Karen Stenhoff’s third-grade class was just getting ready to start a lesson on analogies using the SMART Board in their classroom. Shown are Stenhoff, Pat Longmire of Red’s Hometown Market and Commercial Club members Heather Gray, Jacqui VanMinsel, Jennifer Stender, Paul Gray and Lorilyn Dehning.
Karen Stenhoff’s third-grade class was just getting ready to start a lesson on analogies using the SMART Board in their classroom. Shown are Stenhoff, Pat Longmire of Red’s Hometown Market and Commercial Club members Heather Gray, Jacqui VanMinsel, Jennifer Stender, Paul Gray and Lorilyn Dehning.
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No more buttering up the teacher by offering to clean the chalkboards and erasers. That task is from a bygone era. Now, "chalkboards" are interactive and students learn and can answer questions by touching a screen.

Spring Grove Public School has had SMART Boards in their building for several years, but recently added nine more for a total of 12. They were able to do this through the generosity of Pat Longmire of Red's Hometown Market and the Spring Grove Commercial Club.

"I like to give back to the community," Longmire commented on why he decided to donate two SMART Boards to the school.

"One day Rachel [Udstuen, superintendent] was in the store, and we were talking about needs that the school had. I asked if there was something that the school needed that I could help provide to help out. She mentioned that a SMART Board would be a nice addition. I decided that I wanted to donate two boards."

SMART Boards are interactive white boards. They can be a touch screen, they can be written on with digital ink, they can project websites and more. The teacher can capture what is on the board as a photo and then save it to show to another class or to send to a student that is absent.

"With old chalkboards or regular white boards, once the information was erased it was gone," remarked Principal Nancy Gulbranson.

"With SMART Boards we have the wonderful opportunity to save things. The students really love using them."

The SMART Board costs about $1,400 and the necessary cables and projector add about $1,400, for a total set-up cost of about $2,800 per unit.

There are five SMART Boards in the elementary (kindergarten through third grade), one in the Middle Ages (fourth through sixth grade), four in the high school, one in elementary special education, and one in ECFE.

On Nov. 20, Commercial Club members - Jennifer Stender, Lorilyn Dehning, Jacqui VanMinsel, Heather Gray and Paul Gray - along with Longmire were treated to lunch in the cafeteria at Spring Grove Public School and then were given a tour of the rooms with SMART Boards so that they could see them in action.

"We use our SMART Board every single day," commented second-grade teacher, Jill Bjerke. "We don't know what we'd do without it."

In the third-grade classroom, they were working on analogies and had information from an iPad projected onto the SMART Board screen where they were working together on learning this topic.

The students were then able to take iPads and work on their own. The students borrow iPads from other classrooms in order to have enough for each student.

"The students really enjoy this technology," added Udstuen. "They see it as a normal part of learning. We are very thankful for the generosity of Mr. Longmire and the Commercial Club so that we have this technology in so many places in our building."