Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Making It Routine

At our most recent Teach21 collaborative meeting the team shared their first tries at making Smart Board lessons. The varied lessons showed creativity, some fresh thinking, and some new twists on some older ideas. Their use of their Smart Boards helped them with not only instruction and assessment, but also basic management of student information and managing their day. One thing was crystal clear - having the Smart Board in the classroom to use every day is a critical piece to success. We also discussed how me might share our Smart notebook lesson school-wide so the we benefit from each other's creativity and lighten the already overwhelming workload.
An interesting aside came about in a recent casual conversation with a colleague here at Bolton. That person was refreshingly forthcoming saying they were skeptical as they watched the beginning phases of Teach21 as they unfolded this year. However, now that they've seen just how impactful it has been they have changed their perspective. They now realize how a technologically rich environment can engage and motivate students. If we as educators can make that routine, then we are bound to educate our students with variety and depth.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Pics from Our Smart Board Installation

Smart Board Installation

Students were gone, but teachers, electricians and carpenters were hard at work changing the faces of our learning spaces. As part of the Teach21 Bolton initiative, teachers were guaranteed to have a Smart Board interactive whiteboard installed for everyday use. Over just four days WSFCS carpenters and electricians worked tirelessly to get 14 boards installed. By the end of fall break, two classrooms in each grade level had a new, operational Smart Board ready for use. Now, 16 collaborative learning spaces have a Smart Board at Bolton Elementary. Thanks to all those who worked on this installation!

Scratching The Surface

On the first day that our Smartboards were fully installed and available for use (the first day of the 2nd Quarter) Teach21 teachers were using them! Mr. Cachia developed a whole math lesson using the notebook software, some teachers were just getting comfortable powering it on and playing with the functionalities, and others were allowing students to get used to touching and manipulating the board itself.

In second grade, Mrs. Foster developed a way to change her morning routine using her new Smart Board. The routine is basically the same, but the Smartboard made it more interactive, more enagaing for her students, and the depth of the learning her students display is truly outstanding. We've started the process of mastering the use of the Smart Boards, the notebook software, and the many flexible choices it gives us. And part of this process will be sharing ideas, sharing lessons, and working together when a new idea emerges. We're just scratching the surface, but the next phase of Teach 21 is under way!

The following video shows how Mrs. Foster first decided to use her Smart Board.