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Boca Raton teacher inspiring students with lessons hard to dry erase

Ian Wiskoff illustrates science lessons with dry erase markers
Posted at 3:21 PM, May 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-23 18:52:21-04

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Walking into a middle school lab classroom in Boca Raton you can tell both the teacher and his students are back in their element.

It’s a far cry from the distance learning ushered in during the height of the pandemic.

“I was at home making these elaborate animations just trying to make up for what they’re not getting in the classroom,” said Boca Community Middle School Science Teacher Ian Wiskoff.

For Wiskoff, the classroom is where he’s done some of his best work for the past five years.

“When I was doing civics, because civics can be a really dry subject," he said. "I mean try talking about city management to seventh graders, it’s the hardest thing in the world.”

Somehow he more than pulls it off. His students are pleased.

“It’s my favorite class,” said eighth grader, Kutay Ozdemir definitively.

Classmate Keemiah Joseph agreed and added, “He used to add drawings and colorfulness and it makes it easier for me to understand, because I’m a visual learner.”

Breaking the mold and teaching in color, Wiskoff said it’s a great way to keep kids focused and less dependent on technology.

"I would start drawing things. I’d draw characters, like city officials or city commissioners, and I hoped it’d be able to help them," he said, "as opposed to giving them facts by rote, which is very boring and goes through one ear and flies out the other."

For kids, it clicked, and for Wiskoff too— his creativity taking up his entire white board.

Hours of work poured onto board, teaching a lesson without even knowing it.

“If you’re doing something, put commitment to it," said Joseph. "And it’s not going to be done in the first day, you have to keep going and going for it to get great.”

In this final week of class, Wiskoff said he’s inspired by these students, limited only by their imagination.

“I know most, if not all, of them will have some kind of good future," he said, "and hopefully the little bit of sand I added to their life, they’ll be really good members of society.”

Sculpting the future with a dry erase marker.