Saturday, September 18, 2010

Thinking About Smart Boards

I was fortunate enough this year to have a Smart Board installed in my classroom. I have paid attention to the online thinking of others who already have some type of Smart Board, and how they are using it in their classroom. Like many others, I want to try to find ways to make this technological tool as interactive as possible; a tool that doesn't belong to the teacher, but rather something the entire class will use.

That being said, I thought I'd share how I've used the Smart Board in our classroom the past four weeks.
  • Attendance and lunch count - the first things my students do each day when they come into the room is check in by moving their name into the correct slot for their lunch choice. It was a simple thing to do, but it allows my students to touch the board each and every day. Not academic, but it's a start.
  • Read alouds - When we start a read aloud, I take a picture of the front cover with our document camera. Then, on that page, we mark all our pre-thinking about the book based on the front cover, back cover, and inside flaps. For our first read aloud, I also modeled note-taking so that they could start to see how to use their reader's notebooks to track their thinking about the read aloud. I used to do these same things using chart paper; it is just so much easier to go back and forth from one page of notes to the other on the Smart Board.
  • Writing workshop - I have done a lot of modeling of my own writing in the beginning of the school year using the Smart Board. In addition, students share their own writing pieces using the Elmo feature of the document camera. I have to admit that the picture is very easy for others to see. I will soon be modeling revision and editing skills -- I visualize taking a picture of a piece of writing, and then marking all over it. Once students know some of the skills, they will able to do the same.
  • Word study - Again, I used to do these things on chart paper, but now, every time we do a word observation, we do it on the Smart Board. It involves both teacher and students observing a word and recording their observations. Another powerful visual.
  • Reading workshop - I sound like a broken record, but some of the work that is up on the Smart Board for reading workshop are the charts we used to do together on chart paper. Don't get me wrong; I actually still have some anchor charts up in the classroom for reading, writing, and word study. However, there are some charts that we can access each time we come to the floor for our reading mini-lesson / those are the ones for which I used the Smart Board.
  • Math and content subjects - When I found out I would be getting the Smart Board, I had to decide whether or not to keep the white board that was in my classroom. I decided not to, so the Smart Board becomes the place we model and practice different problems. In addition, it was again a great visual when we were constructing simple food chains and connecting them to make food webs during our current life science unit.
  • Modeling - The clear visual aspect of the Smart Board is excellent for any type of modeling I have needed to do.
After only using it for four weeks, my thinking about the uses of a Smart Board are still in the developmental stages. I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions about other ways I could use the Smart Board that won't just make it another presentation tool. I truly want it to be more than just a glorified overhead. Thanks for any help you can give with this thinking.


  1. www.christine-readingisthinking.blogspot.comSeptember 19, 2010 at 9:26 AM

    Thanks for the great ideas. I just got a Smartboard last May and I have been trying to think of ways to use it as well. I think you really need to go through the school year with this resource in mind. One thing you might like to use with it is I did a post on it last May/June. I also like the ability to show a specific map. When we read Number The Stars last year I was able to show a detailed map of the area in Denmark where the setting was. I liked your idea of putting the front cover of a book on the screen, but I don't know what the document camera is. So much to learn still. Christine

  2. I have an activeboard (promethean) and I do love how it draws students in. You've integrated it very well to your classroom needs. Sometimes I feel like it just becomes a big movie screen. Keep trying new things with it.

  3. These uses sound filled with purpose and intention. I love the photo of a read aloud cover and recording your thinking before reading. I was also thrilled to see no suggestions of watching video clips or using pre-created game software. Keep working, creating and being authentic.

  4. Great ideas Karen-I was curious do you miss having the anchor charts around the room to refer back to. I have not used mine yet for read aloud for that reason. I have found it wonderful for Poetry Friday - each Friday we add a page to the notebook. Can't wait to talk to you more about this.

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