For years I’ve read the story Henry and Mudge and the Starry Night by Cynthia Rylant towards the end of the school year just as my students are beginning to think about their summer plans. A book about camping seems appropriate for this time of year, and in this story, Cynthia Rylant, one of my all-time favorite authors, so beautifully describes camping under the summer night sky that it makes even this city girl think that camping might be a fun thing to try. But I’ve always used it as kind of an extra, just-for-fun read-aloud, separate from the rest of the curriculum, and pulled out for a few minutes here and there at the end of the day or in the few spare minutes before it’s time to line up for lunch. I’ve always thought it was a shame not to use one of my favorite books more effectively with my class. That all changed last year, though, when I used my interactive whiteboard to connect the story to other parts of the curriculum.

Exploring the Night Sky

Using games and tools from the internet, the smart board took my students on a field trip into the night sky. They explored planets and stars with a virtual telescope, and they learned about the constellations through music and dance.

Word Study and Vocabulary

Interactive games like Bingo, Memory and cloze activities allowed my students to learn vocabulary about camping and astronomy, and to practice spelling patterns of unfamiliar words.

Nature Poetry

I wanted my students to try their hand at writing some descriptive poetry about the outdoors, and they used the interactive whiteboard to learn about different styles of poetry by listening to poets read their poems aloud.

Pets and Families

Students learned about Mastiffs (dogs like Mudge) and visited websites to learn about the best pets for kids. They worked together on the smart board to write and edit persuasive essays to their parents about why they should get a certain kind of pet.

My interactive whiteboard really helped me to bring this story to life for my students by connecting it to real world experiences and other areas of the curriculum. How have you used your interactive whiteboard to fix a broken lesson plan?