Chalkboards-An Endangered Species

Have you visited a classroom lately?

I was thinking the other day about how chalkboards, or blackboards, have been virtually eliminated in classrooms.

Will our grandkids and their kids even know what they are?

Can you imagine that?

Something so simple and so vital to our growing up years may soon be extinct.

Chalkboard (Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons)
Chalkboard (Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons)

A Little History

The first blackboards were originally made from thin sheets of smooth black or gray slate stone. They were first introduced into American classrooms around 1801. They weren't referred to as chalkboards until the late 1930s. Sticks of chalk are actually sticks of calcium sulphate or gypsum.

Something I learned while researching for this hub was that one of the manufacturer's recommendations is that you completely cover the chalkboard using the side of a stick of chalk and brush it back off before using it the first time. This evidently prepares the chalkboard making it easier to erase.

Factors Leading to Their Extinction

Chalkboards produce dust that some find uncomfortable, irritating and some are even allergic to it. There have been links between chalk dust and respiratory problems. The dust can also produce problems for dust-sensitive equipment and electronics such as computers.

Then you have everyone's favorite, the scratching or dragging of one's fingernails across the chalkboard. This sound, or even the threat of this sound can be quite irritating to many.

With products such as Microsoft's PowerPoint and overhead projecting equipment, more and more people are designing sophisticated presentations that eliminate the need for a chalkboard.

Non-Classroom Uses for Chalkboards

Chalkboards are sometimes used in other areas outside of classrooms.

Home Uses:

At home, they can be used to jot down things to remember to do, grocery lists, or appointments. It can be a great way to keep up with the kids' busy schedules and reminding each other to take out the trash, pick up the mail, or do the laundry.

Restaurant Uses:

In restaurants they are used to announce daily specials or featured menu selections. Sometimes they are on easeled boards at the entrance. I have seen one restaurant cover an entire wall in the restroom with a chalkboard. Think about it, if people are prone to writing graffiti all over the bathroom wall at least make it so that you can allow them to do that, but you can still clean it off with a simple swipe with a damp towel. I thought it was ingenious!

Clubs:

Some organized sporting events like darts or pool, etc. may use chalkboards to keep score. Clubs may also use them to announce drink specials, happy hour, or special events like karaoke night, 1/2 price night, etc.

Did you know you can buy chalkboard paint and chalkboard decals? This paint will allow you to turn ordinary items or spaces into writable surfaces. I've seen all sorts of things turned into chalkboards and sold at craft stores. A popular item is a Christmas countdown calendar to count down the days until Christmas. The decals simply stick to walls and turn that space into a chalkboard.

Chalkboard Cartoon Animation

A Word About Chalk-That's Easy For You to Say

When I was looking up some information about chalk, I ran across this and found it to be quite humorous.

Wikipedia says:

Chalk (pronounced /tʃɔːk/) Click on the link to see what I mean.

I don't know about you, but that's not how we say it in Texas.

More by this Author


Comments 22 comments

Scott.Life 6 years ago

Whether its no longer practical or even needed, I will miss chalkboards. They were an integral part of my youth and education. thanks for the walk down memory lane.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 6 years ago from Central Texas Author

Can you just imagine some kid from the future thinking of chalkboards as something they had back with the dinosaurs? It seems unreal, but that's where we're headed. I'm going to miss them too. For the best part of 15 years, my kids had a chalkboard on the wall in my son's room. They loved it.


Jerilee Wei profile image

Jerilee Wei 6 years ago from United States

Last time I saw one sold they were quite expensive. Hadn't thought about it till reading this but think they've been absent from our lives for a while. Replaced by white boards with expensive markers that don't last long.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks

I have a chalkboard I inherited from my father installed in a makeshift school room. We play school sometimes!


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 6 years ago from Central Texas Author

That's what I see in some of the classrooms here too, Jerille, the whiteboard with dried up markers. The whiteboard is now used to project things on.

I used to play school with my kids sometimes too, Aya.

Thank you both for stopping by!


