This is a special guest blog post by Lani Uyeno, English instructor at Leeward CC. During the Spring 2016 semester, Lani participated in our SMART Board Basics orientation. In her post, she shares an small group classroom reading and discussion activity that incorporates the SMART Board. We look forward to continue working with Lani to further integrate the SMART Board technology into her instruction.
One of the difficulties my students face as they begin using outside sources for their essays is to accurately state the main and supporting points of the articles they have read. The further the topic is from their own experiences, the harder it is for students to comprehend and use the information from their selected articles. Although my students complete a process analysis essay on the topic of annotation, they needed more practice applying the process. The SMART Board was a perfect vehicle to practice annotating a text.
To begin the process, I had students preview a copy of “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin, asking them to read the title and make a prediction or ask questions, and then to read the first paragraph, the first sentence of the remaining paragraphs, and the last paragraph to get a sense of the whole. This part of the process was done in four minutes. Students then shared their predictions as I jotted notes on the SMART Board slide.
In the second part of the process, students were given eight minutes to read and respond to the entire selection. Students marked main ideas, identified key words, and jotted questions in the margins of the reading selection. Students were asked to review their markings and to answer any questions they had posed earlier.
In teams, students shared their responses for specific sections of the selection, and each team came to the SMART Board to jot down their annotations. Here is a sample marked section.
We completed the activity with a summary of the selection — three minutes of writing addressing “What is ‘The Story of an Hour’ about?” One student wrote, “Mrs. Mallard receives the news about her husband’s death and is filled with grief but later feels joy because of the freedom she experiences that she will no longer be controlled by her husband. As she is walking down the stairs with her sister, it is revealed that her husband is alive. She dies from shock, but others think she has died of heart failure from happiness.”
To complete the process, students assessed their level of comprehension after applying the annotation process. In a three-minute focused freewrite, students responded to the question “How did the annotation process help with your understanding of the story?” Several pointed out the process made “hard to understand parts” clearer, forced them to ask questions about the character and plot, and helped them keep track of terms and sections that were difficult to understand. One student wrote, “The process makes me stay active, so I didn’t get side-tracked. I could look back and compare my first impressions with my later understanding.”
The SMART Board allows teachers to take snapshots of the slides produced in class and to turn the written parts into text. After the activity was complete, I took all of the teams’ comments and “translated” them, and then posted them to Laulima for review. In later classes, students were asked to take turns presenting their annotations for other reading selections.