I first heard about VNPS - Vertical, non-permanent surfaces two years ago from Alex Overwijk when he spoke about how he used it in his classroom. He had the kids up and working at the boards in groups. I've been reading about it, seeing tweets about it. I heard about it again at my 1st Twitter Math Camp this summer and decided to go for it.

My first part was to prepare my room. I will try to describe the process here with lots of pictures.

I went to Home Depot and bought the bathroom board that measures 4 feet by 8 feet. I had them cut it in half and bought four pieces that measure 4x4 feet. I only need three pieces though, so I will give one to a colleague. I only have a little car, so I had to call my husband while I was at Home Depot to come and get them with his truck. Then, we drove them to the high school and I had to juggle the big squares and my key fob to get them into the school door then my classroom door, but alas, they were there.

Here is a square:

I also bought 2 rolls of bright pink duct tape. I bought 1 pack of "Extremely Strong" duct tape. It was pricey at $30 but I really want them to stay up for a long time. I bought some Command Strips too to hold one of them. The other two will be resting on an old heater.

Next up was to duct tape the edges to keep them nice and give them a finished look. I took my time and tried to get it perfect.

Here are the 2 boards that fit between my two windows and on top of the old heater. I had to remove my 3 clotheslines that held my desmos art, but stay tuned to see where they went.

Here is the duct tape, 120 inches. The box says 1 inch will hold 2 pounds. I don't know how heavy they are, but pretty heavy. So, I cut 6 inch strips and put 5 on the ones that will be on the heater and 6 pieces on the one hanging on the wall. That is 30 inches, so I should be good.

Velcro:

6 inch pieces:

Must put the pieces together:

All my pieces:

Put 5 pieces on the back. Had to hold each for 30 seconds:

Here is the wall where it will hang. I put up two command strips to hold the bottom. Do you notice the 4 holds in the wall. Do you know what that is from? When I first started 12 years ago, I had an old fashioned pencil sharpener attached to the wall. It eventually fell off but the kids and I loved it. It worked so well and I miss it.

Here are the two stuck to the wall:

I bought some cute binder clips at Target and taped them so they can hold the #card for the numbered group and can hold the problem:

I bought bright pink felt and cut it into 8x11 inch rectangles for erasers. Then, I used 3 different colors and braided them for felt hangers.

Then, what to do with my 3 rows of clothesline and Desmos art projects? I made one, long border at the top. I love it:

Another view:

One board area:

And, I added a cup to hold markers to the one hanging at the wall:

Okay, so my walls are ready.

Next is actually changing the way I teach. I will come up with more challenging problems for them to work on during class in groups of 3. Sometimes the groups will have 1 marker. Other times, they might each get a marker. If one group gets it, I might switch some partners in the group. I will be using VRG - visibly random grouping by distributing cards, so the groups will be different each day.

The plan is the kids will be standing and working in groups. I will hopefully do less talking, less lecturing. They will be doing more figuring out. I will be able to stand in the middle of the room and see all the work. I will plan on asking different groups to explain their work as well. I am excited but this is a big change to my teaching style. It is a risk I am willing to take!

Jennifer,Thank you so much! Your enthusiasm for your teaching clearly comes through - and the presentation of how you got all the boards up and ready is wonderful. Your students are very fortunate to have you! It is great that you blog - thanks again! Joan

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