Thursday, February 12, 2015

Elements of a Mimio Lesson

I recently had the opportunity to check in with 1st grade teacher, Hilary Gerk.  Ms. Gerk does a lot of great things with technology, but I was very curious about how she utilizes an overlooked resource in the many classrooms, her Mimio.  A Mimio turns an ordinary whiteboard into an interactive whiteboard where students can manipulate objects and write using a special pen.  I was able to observe a math lesson where Ms. Gerk integrated the Mimio in a practical way that enhanced learning for her students.  

The way in which Ms. Gerk organized the lesson had specific elements that could easily be brought into any classroom with a Mimio.

  1. Bring Them Together.  The downside of the board is that it is stationary in the room.  But, Ms. Gerk had her students gather round the board making it easier for her students not only to see, but also to be in close proximity to the board to be able to allow students to interact with the board easily.  Also, it reduced travel time for students to the board keeping the lesson moving along.
  2. Practice of Social Skills.  Using an interactive whiteboard gives students the opportunity to practice some basic social skills that are important at any grade level like collaborating with others and turn taking.  
  3. Make it Visual.  Mimio allows teachers to make a lesson visual which can be difficult sometimes for the subject of math. In this lesson, students viewed digital models of ones to help them with their number sense.  Instead of having individual sets for students to work with, the whole class had a digital set that was viewable by everyone.  This can help to guide and focus students during the lesson in a way that was not possible before.
  4. Build Student Confidence. Several different examples were utilized during the lesson, which allowed almost all of the students to participate at the Mimio.  And students wanted to participate - it was awesome to see all of the hands in the air!  It was a great motivator and allowed the students to get hands-on with the digital model.  Students were able to work with the ones model as a group to help deepen their understanding.  As they gained knowledge from the group, they gain confidence as they move towards independent practice.
  5. Integrate Formative Assessment.  After the students worked through several examples, Ms. Gerk had the students head back to their desks for a few minutes to test out their new knowledge on their own.  This quick and easy check gave Ms. Gerk some insight on what the students were able to get out of the lesson. She also had the students return one last time to the Mimio to see how students were able to apply all that they have learned to an extension problem which built on the practice.
  6. Use Your Resources.  One reason that the Mimio can sometimes be overlooked is the amount of time it takes to create a lesson.  Ms. Gerk took an already generated lesson from the math curriculum and made it into a her own hybrid lesson.  She used what was available to her and deepened it with small modifications it make it fit better for her students’ use.  There are pre-made Mimio lessons available on the Mimio exchange or you can convert different interactive whiteboard lessons to Mimio.

- Contribution from Amber Bridge, Grant Wood AEA Technology Consultant. Want to share what is going on in your class or collaborate on a technology project?  Feel to to contact me

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