Tuesday, July 13, 2010


We just spent a second day looking at Blackboard use after reading Using Lesson Study to Develop Effective Blackboard Practices, Ch 10 by Makoto Yoshida, and I'm including below my three favorite ideas, followed by all the relevant notes I took today.

My three favorite ideas:
1) It's useful to simply be thoughtful about how I use my boards. What is the board for? (up until now, mostly random recording. after now, progression of a class, communication re: classroom structure see #2 below, etc.) What do I want the board to look like at the end of class?
2) If the board is intentional space, then the board structure supports the classroom structure. I.e., A board full of clearly organized notes can support student note-taking and receiving teacher dissemination of information. A board with lots of open space can support a classroom conversation where students are invited to communicate and contribute their ideas. Perhaps you could even say that the amount of open space on the board directly represents the amount of student voice that should be present in this lesson.
3) "You should not erase what you write if you write on the blackbarods and you should not write on the board if you are going to erase it." p. 95 This is just fascinating to think about.

What's important about blackboard use (we ended up inadvertently recreating this table from from Makota p. 97, Table 10.1)
- keep a record of the lesson
- help students remember what they need to do and think about
- help students see the connection b/w diff parts of the lesson & progression of the lesson
- compare, contrast, discuss ideas students present
- help organize student thinking & discover new ideas
- foster organized student note-taking skills by modeling good organization

What teachers can do to improve blackboard use
- Lesson plan using board plan (sequence)
- Think about what you place on the board and all of the connections
- Anticipate student contributions & responses and plan for how teacher weaves in and out of that

Things to consider recording on blackboard
- Student questions, words, pictures & math
- question/task
- resources/prior knowledge we’re using
- graphic organizer...outline, web, etc.
- misunderstandings
- correct examples
- clear teaching point, so when we get there we all know it. The punchline.
- vocab

Questions to ask when looking at sample blackboards (yours and others)
- What’s already made visible?
- How would you use the visual prompt/pieces for discourse?
- What are the consequences for these choices?
- What might help?
- What might hinder?

Other Ideas
- Transparent chronology allows ability to track back and forth through progression of class, idea, etc.
- Chart paper board work demands pre-planning but allows mobility, opportunity for reorganization
- Stickies, colors, underlining, boxing on board help code, organize to direct thinking
- Clear objectives, titles, headings seem useful even on the open ended boards.
- Dates?
- Photographing my board at the end of every class coud be really interesting!

Does it help/hinder to have the writing written in the moment or prepared ahead of time?
- Whatever the lesson demands…this choice communicates the values of that class.
- Can use live writing to give appropriate time for student notetaking (but could also just watch)
- Classroom efficiency


  1. I don't really understand. And what if I never use my blackboard?

  2. I'm saying "blackboard" but I mean overhead, smartboard, whatever.
    Plus, maybe never using your board space is working for ya!