Hands Off, Vanna!

Hands off, Vanna! Giving Students Control of Interactive Whiteboard Learning

Activities and tools for students collaborating to create, improve, decide

IntroTips and Strategies • Working with wordsWorking with images
Create/improve/decideTeacher SharingResources

Working together in small groups—or occasionally as a whole class—makes learning social and meaningful. Treat the IWB as a common "big screen" where students can work out problems together, build new projects, or make consensus decisions. By working face to face and "in touch" with their ideas, they use verbal/linguistic intelligence, visual intelligence, and kinesthetic intelligence. Activities can be done within the IWB software or using web tools. While today's web tools provide easy ways to collaborate on projects from anywhere, any time. These tools sometimes have even more power when students manipulate them face to face on a shared, big screen (IWB) so they can talk about their ideas, using the IWB as a common workspace. Use the IWB to:

revise and peer editing at your fingertips, create and revisit concept maps, brainstorm and decide, reach consensus on sort/rank/order, save any activity to keep/revisit/share

Collaborating to Create, Improve, Decide Activity Examples: (Activity format types are explained on the Tips and Strategies page.)

Writing “first hand” Concept maps Brainstorm and decide Consensus sort/rank/order Save/revisit/share! IWB-friendly web tools for collaboration

Writing “first hand”
  • anonymous drafts as whole class activity (student operated)
  • write any writing electronically
  • use Word, Google Docs, or IWB software
  • Teacher of the year says, "best revision tool EVER!"
  • guinea pig gets a copy
  • build experience in writer’s workshop style response and collaboration
  • phase into small group ‘first hand” writing or peer response sidebar—share both before/after versions as a model or keep in portfolio
  • Concepts: Vivid adjectives, complete sentences, word choice, sentence combining, responses to essay questions, compare/contrast, types of writing, dialog, lab report writing, etc.

Activity format: Anonymous drafts (whole class), small group or partner sidebar, writers' workshop "center"

Concept maps
  • start with prior knowledge
  • reopen and add throughout unit- Save As different versions
  • save and share
  • Ask whole class as review before tests: Is this the best we can get?
  • share on web page/wiki for review
  • Examples: map a unit on U.S. Constitution, Plants, Community helpers (add images?), lab sequence, family tree in Spanish, instruments of the orchestra

Activity format: Student-run sidebar during any lesson- bump Vance/Vanna or rotating emcee, all-4-one review materials, or have student groups create their own and share all versions on class wiki

Brainstorm and decide
  • whole class or small groups brainstorm to access prior knowledge or anticipatory set/activator (revisit choices later to color code, eliminate, etc.)
  • commit or make predictions before doing research, then revisit to correct misconceptions
  • one option of several for student groups to submit/share ideas as a quiz/response or in starting a bigger project
  • use the IWB as brainstorming “workspace”

Activity format: all-4-one or large group with emcee, group collaboration studio

Consensus sort/rank/order (things to argue about!)
  • Students decide together as summative or formative assessment, to access prior knowledge
  • Do at start of unit and revisit at the end?
  • examples:
    • most important community helpers
    • ranking of factors for choosing a college/career
    • sorting math functions (positive and negative slopes, rank the slopes from steepest to flattest)
    • healthiest lunch choices
    • order the steps of plant life cycle
    • (summative) rank the most influential leaders of the 20th century
    • best to worst unit price

Activity format: sidebar small group (for a grade or not) OR whole class (emcee or Bump Vanna)

  • Any consensus student sidebar can be saved/shared with teacher as assessment or –BETTER-- with full class on wiki or blog for comments/feedback from others
  • Reopen the ones done early during a unit- give class or groups a chance to “improve” them for a grade or for review.
  • Share whole class collaboration as study guide/unit summary

Activity format: sidebar small group all-4-one, or whole class (emcee or Bump Vanna)

IWB friendly, free web tools for collaboration
Tool name
What it is/does
TeachersFirst review and more ideas for using it
collaborate to create interactive concept maps/graphic organizers, shareable by URL (limited number per free account)
Bubbl.us review
create detailed concept maps, flow charts, and more
Gliffy review
another great mind-map or concept map tool
MIndomo review
TeachersFirst Edge, collaboration tools
a collection of scores of collaborative tools, all reviewed by experienced teachers with practical tips and ideas

Any of the working with words or working with images tools are also suitable for group collaboration


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