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Holley students are happy to show off new SMART Boards

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 February 2014 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – State Sen. George Maziarz has fun answering a quiz about New York State history and facts with Holley third-graders. Maziarz directed $67,800 in funding to Holley to purchase 30 of the SMART Boards.

HOLLEY – Third grade teacher Lynn Vendetti tapped her finger on a white board and the next lesson appeared on the screen, an exercise in math.

The first question was 26 divided by 3. The screen showed 26 images of shells. A student walked to the board and arranged the shells into three rows, moving the shells on the screen with his finger. He had three rows of eight shells each, plus another two left over. His answer to 26 divided by 3: 8 with a remainder of 2.

Vendetti’s class has one of the new SMART Boards in the school district. The whiteboards are far more interactive with students than chalkboards or dry erase boards, said Robert D’Angelo, Holley’s school superintendent.

‘The kids are enthusiastic about engaging with the SMART Board,” D’Angelo said. “They are smiling and they are happy. They love to go up to the SMART Board.”

A third grade student works on a math problem with one of the SMART Boards at Holley.

Vendetti can insert lesson plans into the SMART Board and the information quickly shows on the screen. She doesn’t have to spend time jotting down numbers and information on a chalkboard.

The fast pace with the SMART Board keeps the students engaged, D’Angelo said.

“It has reduced classroom misbehavior,” D’Angelo said. “There is more concentration on learning.”

Holley added 30 SMART Boards this year, using $67,800 in funding from State Sen. George Maziarz. The senator secured “bullet aid” earmarks and he directed $67,800 to each of the five districts in Orleans County. It’s unrestricted aid, giving each district the choice to use it how they feel best.

“We’re trying to bring more resources back to the districts,” Maziarz said on Thursday afternoon, when he visited Holley to see the SMART Boards.

State Sen. George Maziarz visits Lynn Vendetti’s third grade class and sees a SMART Board in action. The system includes a microphone, which helps Vendetti to be heard by all students in the class.

The five districts used the funding for different initiatives. Medina used it to fund a police officer to work in the district. Some districts beefed up curriculum development for staff and implemented other security improvements. Holley picked the SMART Boards.

“We wanted to put it in the classroom where it has a direct impact on kids,” D’Angelo said.

Maziarz spent about a half hour with third graders on Thursday in Holley. He used the SMART Board to take a 10-question quiz about New York State history. He was able to see how the questions advanced on the screen, and how he could answer them by tapping one of four answers that appeared on the white board.

“This is great,” he said about the SMART Board. “It’s the way of the world today.”

D’Angelo said Holley would like to add a SMART Board to each classroom in the district. They are about a third of the way there. As the technology advances, D’Angelo said students may be able to dissect frogs in biology class with a SMART Board.

“This is a powerful instructional tool,” he said.