High-quality WHITEBOARDS from Playscapes in Madison, WI: teachers' comments on their durability and how to care for them.



QUERY TO TEACHERS: sent on Jan. 26, 2006

Teachers in Wisconsin Modeling Workshops:

     Jim Barnard, the owner of PLAYSCAPES in Madison WI, sent me the info below, on their high-quality whiteboards. These whiteboards are much more durable and long-lasting than the Marlite (kitchen-bathroom tileboard) that you buy at Home Depot and Lowe's. 

     I'm wondering: do any of you use the Playscape whiteboards? If so, will you kindly reply? I'd like your input on how to care for them. Do they require the same kind of care as the Marlite boards -- i.e., waxing, and using alcohol or 409, etc. to clean?

     How long have you had your Playscape whiteboards? Do they show any signs of wear?  If I recall correctly, Dave Braunschweig once estimated that they'd last 10 years or more, vs. 3 or 4 years for Marlite whiteboards.


Jane jackson




Ideal for the Modeling Method of Instruction.

Allow students to present what they know and how they know it.

24" x 32" — large enough to fully explore and document thinking and findings.

Rounded corners and cutout handle make it easy to carry, transport, and hang.

High quality surface resists stains and ghosting.

Easily wiped clean with an eraser.

Sold six whiteboards per package.


Playscapes, Inc. 2600 Daniels Street, Madison, WI 53718

 800-248-7529, Fax 608-222-8100, Email playscapes@playscapes.com


Price:  $77.70 for a package of six ($12.95 each)

A minimum of one package (six whiteboards) must be ordered. We can only ship whole packages.


Payment Methods: Payment accepted by credit card or a purchase order number from your institution. Visa and MasterCard accepted. Credit card will be billed upon shipment of order.


Shipping: Orders are shipped using UPS Ground. Shipping cost will be added to your order.

Allow 2-3 weeks for delivery.


To Place an Order:

Call Playscapes at 800-248-7529 or fax a completed order form (get from Playscapes) to 608-222-8100.



[Note: a 4' x 8' sheet of kitchen-bathroom tileboard -- Marlite -- costs about $14 at Home Depot. They can cut it into 6 whiteboards for $1.50.  -- Jane J]




Date:    Fri, 27 Jan 2006

From:    Jon Fishwild <jsfishwild@CHARTER.NET>

     I purchased whiteboards from Playscapes when I "graduated" from the first modeling session in 1997.  I am still using the original boards to this day and they are largely in good condition.


     I just have the kids erase them at the end of each hour and when kids are serving a detention, I have someone wipe them clean with Expo cleaning solution.  I also wipe them down for the summer.

     The upkeep is very low on these boards--I've been very impressed.


Date: Fri, 27 Jan 2006

From: Frances Poodry <FPOODRY@wcasd.k12.pa.us>

     I got 12 "Playscapes" boards at the UWRF workshop, and I still use them -- that's almost 10 years, right?  They still look pretty good with a few scratches and dings...I was just thinking about doing new ones, actually, because of the scratches, and probably with the expansion of the district my colleague will take his Marlite ones with him when he goes to the new high school so I will need more anyway.

     I never waxed the boards, but about twice a year I clean them with whiteboard cleaning fluid and the nasty, scratchy, hydrophobic paper towels that seem to be ubiquitous in schools around here.  Probably they would be a little less scratchy if I would use rags instead for cleaning.

     I do try to store the boards "like sides together" for fewer scratches, but with kids and how well they pay attention, that doesn't always happen.


Date: Fri, 27 Jan 2006

From: Michael Crofton <croftmd@comcast.net>

     Yes, we were each given a dozen of the boards to take with us in summer 1997.  They are very high quality boards with nice handles in them.  I still use them although they are getting many scratches.  The boards themselves are fine. If I would have stored them vertically and kept them from rubbing against each other they would probably still be close to new looking.  I have never purchased more because of the cost.  They are also very heavy so shipping is not cheap.  I have over 50 boards in my room and can't afford that much.  


