By Kelly Derushia
SMART Exemplary Educator
Technology Resource Teacher
Bailey Elementary School
“One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.”
– Frank Smith
Bailey Elementary School is located in Dover, Florida, with a small migrant population of about 10 percent and a larger ELA population of approximately 25 percent. Language arts instruction, specifically phonics and vocabulary, are an ever-present part of our instructional day.
Every classroom at Bailey Elementary is equipped with a SMART Board interactive whiteboard, and our teachers create interactive phonics and vocabulary lessons for use in whole-group instruction and small classroom centers. The combination of visual, auditory and kinesthetic instruction that the SMART Board interactive whiteboard provides engages and drives our students to become active participants in their own learning.
Last year, many of our teachers began creating “SMART Board Centers,” enabling reading groups to progress through a language lesson on their own while the teacher works with other groups. The approach is beneficial because teachers are instructing without being the center of attention while providing daily directed instruction to more students.
Content creation sessions are a major focus for us, and these weekly 45-minute sessions are proving valuable for our teachers. The sessions begin with a 5- to 10-minute mini-lesson about a specific tip for SMART Notebook collaborative learning software, and then teams of two or three teachers collaborate to design a language-centered lesson.
Following are a few best practices that have helped make the content creation sessions successful at Bailey:
- Make the sessions fun and casual
- Provide a short mini-lesson on a different tip for SMART Notebook
- Give participants plenty of time to build their lessons
- Have “experts” available to work with groups and provide support and encouragement
- Give participants time to show off what they have created