Wednesday, July 10, 2013

SMART Social Studies



This is the second in my series about the staff development I'm doing this summer.  Up today: Social Studies.  This year I wanted staff development to learner centered.  I asked each department what they wanted to learn more about.  Social Studies wanted to be better SMARTBoard users.  They have Torch Ignite multimedia curriculum and wanted to build SMART Notebooks of Torch lessons.  You can learn more about Torch here.

I consider myself pretty proficient with the SMART products but I wanted to make sure I wasn't missing anything so I reached out to my resident #smartee Rafranz Davis.  She directed me to Lamar Consolidated ISD's iCafe.  I have long been a fan girl of LCISD's C's - Chad Jones and Chris Nilsson.  They are hilarious and just do things right.  Not to mention that one of my favorite tweeps Paul Wagner is an instructional technology specialist in LCISD. So I knew that the resources would be top notch!

I was not disappointed! The resources are extremely helpful.  The C's have a one page rule and their designs are impeccable   Plus the one page rule allows you to find just want you need and not worry about the rest.  You can find their fine work here. After refreshing myself in the iCafe, I felt more confident.  I was on the right track and could teach intelligently. 

I had big plans for the day but as Robert Burns would say: the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.  The server was down for maintenance the day of the training.  I had intended to have the teachers sign up for the SMART Exchange.
 I am in love with the SMART Exchange.  It's a free service where teachers post SMARTBoard lessons.  You can download and customize the lessons.  And you can post your awesome lessons for others to share.  Since the server was down, we didn't get to do that.  But the teachers could use the computers in their rooms and save locally. 

Lemonade out of Lemons time!  I gave a brief overview of SMARTNotebook and demonstrated how to build a lesson using Torch and SMARTNotebook.  Then each teacher went to his or her room to work. I spent the rest of our time together going from room to room checking on teachers and helping them.  They were thrilled to have time to build lessons.  

I learned three important lessons from this training:
  1. Sometimes you're smarter than you think but it doesn't hurt to refresh yourself.
  2. Make sure your trainings get on the calendar so you don't get scheduled over.
  3. Give teachers plenty of time to work.  Teachers will feel more confident if they leave your training with something they can use right away. 


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