Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Some new adventures on the Smartboard...

When technology and I come in contact with each other, I become a little obsessive. I become determined to know how something works and I want to learn everything I can about it and be an instant expert.

And so it goes with the Smartboard...

I can see why some teachers have become very anti-Smartboard. It does take time and preparation to load something into the computer and get it set up. You need to be very knowledgeable to use it to its full advantage. As of yet, my school has not scheduled any formal trainings, so I'm lucky that I'm pretty technologically adept, but what about those who aren't?

Yesterday I decided to give myself some one-on-one time with the darn thing. I stayed after school for 2 hours working with it and then spent another 2 hours at home going through software to see what would be useful (or not) to use in the classroom. In the room I discovered that our entire math book and social studies book and all of their respective worksheets are on CD-rom. Cool. With the Smartboard you can project a worksheet and then either you or a student can "write" on it with the Smart markers.

I also created some Language Arts activities on the "smart" software that we could do today. Creating them on the board's software made it possible to be able to write on them with the "markers." I think. I haven't tried other word processing software, but I'm starting to get the feeling that it would be possible to write on them with the markers too.

At home I went through all of the math CD-roms. There are 4, and I wanted to see what would be useful for our everyday routine. The most useful is that all of the workmats are on CD-rom, so I can use those for demos, and all of the homework pages are there too.

This morning I felt confident that we could really put the Smartboard to use, so I missed the staff picture because I was setting things up. We corrected the math homework using the board. We did several language arts activities using the board. At the end of the day we did a Social Studies activity using it, and then--because my kids need SO much help with geography, we projected different maps from our text on the board and did a review of the difference between continents, countries, states, cities, etc. Last week I asked the class about a certain city and someone answered "Canada." If that isn't enough to scare a teacher, I don't know what is! 5th grade!

But aside from the cool visuals we were able to use all day, I was impressed with the kids' response. They were engaged, they were excited, hands were raised...this is NOT my class! So, obviously, there is something to this. And in an age where school has to compete with all the digital fun the kids go home to ("video games are evil"--that's my motto) school often falls short no matter how many cartwheels the teacher turns. It isn't enough anymore. Sad, but true.

There is still a lot to learn, but today was a good jump forward.

Here are some bad pictures I took with my cell phone. I need to take my camera and make a little video...I highly recommend clicking on the pictures so you can see them full-sized...

Working with sentences and identifying simple subjects and predicates and complete subjects and predicates. See that gray area at the bottom? That's called a shade, which can be raised or lowered to reveal one question at a time...very cool...

The kids worked in groups and came up with singular nouns to "stump" the rest of the class when we made them plural (some were better than others)...then they took turns coming up and writing the plural...a good opportunity to practice writing on the board...


Some geography review at the end of the day--much needed and very productive! This is a map from their books. They have little white boards and markers at their desks and we talked about different elements on the map, oceans, continents, and some longitude and latitude questions. They like those...

4 comments:

Karen said...

Very impressive! I'm surprised they randomly handed out the Smart Boards. If it takes so much effort to get them up and running, and they're not going to provide training, I would have to wonder how many will end up collecting dust. Seems like they should pinpoint the teachers with the know-how to make them work. Like you! =)

I love how interactive it is! And how much writing you WON'T have to do now!

Jim Hollis said...

Hi Kristie,

I have a lot of things going on over at my blog Teachers Love SMART Boards. I'm sure you'll find some resources to help you use the SMARTBoard more effectively.

Sharing is Caring!

Jim
Teachers Love SMART Boards

Emma.J. said...

Woop! That IS the board they have at my sixth form college - so cool! I loved how the teacher could circle/underline stuff with the pen on powerpoint presentations and internet articles! Bet your class are thrilled! x

Sally said...

Smartboard is way cool. I wish I had one for homeschooling! And you are so right, video games are evil!