Many people in my PLN on Twitter, including me , have written about the importance of making a connection with your students. In the past the connection I have made with my students has been through talking about sports, playing with them at recess, or having them over to my house for different occasions. All of which were very beneficial and made our learning experience together that much more enriched. However this year I have made a different connection with my students.
This year we have either Smart Boards or a Smart slate in every classroom. I have a Smart slate in my classroom. It takes time and skill to learn how to use a Smart board effectively, add to that learning how to write and use the slate effectively is even harder and more time consuming and now add to that trying to use the Smart slate and Smart software technology for Hebrew and you are talking about a whole new ball game. My challenge both as a teacher and as an educational leader in the school is to use and incorporate the Smart slate and the technology into a Judaic Studies class with the main language being Hebrew. I walked into class on the first day and told my class that when it comes to the Smart slate we are learning together. I wrote something on the slate and then I passed the slate around to each student. Some wrote diagonally the first time, some moved the cursor and got the eraser instead of the pen etc. I think you get the basic idea. We have been in school now for two weeks and I am happy to say that we have all gotten better but there are still those glitches that even I still have and all of us, teacher and students, in a nice way laugh and encourage one another. Every time I use the slate one student will say do you remember when student X did this or when Rabbi Greenblatt did that and we all chuckle and move on.
Education today is about connecting with students, and creating an atmosphere where students feel comfortable to learn. What better way is there to accomplish that than to learn together with your students