The Smyrski Family shares with fourth graders about congenital heart defects. The interactive whiteboard displays a diagram of the heart and X-rays from their own son’s surgery.
As a classical school, we understand the benefits of utilizing the timeless methods proposed by Dorothy Sayers and the Trivium. Though our approach is classical, it is not antiquated. A goal is to educate students to be successful thinkers and do-ers in the twenty-first century. We do this through historically proven, classical methods using a variety of tools, including the technologies available to us in today’s world.
At Cary Christian School, each classroom is equipped with an interactive whiteboard. At the elementary level, having exposure to the whiteboard as a teacher-guided resource allows the students an introduction to responsible and appropriate use of technology. It is able to enhance lessons and subjects throughout the day as opposed to the limited exposure from an isolated computer class.
The interactive whiteboard does not change the content of what the students are being taught. The beautiful thing about technology is the expanded way it aids the teacher in presenting a timeless curriculum. It doesn’t take the place of a great teacher. A great teacher is still able to teach if they walk in and there is a power failure that results in no access to technology.
These whiteboards have a plethora of uses in the classroom! As a fourth grade classroom teacher, I have experienced first-hand the benefits and limitless possibilities this technology provides. Having an interactive whiteboard in the classroom is like having an infinite supply of teacher tools available at your fingertips. Here are a few ways my fourth grade class benefits from the interactive whiteboard:
- When we study insects, we use a digital microscope hooked up to the interactive whiteboard to view insects that are too small to identify with the naked eye. We can project them on the screen for the whole class to see.
- In science when we study the heart, we watch an animated model of the heart as it demonstrates how blood flows through the four chambers. Parents gives a presentation and show an x-ray from their own child’s surgery as they tell how it relates to the heart.
- Our study of maps is complemented by satellite images of earth from space, turned into a map overlay with the ability to zoom in to view our country, state, city, and school.
- In math, the whiteboard offers an amazing aid to teachers: a line drawn crooked is instantly made straight, a circle is perfectly round, and fractions are easily drawn with equally sized pieces. There are math manipulatives (geometric shapes, timer, ruler, protractor) that the whole class can see.
- Notes that are written on the whiteboard can be saved, printed, or emailed for students that are absent. A lesson can even be recorded so absent students can view the teacher’s writing while hearing the audio of the lesson being taught.
- I prepare lessons in advance to show charts, problems, drawings, and slides. When a student has a question, I can flip back to a previous slide to reference an example.
- When switching from one lesson to the next, valuable teaching time is not lost by erasing the board and writing the next problem. Students are also taught to manage time using a countdown timer to transition from lunch to lessons.
- Our class uses document features to write a collaborative story, edit text, highlight, and discuss story elements.
- To show students how to set up their notebook paper, I pull up an enlarged sheet of notebook paper on the board to demonstrate for the whole class to see.
- There are online resources, flashcards, interactive maps and games, images for vocabulary, photographs, historical documents, and access to encyclopedias and other reference materials.
- Using the whiteboard in conjunction with a laptop, it removes the need for multiple pieces of equipment by functioning as a video camera, projector, CD and DVD player, and audio recorder.
I think my students would agree, that having the interactive whiteboard and accompanying technology makes learning fun. The combination of a classical curriculum, a knowledgeable teacher, and modern technology results in an action packed day where minds are engaged, bodies are in motion, and hearts learn more about the Lord and his creation. To God be the glory for all he has created and the way it helps us to grow in wisdom, knowledge, and understanding!
Kelly Gardner serves as a 4th grade teacher at CCS.