Candie V profile image

Candie V 6 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

I loved chalk boards as a kid! A 'kudo' for being good in class was to get to take them all to the 'eraser cleaning room' with the eraser vacuum. We'd come back all white and sneezing! But the thing really was the way the teacher's butts would shake when they'd write on them.. I knew it and hated having to go up to write out math problems. Love them! Miss them! Plus you can't get stoned off of chalk smell like white board markers!!


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 6 years ago from Central Texas Author

LOL....only you would point out the teacher butt jiggle while writing on the boards. LMAO I have something funny to relate and this is as good a place as any since it's MY hub..LOL You mentioning the sniffing markers made me think of it. The other day I bought a can of that foam in a can that you spray into cracks to seal them. You know how you spray it and it expands and hardens? When the guy rang it up he had to clear the register to ok that I was over 18. I thought, WTF? Do kids really sniff that????? Can you picture some kid spraying that in his nose, only to find it expanding? OMG. Kids, listen up! If you want to sniff something, find grandma's roses, the neighbor's honeysuckle vines, or mama's apple pie!


Victoire profile image

Victoire 6 years ago from Paris, France

Love your picture! What a cute idea!


euro-pen profile image

euro-pen 6 years ago from Europe

This hub made me smile and remember the old days back in school. And yes, the fingernail scratching across the chalkboard was a nightmare. I don't know how many had left school early to avoid that sound :).

Over here, chalkboards are still pretty common in restaurants and bars.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 6 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thanks, Victoire! Glad you enjoyed it.

Euro-pen, I guess they are more common in restaurants and bars here too, as opposed to schools. But, they are going by the wayside too. Glad I made you smile!


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

No chalkboards in the classrooms anymore? What a reminder that time passes and things change. Good hub, kiddo, AGAIN!


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 6 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thanks, Paradise!


nicomp profile image

nicomp 6 years ago from Ohio, USA

I love the whiteboards. I hated writing on a chalkboard for hours every week. Chalk dust on my clothes and under my fingernails, nasty erasers, and teeny tiny chalk nubs were no fun at all.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 6 years ago from Central Texas Author

I agree that the whiteboards were an improvement over chalkboards, but even they are becoming extinct in classrooms.


The Rope profile image

The Rope 6 years ago from SE US

I will miss the creativity that comes from small children having a chalk board available to them. We learned that mistakes were "fix-a-ble" and that clean up was necessary if we wanted to do more. Modern tech is great but can be confining in some ways. All that aside, I hated being called to the front and having to write on the board with all those people behind me - who knew what they were seeing or what was being said (and I don't have any butt to speak of, so the jiggle wasn't the problem! LOL)


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 6 years ago from Central Texas Author

I agree, Rope....there will be some lessons lost with the end of the chalkboard.


Candie V profile image

Candie V 6 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

Hey! - No kidding, checking ID now for that stuff? I do know kids sniff the gas from whipping cream cans too.. put a bag over your head.. spray the contents away from your face, the gas will rise and you'll loose brain cells.

I can't picture a bunch of kids huddled together on a park picnic table in the middle of the night comparing the smell of roses.. but we can always hope!! Love ya K!


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 6 years ago from Central Texas Author

Shows what I know....I guess you're right, if they spray it into a bag....dang hoodlums. I know I'm dreaming.


Am I dead, yet? 6 years ago

oh how I loved to sneak into class and write little torments to the bully in homeroom--teehee, my secret revenge! She was never none the wiser :3 Another beaut!


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 6 years ago from Central Texas Author

Revenge, eh? LOL Thank you much AIDY!


funnebone profile image

funnebone 6 years ago from Philadelphia Pa

Where do you find such great ideas to write about? I wanna get in that head for an hour or so! I hate chalkboards and when I teach I would make the students come write so I didn't have to touch the stuff. I hope they go by the wayside like 8 track tapes and liver transplants. Good job as always


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 6 years ago from Central Texas Author

My ideas come from things I see or hear around me. I'm always in that 'hub topic finding' mode. Thanks, Funnebone. I didn't like the smell of chalk dust.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working