You finally got a SMART Board! Now what? Here are some things you might not do.
Be the only one who uses it.
It’s interactive. Give your students a turn, or even better, give them a designated time. Make it a group work station, a learning centre, a checkpoint, a bansho wall, a drama backdrop, a presentation tool, or a collaborative digital art canvas. Give students a chance to try out SMART Notebook while you are in the computer lab, SMART Notebook Express online, or the SMART Notebook iPad app. They love it!
Use it as an overhead projector.
Of course you are going to project everything from non-fiction texts to anchor charts, but I’m talking about projecting photocopies. Call them reproducibles, worksheets, or busy work… Although these are appropriate teaching tools at times, they are far from being the only teaching tool available. This is especially true when you have a SMART Board.
Taking up work? Use your SMART Board to link review lessons or videos when students need more support. If it is skills practice you need, then try an online game, create a game using Smart Notebook, or download one here. Using frameworks? Again, go interactive.
Speaking of interactive, the overhead projector was once a great tool for math manipulatives. I still have my awesome collection of colourful clear overhead math manipulatives. But, it is purely sentimental because now math manipulatives are in Smart Notebook or online. You can set up each problem on a different page before class, which saves a lot of time and keeps the pace during lessons.
Use it as a whiteboard.
The SMART Board does make a great whiteboard. Go ahead and use those colourful pens and Notebook software to jot down ideas in the classroom. However, as with the overhead example above, your SMART Board can be overused as a whiteboard. I have come across classrooms where the whiteboard notes are never saved. This is not taking advantage of the powerful ways SMART Boards can save teachers time.
For example, after jotting reading questions in SMART Notebook, take a few minutes after class to add a title and a photo. Save this file as Read-Only with the text name in a file folder with all of your other reading lessons. Then you will have it for next year! If you continue on with the same text throughout the week, open the file where you saved the questions, and add more pages.
It is often easier to flip through pages than it is to open numerous files at once. Now you have an infinite whiteboard! At the culmination of your unit, you can look back to previous lessons for review and student reference.
Do everything in a singular program.
Typing notes or assignments in a word processing program? Let’s think beyond word processing – on the SMART Board and in the computer lab. If your SMART Board is connected to your school network, then you have access to all of the software that is available to your students. Try something like Pixie where you can include visual elements and drawings. Students could then make their own. You also have access to all of the internet! Read, highlight, annotate, and capture articles or stories online. Try using web applications for note taking, like Padlet, Haiku Deck, Popplet, or Prezi.
Use clip art.
When you are creating lessons it is much more effective to use a photograph, than a piece of clip art. Photos are more aesthetically pleasing, authentic, and provide opportunities for media analysis. To make the connection even more enriching – use a photo that you took yourself. Use classroom photos for peer and self-assessment. Take a photo of a stack of photocopy paper and use it to estimate in Math. Take a pic the next time you see one of those street-side billboards with a spelling mistake, and see if your students can spot the error. I took this photograph of my garage under construction and used it in a Science lesson.
I use this site for stock images. Be a role model for digital citizenship and always provide attribution if you are using someone else’s photograph.
Here and here are more photo sources for media literacy and social studies. Photos can also be used for descriptive writing and research.
Use it only for lessons.
SMART Exchange has an enormous bank of lessons. You can easily access it using the Gallery tab in SMART Notebook. Check it out so that you can be sure that you are not re-inventing the wheel as you create lessons in SMART notebook. Be critical of the lessons you find here, and choose quality lessons that are a good fit for your class needs. They have a nice preview feature that you can use before committing to a download. Here is another great resource for lessons.
Sometimes, rather than a formal lesson, students need to see a demonstration using the real thing. The document camera is a great tool for all kinds of demonstrations like art techniques and science procedures. If you haven’t got a document camera, take photos to display on your SMART Board.
There are plenty of useful classroom management tools like timers, calendars, and sticky notes in SMART Notebook as well. Save a file with your students’ names or photos, make a copy, and rename it anytime you want to move them around to create groups/pairs or change the seating plan.
When you are not limiting yourself to lessons, you could go on a virtual field trip or Skype an expert – all on your awesome SMART Board.
..or YouTube videos. Of course, your classroom has not been blessed with a giant TV screen. I will get straight to three points here. Watch video to deepen understanding and/or when it is impossible to demonstrate something in the classroom, like for example, the Bay of Fundy tides. Watch video to inspire art, character education, or discussion around current events like Remembrance Day or the Olympics. Watch video for media analysis so that students can learn to make their own videos to share on the SMART Board. Like this one:A GIRL NAMED ELASTIKA from Guillaume Blanchet I Filmmaker on Vimeo.
There is a theme here. Your SMART Board provides you with multiple opportunities for powerful and engaging instruction. try some and branch out as you learn more.