The Smartboard is a wonderful tool to use with your students — great for whole group, guided practice, and independent practice exercises. You can also use the Smartboard as a center activity. But after teaching a workshop on “Getting to Know the Smartboard” my teachers had one main concern: “How do we manage the rest of our class while there is only one student who is interacting with the Smartboard at the front of the room? I threw this question back at my teachers and asked them how they would handle the management issue. Here are some of their tips:
- Have the students write examples on their own worksheet that is set up like the Smartboard template. For example, if you are doing a Venn Diagram on the Smartboard, the students should be writing answers in their own Venn Diagram at their desks.
- Create pre-made answers on pieces of paper that they can place in their own Venn Diagrams at their seats (using paper, cut-and-paste).
- At our schools, the teachers have plastic rings that can be hooked together to make a Venn Diagram. The students could use these at their seats for more of a guided practice activity.
- Provide the students sitting at their seats or in the circle with an activity that corresponds to the activity currently taking place on the Smartboard. For example, I have had preschool students singing a song (and learning it) while the student at the Smartboard did an interactive flannel board activity. I played a music CD in the background with the music from Hickory, Dickory Dock. The students sitting in the circle sang while the helper moved the mouse up and down the clock on the Smartboard.
- Give students answers or questions on slips of paper, allowing them to take turns coming up to the Smartboard. This will keep them focused on the lesson as they wait for their turn to come. (This reminds me of the zip-around games) For example, each student is given a part of a plant to label. When it is time for that part to be labeled, the student comes up to the Smartboard and either writes the name of the part or clicks and drags the name of the part.
- Create your own whiteboards for students to use at their desks with laminated white poster board, or have students use individual dry erase boards at their seats. Provide the template for the students to place on top of their “whiteboard.”
- Slide in some heavy paper (or a hard copy of the template) into a three ring binder page protector. Students use dry erase markers to write on their pages.
- Create team activities for use with the Smartboard. Split the class into two teams and let the students take turns from each team to go up to the Smartboard and answer questions (such as math problems).
- Create a classroom job of “Presenter” or “Vanna” in which a student is responsible for helping with the Smartboard presentations for the week (for example, have that student help move the slides in a Powerpoint from one to the next.)
- Create a list of rules and procedures for times when you use the Smartboard. These can parallel your current classroom rules (for example, no talking while a student is working on the Smartboard, listen carefully at all times, be gentle with the Smartboard). Make a sign that you bring out only during Smartboard lessons.
I truly believe the Smartboard will take the place of the chalkboards or whiteboards currently used in most classrooms. Managing the use of the Smartboard should be viewed as if you were using the chalkboard or whiteboard as you normally do during lessons. As the teacher, preparing students for lessons is key to managing that lesson.