Granada Islamic School Uses Smart Boards in Foreign Language Classes
By Martha Sessums
How do teachers keep the enthusiasm high in a foreign language class? According to Mrs. Nawal Laymoun, Arabic Language teacher at Granada Islamic School, use a Smart Board.
“The kids want to come up to the front of the class to speak Arabic and use the Smart Board,” she told me during a recent school tour. “Watch. Every student raises their hands to participate.”
Participation on the day of my visit meant speaking Arabic by role-playing buyer or seller in a toy store. And Mrs. Laymoun was right. Students raised their hand and called out to be picked, even though it was a beginning language class. The teacher kept repeating “don’t worry, everyone will get a chance.”
The lesson on the Smart Board started with a review of usage rules and letters that popped up super-sized on the screen. A video was shown of two young girls talking in Arabic, which was a lesson in verb conjugations.
Then the Smart Board was covered with images of toys, from trains to stuffed animals, and the role-playing began. One student was the owner of the store and the second one was the customer. In Arabic, they described the toy and negotiated price before the student “customer” could add it to the shopping cart. The students moved toys around the board with a touch of the finger, in the style of the film “Minority Report,” which made the lesson fun. The teacher helped students that were stuck, and at the end of each roll-play, the class was asked their opinion about the transaction.
The second language class I attended was advanced heritage Arabic. Each student brought food from their country and had to describe it in Arabic and where it fits on the Food Pyramid that was projected on the Smart Board. After the presentations, we tasted the food, which was marvelous. The hummus was fresh and tangy, and the almond pastry from Palestine was a treat. Thank you to the student’s moms who prepared the food.
Granada Islamic, located in Santa Clara, has used the ACE Network to help provide Internet access to classrooms since the school year 2010. On-line Discovery Education curriculum is used for science and math classes (projected on the Smart Board in the science and computer labs) and document cameras were recently installed in every classroom.
Oh, I learned a word in Arabic because of the Smart Board. In my phonetic spelling, it was guitar-a. It was a familiar-enough word in English that I understood it when one of the students described the Smart-Board guitar image and put it in her shopping cart. Smart Boards work!
Other ACE Partner Schools use Smart Boards. How do you use them?