Teaching SMART Everyday: No Evaluation Required

Today, I had the pleasure of having an administrator in my room for an evaluation. The cool part is that I didn’t do anything special or outrageous that I don’t always do. She wanted to see what my class is like everyday and she most definitely got it. Needless to say, things went well and according to plan…because…I did exactly the same thing that I do everyday…USE my SMART tools to create educationally rich content that engages student involvement.

For my first posting in a while, I thought that I would share some of my SMART tricks…

1. Your SMARTboard is NOT an overhead projector. Just because you are working from a pre-printed textbook or worksheet doesn’t mean that your lesson has to follow that exact same template. For example, my worksheet asked students to complete blanks for definitions and circle monomials, binomials and polynomials from various sets. Instead, I used the lesson activity toolkit to create a keyword match for vocabulary and an image sort activity for students to classify their expressions. This gave students an opportunity to do two things, get up from their seats and interact…then make predictions in a less paper and pencil kind of way.

2. If using hands on manipulatives, accompany them with their SMART equivalent. The infinite cloner is your friend. Since we were modeling with Algebra tiles, I also had two types of models on the board, an interactive flash file as well as static stationary models. This served two purposes. First, students could investigate various combinations of tiles and visually see their expressions built. Second, students could build and discuss the process of addition and subtration of polynomials while still having to physically form their zero pairs and combine like terms.

3. If you have SMART response, have students use them during the lesson and NOT just for homework and test. I have SMART Response XE and my students can enter mathematical expressions in lieu of t/f or multiple choice. Having students interact during interactive instruction enables every student to have an opportunity to be heard while giving you the tools to determine mastery.

Finally, understand that the time spent preparing your content is worth it in the end. When content is created so that student invovement and understanding is the primary focus, the mastery will come.

And remember, a good lesson doesn’t have to have every bell and whistle in the book to be educationally rich.

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