Monday, September 10, 2007

First Days

Well, I am done now with two days of classes. I have a good group of kids, 57 in total. I have already started to form habits with the smart board and first class, our web portal/e-mail client.

I start off class with a window open on the smart board to a web program I developed that takes attendance. The students walk up and touch next to their names, and it registers them as present. It is one less administrative task I have to do, and they really enjoy getting up and playing with the technology. Next, for my Algebra 2 Honors students, I check to see that they have done their homework. I don't do this for the Calculus class, because I want them to start getting into a college mindset: if you don't do your homework, its your loss, and you need to be responsible for it. Next, I read out the answers to the homework, marking on the white board (occasionally referenced as the "dumb board") which problems they didn't get. Then I go over those problems on the smart board. When we are done with that, I save it locally, and then upload it to the First Class conference created for that class, and the students can then access the work we did in class at any time. Here is an example. We are still reviewing the summer work and last year's material, so I am not conducting actual lessons, but when that starts I am going to shift focus. The Smart Board will contain slides of key concepts that I will come back to several times during a lecture; a process, a diagram, an equation, something critical to the lesson. Then, on the white board to it's right, I am going to do examples using the key concepts on the left. This will serve to reinforce the lesson. I will give more details after I give it a go a few times, since at this point it is pretty theoretical.

Working with the Smart Board isn't without it's quirks. There are two modes that write on the board: One draws over all of the applications, but as soon as you click anywhere else, you lose what you just wrote. The other is the notebook program that I use to record the problems. It gets confused sometimes, and the result is that we lose the last half of a problem. I am still working on how to fix this. The other problem is that occasionally the Mac Mini that I host the programs on runs slow or hiccups, and it doesn't register my input, so I have to wait for a second before I can continue. It is very disruptive at first, but I have found ways of just rolling with it and it is not nearly as bad as when I started .

Overall, my classes are very well behaved, and they seem to be involved thanks in part to the technology. I hope that this lasts.


Blogger Jessica said...

Your smart board sounds awesome. It sounds like you're doing a really good job of integrating it into the classroom.

Oh, and your handwriting is terrible, I thought the smart board could turn it into text.

September 13, 2007 5:33 AM  

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