Thank you, Lia, for your introduction and I am excited to be your guest blogger while you are out on maternity leave. Those of you that either know Lia or follow her blog can understand what large shoes I have to fill. So, for all the readers out there, here is one thing I can promise; first and foremost, my blogs will be from the perspective of a teacher and will be about relevant information that I would actually use in the classroom.
Speaking of…here is something from Promethean that I came across that I would implement in my classroom “tomorrow.” The moment I read about the partnership between Promethean Planet and Core Learning to release a “a new collection of interactive grammar courses designed to help students develop critical language arts and writing skills,” I immediately transcended back to my 8th grade English class at Kamehameha School where for our daily “bell ringer” (a quick 2-5 minute activity at the very beginning of class, started right when the bells rings) we worked on Daily Oral Language grammar activities each day. For those of you that are not familiar with Daily Oral Language, it is a series of sentences students are presented each week and daily students find the mechanics, conventions, and spelling errors embedded within them.
The way I presented this “bell ringer” was to have my overhead projector at the front of the classroom with that week’s Daily Oral Language copied onto an overhead transparency and my students would have a hard copy. After about two minutes of the students working on the activity silently on their own (usually while I quickly took roll for that section). Then, the “corrections” began with me at the front of the class next to the overhead marking the “corrections” as students took turns calling out answers.
Looking back and after some reflection, this activity needed to be more student centered and authentic—meaning I probably should have actually brought the students to the “board” (or in this case, the overhead projector) to show me and allow them to mark on the transparency where the corrections were. And to make the lesson more authentic, I should have used sentences that were based on the students’ needs and were maybe even straight from their own writing.
The new Promethean English Grammar II Essential course caught my eye because I could use my interactive white board to address both of these issues—making the lesson more student centered and authentic.
- To make the lesson more student centered… Promethean notes that “different course activities allow students to participate in the classroom using the ActivPen, ActivBoard and a Learner Response System, such as ActivExpression or ActiVote.” Picture this…students can come to the interactive white board and use the ActivPen to make the “correction” and the other kiddos in the class can use their ActivExpression or ActiVote to have a say on whether or not they agree with the “correction.” Fantastic!
- To make the lesson more authentic…Promethean notes that “Each lesson includes notes for teachers to help guide instruction and pre-built assessments designed for the interactive whiteboard help teachers gauge how well students understand the concepts as they are being taught.” With the lesson planning clearly outlined and taken care of you can spend some time selecting from the course library of lessons (there are over forty-one lessons covering topics like punctuation and capitalization to sentence structure and development) the exact lesson that meets the needs for each of your different sections and/or specific group(s) of students. How more authentic can you get when you are able to take the needs of your students and then easily and quickly differentiate your instruction!
Still interested in getting started for your class “tomorrow,” begin by downloading a free lesson, Core Learning – Unit 1: Lesson 2A – Subject at Promethean Planet.