Thursday, May 22, 2008

Self Assessment

Self assessment is a key component in making students aware of what they will be accountable for on their unit assessment. Just as it is important within a lesson to identify goals, to give students purpose and understanding; it is also important to clearly show students what will be expected of them prior to an assessment.

I have used the Smartboard and the Everyday math self assessment to turn this into a whole group activity. Students are able to identify the skill, see an example of the skill, and decide their level of mastery in that skill.

In using the Smartboard, my goal is to incorporate more opportunities for students to see visual representations of the skill that they are being held accountable for. Students who feel that they have reached the level where they can explain it to others, are invited to come up and teach the class the skill using visuals that are provided, or visuals that they choose to create with the gallery.


My fourth grade friend, Paul, and I had a great conversation yesterday. We talked about how a line of symmetry and a line of reflection are similar and different. Again, these concepts became very clear with the Smartboard technology.

In the video below Paul explains how he uses the camera capture tool to take a picture of a pre-image. That image is then flipped, resized and made transparent. (All of this can be done by selecting an object and going to the drop down menu.)

This method allows Paul get feedback on his work. He was able to check to see if he drew the reflection correctly.


This video is a companion to the area video. Area and perimeter are often confused. Hopefully using the smartboard to teach these concepts will clear up any miscommunication.

How to do it.

1. Capture the problem with the capture tool or type it in with the diagram.
2. Lock it down.
3. Make another line and label the length.
4. Use the order feature to bring it to front.
5. Now it can be moved and turned to form a line. This line is the perimeter of the distance around a polygon.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


I was just reading an article about math misconceptions.

From Teachers: January 2006 Issue 42 [UK]

One misconception is about area and perimeter. This is what the article said:

Perimeter and area confuse many kids!
A common mistake, when measuring the perimeter of a rectangle, is to count the squares surrounding the shape, in the same way as counting those inside for area. Now you can see why some would give the perimeter of a two-by-three rectangle as 14 units rather than 10.

How can a smartboard clear up misconceptions about area and perimeter? Well using the infinite cloner and grouping feature the smartboard can make the concepts very visual. Watch "Paul's Podcast" where he explains his thinking about area. Next week we will make a video about how the smartboard can be used to teach perimeter.


Hello to smartboard teachers out there. I just can across some contests to win some very cool prizes. Best of luck to all that enter!

Contest 1. Back to School Lesson Activity Contest
Deadline: June 3rd
In a few words: Create a Lesson
Win: Smartboard with projector attached above!

Go back to school with SMART and you could win. We’re looking for your best back-to-school themed lesson activity created with Notebook™ collaborative learning software. The person who submits the best lesson activity will receive a SMART classroom package worth over US$3,500, including a SMART Board™ 600i interactive whiteboard system and an annual subscription to the SMART Learning Marketplace, a subscription service with over a million digital resources.

Contest 2.
How do SMART products help you create extraordinary moments in your classroom?
Deadline: May 31st
In a few words: Create a Video
Win: Smartboard & a trip to NECC Conference in Texas

Creativity counts. So does technological wizardry. But most of all we’d like to see how you and your students use technology to create a fun, interactive learning environment.

The Extraordinary Moments Video Contest is only open to educators in North America. The contest starts April 21, 2008, and runs until May 31, 2008. The winning commercial will be announced and debuted at National Educational Computing Conference (NECC) 2008.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Ways to Do Math Routines with a Smartboard

There are several math routines we do in the primary grades. This video from YouTube shows how one teacher incorporates the smartboard into her routines. You will see calendar math, a weather chart, the day of the year, money and more.

Using Space Off the Page

Good Morning,

This morning I am struggling with many ideas. I know that smartboards can be a powerful tool to show math representations to students. One of our schools is going to concentrate on teaching math word problems. I know from past research that the rectangular array method is a wonderful tool to understand, organize and communicate word problems. In fact the rectangular array method is a wonderful tool to understand, organize and communicate many math ideas. It is also a wonderful differentiation tool allowing students access to more abstract ideas.

Now that we have a plan (model and use the rectangular model.) I set about adding it to some of our math pages. Here are the struggles I am facing and how I solved them.

1. Too much on one page. A page filled with rectangles will not help a struggling learner. There is too much information to process. It is also very difficult to make them all fit nicely.

2. We want students to own their own learning. Having every model there might make the math too easy. At some point, when they are ready they should draw their own rectangles. Kids grow and learn at their own pace. How do you have the representation ready if they need it, but not use it if they do not?

3. Making connections and being able to transfer knowledge is a big part of learning. How do you help kids understand WHEN drawing rectangles might help them better understand a problem, organize their thinking and give them a tool to communicate their thinking? How do you help them own this method?

Watch the video and see how I attempted to answer some of these questions. Please write comments in if you struggle with these ideas as well or have any ideas.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Cleaning a Smartboard

Thanks to Heather who looked this up online...

How do you clean the smartboard?

Applies to: All Rear-Projection SMART Board™ interactive whiteboards, SMART Board for Flat-Panel Displays interactive overlays, Sympodium™ interactive pen displays and Actalyst™ interactive digital signage. Overview

This article explains how to clean the surface of your Rear-Projection SMART Board interactive whiteboard, SMART Board for Flat-Panel Displays interactive overlay, Sympodium interactive pen displays or and Actalyst interactive overlay. Details

To clean the writing surface or screen, use Windex® glass cleaner. Just spray the cleaner on a soft cloth or paper towel and wipe the screen surface. Avoid spraying the cleaner directly on the screen, since the cleaner may damage components if it runs into the edge of the screen.

WARNING: Do not apply isopropyl alcohol, water or acetone to the back surface of the screen. These fluids could damage the diffusion coating, resulting in a permanent deterioration in display quality. If you do smudge this surface, wipe it carefully with an alcohol-free glass cleaner. Do not spray the cleaner directly onto the back of the screen. Spray the cleaner lightly on a cloth, and then gently dab the surface until the marks are removed.

NOTE: To remove permanent marker ink from the screen, use a cleaner such as Expo® Board Doctor. If you have high-odor dry-erase markers (not non-scented markers), you can cover the permanent ink with the ink from a dry-erase marker, and then wipe with a soft cloth or paper towel while the ink is still wet. If any trace of the original permanent ink remains, spray a cloth with Windex glass cleaner or Expo Board cleaner and wipe the area clean.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Sorry I have not written in a while. I was just reading the article, Digital technology could revolutionize math learning, in Education Week. I had to post this very powerful paragraph since it explains how to use the smartboard effectively in math class. For the whole article go to

Second, digital technology can provide interactive, dynamic representations to enhance conceptual understanding. These could include “definition unfolding”—one of the most important pathways to mathematical meaning-making. Being able, for example, to select “Ö3” wherever it appears on any page and have it immediately explained as “that positive number which, when squared, yields 3” could continuously reinforce the connection between symbols and terms and their mathematical meanings. Similarly, geometric constructions are much more revealing when they can be manipulated, and motion graphs are more comprehensible when they call up motion.