Have you ever had a “D’oh” moment during teaching, as the man himself might say? I’ve had quite a few, especially in relation to my interactive whiteboard. One awful summer, my classroom flooded. One of the many things it ruined was my extensive collection of books that were aligned with the school district’s reading curriculum. The school couldn’t afford to replace them all, so we ended up having to share reading textbooks between classrooms. Sometimes three students would have to share one book — it was less than ideal. Fortunately, our brand new interactive whiteboards hadn’t been installed when the flood hit. It was great for science experiment videos, songs, and educational games, but I hadn’t yet worked out how to incorporate it into my reading lessons. Then, our district technology advisor stopped by my class for an observation. After small talk and pleasantries, she dropped a bombshell.

“Why aren’t you using the electronic version of the reading textbook on your interactive whiteboard?” She asked. I gaped at her, and vaguely remembered the curriculum trainer saying something about an online version of the reading text during our summer professional development. D’oh!

In no time, all the classrooms were set up with the electronic texts. Now our reading textbook was up on the interactive whiteboard there were no more students having to share old textbooks. We could highlight the text, zoom in on pictures and images with a magnifying glass, and even implement videos in our lessons.

A grant from a private donor restored my book collection, but I’ve never stopped using my interactive whiteboard for reading instruction. I still rue the months of wasted time before I realized I could put the reading textbook on my whiteboard, so I’ve come up with some rules for myself about my interactive whiteboard. They’re so simple, even the dimwitted patriarch of the Simpson clan could follow them. First, always ask for help. My technology lady has been delighted that so many teachers want to learn how to use their whiteboards more effectively. Second, always keep learning. Just googling “cool things to do with an interactive whiteboard” has given me several new lesson ideas. Third and finally? Always ask if there is an electronic copy of the textbook. D’oh!