Start The Day or End the Week with a Talking Point

IWBs take up a considerable amount of wall space, so how about turning yours into a dynamic display board during downtimes, or at the start and end of the day?

Windows XP and Vista come with a collection of preinstalled desk top themes, that can be customised and changed, as well as including in their desk top properties tool kit the "my pictures slideshow" or "photo" screensaver options.

In addition both also include their own slide show tool, which in combination with IWBs and projectors afford the opportunity in combination with selected images from the internet to provide a talking point or wow factor at the start of the day.

A while back I installed the National Geographic POD (Photo of the Day) and NASA Image of the day gadgets to iGoogle, which are updated daily with some really amazing images, and occasionally I am inspired to download them to use as wallpaper on my laptop, or for use in slideshows. Many of the images I have downloaded to support the making of Whiteboard notebooks, have also found their way either onto the desktop of my laptop, or into photo slideshows. I also take a lot of photographs while on school visits or to log our activities in class.

We have found digital photographs and the Windows Slideshow player, to be really useful in helping students recall their previous work or supporting discussion, and thinking together, around visits and events, and as a vehicle for younger students to share their previous days work with parents and carers on arrival in school.

With older students, regularly changing desktop wallpaper, to include theme based images or to celebrate and model expectations and quality outcome, have also been helpful in promoting the value I place on certain types of activity and behaviour, as well as promoting discussion at the start of the day. A couple of favourites among the students were a full windows theme I downloaded from the web at christmas, based on Dr Seuss' "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," with sound effects and voiceovers from the movie that played when frequently performed tasks were carried out, and the amazing Simpson's Matrix and Bart Vader wallpapers.

Next term I return to full time class based teaching, and am interested in exploring the extension of a reading club idea begun with my current class and their partner class last year to extend home school partnerships. Using photographs of the week as a slideshow would be an interesting talking point to perhaps help students and their parents/carers engage in learning diary and review work as part of this on a Friday morning, with an open classroom start to the day, that will support and lead to pairs of students completing the class or year group Blog later in the day.

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