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It's Time to Use SMART Boards and Word Walls!

By Khaye Mydette Sy Cardenas Macalinao

Want to brush up your strategies in teaching ESL? Learn how to be creative and experimental with colors, pictures, sounds, and lessons when using SMART board lessons for ESL class and address the "back to the basics" cry in education by fully implementing Word Walls!

Smart Board Lesson Ideas

ESL teachers widely use SMART boards. The use of a SMART board is a great way to motivate the class. Teachers just have to be creative and experiment with the colors, pictures, sounds, movies and lessons provided with the SMART board software to maximize it fully. Here are some ideas you can do in your class:

1. Pictionary Game

Draw simple pictures needed for Pictionary while students guess what the word is. This is a fun way to have students use the whiteboard. Provide a new word learned in class in each notebook page.

2. Group Story

Have your students write a story by making each one of them contribute a line. Use a different colored pen for each line of the story. Let each of your students add a story line after assigning them what color to use.

3. Interactive Lessons

Engage your students when teaching phonics, spelling and vocabulary through different interactive whiteboard lessons. Check out some sample lessons here.

Going Back to Basics

After using the collaborative learning software, let's go back to the traditional way of teaching ESL in class. Isn't it that we so often hear the "back to the basics" cry in education? In my classroom, you can easily spot my answer--the Word Walls. I find teaching the basics such as spelling, phonics and conventions important and they're all in the walls!

I don't buy the ready-made charts in bookstores. I build the Walls with my ESL kids. The Walls grow each day. We post new words that they have learned, new stories that they have read and new conventions being introduced! With our Word Walls, I am confident that necessary skills and strategies are being learned.

Word Walls are necessary in every class. They are there to serve as comfort walls for students who are struggling with new lessons taught. They are just there, silently inviting kids to learn at their own pace, saving them when they are lost with spelling, need rules of conventions, searching for word meaning and so on. Word Walls are talking walls saying, "Need help? Look at me!"

1. The Vocabulary Wall

The words in the Vocabulary Walls are harvested from meaningful contexts. After reading a story, singing a song, reciting a poem or role-playing, I ask my students to post on the Wall the new words they learned and then we talk about the meaning of the words again. I make sure that the words posted are written in their correct spelling. Soon, these words will be used as references as they write or do other assignments in class.

2. The Help Wall

This is the most popular wall in class. This is the students' quick guide for language conventions such as capitalization, punctuation marks, antonyms, synonyms, spelling and subject-verb agreement reminders. This wall gives a user-friendly reference for developing different skills of the second language learners.

In conclusion, the use of SMART board lessons for ESL with Word Walls is an excellent way to aid students' learning.