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Single Device Classrooms

I am currently working in a school where I have access to one interactive white board in each room. I have had to learn to do more group lessons and provide my students with individualization within group activities. I often use BrainPOP, Jr. and Starfall with these classes, so individualization is getting easier.

In particular, Starfall is divided by grade levels, so I can change the section for each child when it is their turn at the board. I can also get into specific areas within a given grade level as the next student moves toward the board. For instance, a student who is learning to tap the board and make something happen (cause and effect) might be given the preschool and kindergarten math songs, while a student who is learning to add and subtract can be given first grade math games. This helps me to keep my students engaged and make sure that everyone participates as to the fullest extent possible.

BrainPOP, Jr. has a wide range of educational videos and lets me choose topics that may interest the majority of the students. When appropriate, I have the students complete the easy or hard quizzes at the end of the lesson. I supplement BrainPOP, Jr. videos with videos from other sites (such as Flocabulary) when I can find the topic or related topics multiple places. Some students pay more attention to Moby the robot, while other students are more likely to listen to Flocabulary’s beats.

As a substitute teacher, my job is to keep students engaged and behaviors down as much as possible. Yes, I want kids to learn something, but I also need to make sure that the room stays safe for the entire 45 or 50 minutes that I am with each class. Keeping everyone safe and engaged is even more of a struggle when I am with the same class for an entire day instead of just one period then on to the next class. I am finding that my 32 years as a full-time teacher has given me skills that help me in my current position as a substitute teacher.

I am also learning to be more flexible. I often to not know what my position for the day will be until after I arrive at school. I planned the entire month of April only to have my position change. I am spending many lunch periods and occasional evenings and weekends developing lessons for my students. Some things about teaching have not changed. I still occasionally miss my technology lab and the large selection leveled of iPads that I used to use with students who could not get to the lab, but I am getting better at working in classrooms with a single interactive board shared by the entire class.

By Jeanne Stork

I am a special education teacher who supervised a technology lab for twenty five years. The lab had specialized software, adapted mice, additional adapted hardware, and picture symbol communication aids for students whose significant disabilities made it difficult for them to use the general computer lab. I taught students who could not climb the stairs to my lab in their classrooms. I also assisted teachers and other personnel in my school with their technology needs as time permitted. Before moving to the technology lab, I was a classroom teacher with a classroom computer that students and staff could use. Now, I am a semi-retired substitute teacher.

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