Smartboard + iPhoto

October 8, 2010

I began a narrative writing unit in my English classes.  In an earlier post I explained how I used my englishreading blog to introduce topic sentences.  On Wednesday I used iPhoto and Smartboard to introduce details.

Barry Lane has a great book entitled Reviser’s Toolbox.  One of his chapters is Using the Binoculars, a chapter of zooming in on details.  Great idea, but if only I could get my hands on 25 pairs of binoculars, all the kids will “see” exactly what I mean.  Then I remembered the spotlight tool in Smartboard.  I went into iPhoto and found a picture that some students took of my classroom and inserted into a new notebook.  I wanted everyone to be on equal footing so using a picture of classroom was a good choice.

The lesson began with me showing them the picture.  Of course the unanimous response was, “It’s your classroom.”  This was exactly the response I was looking for, “Big.”  I agreed (duh) and told them that that wasn’t all.  I clicked on the spotlight and looked all around for details, the things in the classroom which we then listed on the whiteboard.  From there we generated words describing the things.   I then passed out a pile of pictures to each table, let the kids pick the picture they wanted and they did the same thing, naming the topic, looking for details and then describing each detail. It worked and every kid got it.

What went well

The spotlight really helped kids zoom in and understand the details and really got them looking for details.  Instead of just telling them, I was able to actually demonstrate it.  Also, they enjoyed it and they were very active and involved throughout the lesson.  Allowing them to choose their own picture was good to.  Kids love choices and they do so much better when they pick something that they are interested in.


So often I get writing with a bunch sentences.  Yes, they relate to the topic , but they lack details.  Now I will be able to go back and tell them “Get out your binoculars!”


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