Let’s get SMART(board)!

We had the opportunity to ‘play’ with the interactive white boards (IWBs) this week in our ECMP355 class.  I am of the opinion that SMART boards are a valuable teaching tool and I look forward to having the opportunity to design with and use them in the future with a classroom!  Reading reviews of IWBs online and talking to friends who are administrators of schools and have the potential to purchase those devices, there is still a lot of hesitation and negative thoughts about the use of  IWBs.  If these devices are being used as glorified overhead projectors, primarily for the use of the teacher to display or interact with, with students only observing, I think that the potential is being lost.  “Good” technology in the hands of ‘bad’ teachers doesn’t automatically create ‘good’ lessons!   We need access to information and support to ensure that these tools are being used effectively.  Our presentor, Ward Milligan, spent a great deal of time showing us several different ways to create interactive activities for our students to use to enrich and enhance their learning.

Our Tech Task this week is to find and explore a couple of interactive white board games relating to a specific Saskatchewan Curriculum objective.

I chose the following Grade Two objective:

Life Science – Animal Growth and Changes (AN)
AN2.1 Analyze the growth and development of familiar animals, including birds, fish, insects, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals, during their life cycles

(Saskatchewan Curriculum, Grade Two Science)

The two activities that I found are based on the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

The first one is literacy based and relates directly to the caterpillar’s life cycle as it is presented in the book.  It is called The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  There is a video (no internet required) to watch the Eric Carle’s story and then there are a number of activities for the kids to do, including memory games and counting as well as recalling and sequencing the caterpillar/butterfly’s life cycle.

The second is also related to The Very Hungry Caterpillar and explores the life cycles of other animals as well as the caterpillar.  The title of these activities is Life Cycles.  This set of interactive activities explores the life cycles of mammals, insects, amphibians, and birds. Kermit the Frog makes an appearance and there are videos and songs included.

Both of these activities were found at the website SMART Exchange which is a resource filled with activities for all subjects and grade levels.  It is a community that encourages submissions and sharing by educators.

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