There are three types of ways that students learn: hearing, seeing, and by doing. Research has demonstrated that that majority of learners will retain information that they see and do. These students are termed kinesthetic learners. This means that when you incorporate interactive visual activities in the classroom, your students are more likely to process and retain the information along with being able to perform higher on both classroom based assessments along with standardized assessments. This is especially important for special education students. Having them engaged, actively involved, and ‘doing’ what they are learning can help to keep them attentive, interested, and increase academic games.
Two ways that I like to have students actively engaged in my classroom lesson is by using my interactive SMART board and by having them complete both online and off-line projects about the topics they are learning. Below are some resources for both areas that are easily adaptable for many different ages and ability levels.
SMART Board Interactive Resources
SMART Technologies has a site for teachers to share their already completed lesson and SMART board activities that they have created for their classroom. This site is called SMART Exchange. On this site teachers can upload and download lessons by searching their site. The site has interactive activities on all subject areas and grade levels along with including activities that include their SMART Response system remotes where students can answer questions and interact with their lessons from their seat using a remote style device. Remember, SMART boards are meant to be INTERACTIVE boards, which means that the students should be able to come to the board, answer questions, manipulate figures, or show other students their knowledge. This is where the digital power of the board will help students to retain what they are learning.
Another great site with SMART board activities is Center School District’s site for SMART Board Templates. This site has interactive activities for grades K-12. They have templates for math that include graphing, number lines, and multiplication facts. They have literature templates that include both the stories and interactive question, mapping, and reflection sections. They have modifiable templates of various graphic organizers including Venn diagrams and KWLs. They have social studies, geography, French, and science interactive templates that would be great to encourage participatory learning in your classroom.
On & Off-line Project Ideas
eHow.com has a page devoted to class project ideas. These projects include making dioramas and science fair style projects. It also includes a link about how parents can get involved in helping their children with class projects.
The Computing Technology for Math Excellence website provides teachers with a background on project based learning and questions the teacher should follow when creating a project for students to complete. This site contains a wealth of web links to other sites with great project ideas including building bridges to teach about math and engineering and ePals where students can connect with other students from around the world. Links to WebQuests, activities that will have the students complete an online hunt for information, are also included. This site also has links to various rubrics and score guides on how to grade students when completing project based assignments.
Please feel free to share any links that you may know for interactive whiteboard materials or project ideas by commenting on this article!
Article By: Laura Ketcham
Picture By: woodleywonderworks