within. Priming the board is easy, but messy; Hold a white piece of chalk longways (or as many pieces as it takes), and cover the entire board in chalk. Find an old rag and rub the chalk into the board. Finally, with a good quality chalk-board eraser, remove the remaining residue. You can repeat the process if you like, but once is usually enough.
Great for Parents and Kids
Chalkboards have so many applications; from shopping lists, pre-listed menus to impress your friends when you have them over for dinner, and of course, as is the focus of this article, as a pedagogic tool. Perhaps you just want to write some reminders for your children, a word of the day, a piece of engaging trivia, or if you are like me; you can spice up homework time, using the board to supplement and scaffold homework tasks. Children often enjoy getting their heads out of the books, the chalk board turning the learning area into a more spacious learning zone, and what child doesn’t like writing on a wall? Furthermore, whilst somewhat anachronistic in light of tablets, laptops, and whiteboards; should your child decide to expand his or her chalk drawing skills onto walls ill-suited for this medium, it is still easier to clean than whiteboard pens!
So, if you can handle your child’s fingernails being scraped across the blackboard without having a nervous breakdown, you may wish to convert a wall into a blackboard, and your house into an even more eclectic place of learning.2015-09-25