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posted: Wed, Jan 28th, 2015

Smart Shot provides a window into the classroom

CMS teacher Amber Roselle records a student using a laptop

A new program being used at CMS is connecting the classroom with parents of special education students like never before.

It’s called Smart Shot and the concept is brilliantly simple: occasionally video record students describing and explaining something they've learned and then email the clips to parents. That's it. The short videos, each generally less than a minute long, are quick peeks into the school lives of children that help enhance home/school communication – something incredibly important since teachers and parents of students with special needs must work together closely to ensure that the students reach their full potential.

Smart Shot is designed for students in the elementary grades. It provides a peek into the classroom and lets parents see their child’s progress over time. 

The program also has other benefits. The very process of "talking out" a new or complex concept, process, or procedure allows a student to internalize the information and become more comfortable with it. Simply put, it can lead to better learning. 

CMS special education teacher Amber Roselle has seen the educational impact that Smart Shot has had on students. 

“Getting them to reflect on what they’ve learned and explain it, and hear themselves explain it, helps with their retention and increases their independence,” said Mrs. Roselle. “I love seeing them talking about what we’ve just covered and seeing the confidence they gain by realizing they got it. It keeps them smiling and excited about learning.”

Mrs. Roselle privately creates each Smart Shot in a corner of her classroom. She uses a camera on a laptop to record a student while she sits off camera and has a discussion with him or her. Mrs. Roselle could ask about the steps to solve a mathematical word problem, for example, or about the genre or author’s goal in something the class has just read. Along the way she asks questions that help students clarify and refine their thinking.

“It’s really peeling back the layers to make sure they have a deep understanding of the material,” Mrs. Roselle said.

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Chester M. Stephens Elementary School
99 Sunset Drive Budd Lake, NJ 07828
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