If you’re a Language Arts teacher with an interactive whiteboard in your classroom, then you have the opportunity to use this technology to motivate and engage your students. Here are 12 things that you don’t want to hear from your students in a language arts lesson.
It’s happened to all of us. We say something that we think is witty, or ask what we think is a vital, probing question, only to be met with the deafening silence of a room full of disinterested students. Not only can it be embarrassing, but it can also be befuddling if you’ve spent a lot of time preparing a lesson that you think is exciting and engaging. But don’t forget that your students don’t want to be presented with a finished version of your thinking. They want to interact with the content and process their own thinking. When designing your lessons, include opportunities for your students to use the technology to do their own research, answer questions and solve problems.
“Wait! You lost me!”
If you’re excited about a topic, it’s tempting to race through background information or vocabulary just to get to the point of what you’re trying to teach. But remember that students need adequate time to process. Use your smart board technology to give them the time to participate in collaborative, interactive activities that help them to stimulate prior knowledge, connect new ideas to previously learned ones, and master new vocabulary.
Unless it’s first thing on a Monday morning, the last thing you should expect to hear during your Language Arts lessons is yawning. If your students are yawning, then that’s a sure sign that you’re taking yourself too seriously, and they’re not having any fun. Get your students up and out of their seats. They should be at the board manipulating virtual objects, accessing multimedia presentations or working together to edit their writing. This technology gives you the opportunity to let your students have some fun while they’re learning.
“When do I get to try?”
It’s fun to enhance your lessons with lots of online tools that you can find on websites like Gynzy. But don’t forget to give your students enough time to investigate and play with the technology.
“I have no idea what he’s talking about.”
Don’t spend your class time lecturing and conclude with an abstraction that your students may or may not have understood. Be sure to give them opportunities to engage with the material by acting out scenarios, creating responses to what they’re reading, or solving problems. Instead of telling them what to think, give them the tools to think for themselves.
“You haven’t read The Hunger Games?”
Part of being a good Language Arts teacher is keeping up with reading good new fiction. And don’t stress about preparing lessons for class, because you can find tons of free, teacher-prepared, standards-aligned lessons for lots of new literature.
“This book is, like, a thousand years old. Why do I have to read it?”
By the same token, a good Language Arts teacher has an obligation to expose students to the classics. But you can help your students understand the importance and relevance of classic literature with interactive activities and multimedia presentations you design on your smart board.
“This is cool, but what’s the point?”
This means that your students don’t know the objective of your lesson, and if that’s the case then you’re just wasting their time. There’s a difference between being entertained and being engaged. Avoid the former while achieving the latter by designing activities to relate to your curricular goals and communicating your objectives to your students.
There is a nearly endless supply of interactive tools and multimedia objects to integrate into a smart board lesson for Language Arts. Introduce some novelty into your presentations with video, dramatizations, poetry, music, or animations.
“I don’t understand what he wants me to do.”
Don’t assume that your students will be able to figure out how to complete an activity on their own. Kids are pretty tech-savvy, but if they have to spend too much of their mental energy trying to figure out how to play a game or work the equipment, they’re not going to be able to learn the concept. Be sure to effectively model exactly what you want your students to do.
“He doesn’t get me.”
Don’t be blind to cultural diversity in your classroom, and choose literature and lesson content that respects these differences. With sites like Gynzy, it’s easy to find interactive tools and to integrate multimedia content into your lessons so that your students can connect to the content and process their thinking.
“I just can’t write another essay!”
With the array of activities available on your interactive whiteboard, you can design instruction to meet the varied learning styles of your students. Observe your students during different kinds of activities to learn their particular strengths and limitations. These kinds of formative assessments will help you learn more about your students’ individual needs and will drive future instruction.
In the spirit of sharing and learning from each other, what do you think should be added to this list?