Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Smart Ideas- a smart first lesson

I made a SMART Ideas template of the various topics found in Devarim Chapter One. With the input of my students from each of my classes we created a 'map' of the chapter. This unit was a great way for the students to chart out the chapter. They were able to figure out which topics were the main ideas and which topics seemed (at least initially) to be tangents. They were able to appreciate the organization within Moshe's speech where they first thought it was unorganized. My students were unable on their own to figure out the theme of the chapter because of its hodgepodge of topics. However once we mapped it out together using SMART Ideas the theme of the chapter was clear and demonstrable to each student.

My classes were wowed by the program- they liked that we could change the colors, move the shapes, and easily draw connectors. Since this program is relatively easy to use in the classroom- the 'wow factor' didn't take away from the learning and didn't eat away at much time.

I was able to quickly and effectively teach a lesson that would have taken much longer then one or two class periods and would be much more confusing to teach without the use of the SMART Board. Unfortunately I was able to see this first hand- during one of my classes when I planned to use this SMART Ideas lesson- our school network was unavailable because of maintenance/repairs. I saw then how much more difficult it was to teach this unit without the visual aid of the SMART Board.

My students loved the fact that they didn't have to worry about copying one of my charts or diagrams from the board. I told them to concentrate on the pesukim, take their regular set of notes, and not to worry about copying the chart. I posted each classes' completed SMART Ideas page as a pdf on their online homework page.

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