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Communicator Clearboard / Big Book of Times Tables Communicator Classroom Templates Review by Courtney LarsonLL Teach Inc.
674 Rt. 202-206 N, Bldg. 4, Suite 4
Bridgewater, New Jersey 08807
The Communicator Clearboard is a transparent pocket that allows you to insert worksheets or templates into the pocket; the student then uses a dry erase marker to mark his answers. LL Teach has over 1000 templates available arranged into six books. Four are based on grade levels (Primary, Elementary, Middle School, and High School), one contains math templates for grades K-12, and one contains many templates for practicing the multiplication tables. The Communicator Clearboard was developed by a teacher for use in a classroom setting. It works much like an individual whiteboard, but is more versatile since you can insert various templates. It can also cut down on the time you spend copying, and it can reduce paper waste. For example, if you wanted to work with your child on telling time, you could insert a blank clock face into the pocket and your child could practice showing different times on the clock face. Because your child can quickly and easily erase his answers after every problem, you would only need one clock face template instead of several. If you'd like the Communicator Clearboard to function as a whiteboard, you would simply insert a blank piece of paper. If you'd like it to function as a handwriting slate, you would insert a blank piece of handwriting paper. The possibilities really are endless.
The Big Book of Times Tables is a 247 page book geared toward children in grade 3 and above. It has multiplication fact sheet templates as well as templates using arrays, function machines, and groups to practice multiplication facts. These templates allow the child to self-check their answers by removing the template from their Communicator Clearboard and placing the Clearboard over the answer sheet located in the Big Book of Times Tables.
Like many homeschoolers, I've used page protectors over worksheets to cut down on the amount of copying I have to do and to reduce the amount of paper I throw away. I prefer the Communicator Clearboard, though, because it is sturdier, it is easier to mark on, and it erases more cleanly than a page protector. My sons enjoyed using the Clearboard instead of a page protector, and since it is 10 X 13 and bound with colored cloth, I could easily locate it when it got mixed in with other papers.
The Big Book of Times Tables provides children with plenty of ways to practice multiplication facts. However, many home educators might find the amount of templates for multiplication fact practice to be unnecessary. Another issue I had with this product is that the book is spiral bound. This means each template needed to be copied once in order to use them in the Clearboard. While this wouldn't really make a difference in a traditional school setting where a teacher might need 30 copies of a template, the book would be more suited to homeschoolers if it was three-hole punched. This would allow each page to be removed and used in the Clearboard without needing to make even a single copy (since most homeschoolers would only need a single copy of the templates).
I have to give this product a mixed review. I would not recommend the Big Book of Times Tables. If I were to purchase a template book from LL Teach, I would purchase one of the more general books that was geared toward the ages of my children but covered multiple subjects (there are free samples available on the LL Teach website). However, the price of the Communicator Clearboard is reasonable at $2.50 each. This is about what you might spend on an individual whiteboard, but the Communicator Clearboard has a lot more potential than a standard whiteboard. I am planning on purchasing enough Communicator Clearboards so each of my children have their own, and I highly recommend this product.