Date:    Fri, 27 Jan 2006

From:    Margaret Furdek <FurdekM@BEAVERDAM.K12.WI.US>

     I have used the Playscape whiteboards (we got them at the Wisconsin modeling workshop in 1997) but they are in a horizontal format with the handle in the middle of the long side.  The surface is superior to the Marlite board but I don't use them because of the location of the handle.  We have one little space to stash the whiteboards and when students slide them in with the handle up, the boards stick out of the stash space and are a safety hazard.  I've e-mailed Playscapes to try to encourage them to place the handle on the short side but they never responded. 

     We are surviving with Marlite.  The markers do not remove as well as the Playscape boards.  Also the low odor are harder to remove.


Date:    Fri, 27 Jan 2006

From:    Anna and Jay Zimmerman <zimms@EXECPC.COM>

     We've been using the Playscape whiteboards at Brookfield Central for at least 6 or 7 years, and we buy Playscape boards for our workshops and occasionally for the workshop participants.  We also used them for the UW-River Falls summer physics programs.  We like the 2" x 6" hole in the

boards that makes a handy hole for hanging them from a hook or holding them in front of a group. 

     We've found the surface to be very durable, much better quality than the "shower board" sheets we originally bought from Menards or Home Depot.  Before using them we like to put on a coating of a paste wax (Turtle Wax, etc.), and maybe once a semester we clean them thoroughly with alcohol.  Periodically (every 3-4 years), we'll buy another dozen or so and throw out those boards that don't clean up very well or that kids have scratched or used a permanent marker upon.  We've been very

pleased with Jim Barnard's whiteboards, and can recommend them without reservation.     


Date: Fri, 27 Jan 2006

From: Andy Edington <aedington@mtsd.k12.wi.us>

     I purchased my first set of six whiteboards from Playscapes in 1998.  I purchased a second set of six in 1999.  Depending on the year, I teach 4, 5, or 6 classes of physics.  The boards are still in use.  Some boards show some scratches and are beginning to require more effort to erase left-on marker. 

     I clean them occasionally (maybe twice each year) with a combo dilute ammonia-alcohol-water mild glass cleaner the custodians gave me.  I also have some mini-whiteboards that I cut from a sheet of "Porcelanized Melamine" tileboard from a local lumberyard.  Even the most worn Playscapes board is still easier to erase than new tileboard.


I recommend the students purchase Expo brand markers.

I do not let the students use Marks-a-lot markers.

I use small pieces of felt as erasers.  (Not all felt is the same, try a small piece before purchasing in quantity.)

I never use 'whiteboard cleaner'...that just gums them up. The cleaner is designed to do that, so you have to use more cleaner!  (I spent a summer working in the corporate chemical research division of  a large, international corporation.  You would be amazed at the number of products with that feature designed into them.)


Date: Fri, 27 Jan 2006

From: WILLIAM JAMESON <WJAMESON@deforest.k12.wi.us>

     I use them, and I have some home-made whiteboards. The Playscapes whiteboards are definitely more durable and longer-lasting than the homemade ones. My boards are all 7-8 years old. The Playscapes boards have held up well; the others are just about trash.  


Date:    Fri, 27 Jan 2006

From:    "Larson, Eric" <Eric.Larson@FRIDLEY.K12.MN.US>

     I have 12 I originally received in 2000 as part of my Modeling Workshop at UW-River Falls.  They are still going strong, and, truth be told, I can't tell them apart from the others I have (bought in 2004).  They do get grimy, so every once in a while I clean them with an alcohol and water solution (it may also have some soap).  It is the EXPO brand whiteboard cleaner.  My school has white boards rather than blackboards in the newer classrooms, so it is supplied for me.  


Date:    Fri, 27 Jan 2006

From:    Dan Bearss <fenix7@CORE.COM>

     I am a high school chemistry teacher in Milwaukee Public Schools. This is my second year of using Playscapes whiteboards.  I became a modeler (and whiteboard user) after being enrolled in a modeling grant program at Marquette University here.  The boards have held up very well, and get frequent use.  I do several kinesthetic activities (races/relays) requiring the use of the board, and they do get banged around a bit.  Except for a few frayed edges, they are in good shape. 

     In regards to cleaning, I can usually use just a wet cloth to get them clean.  But I do have to use an alcohol-based cleaner every month or so to get them back to pristine condition.  I have ten large (about 2ft x 32 inches) boards and 30 smaller (about 12" x 18") boards with grid lines.  I used some money from the modeling grant to pay for them.