Teachers begin screening

Teacher Suzanne Savage had assembled her three-part overhead projector and plugged in the necessary cords, parts and accessories.

To her right, she projected a blue screen along a wall of the library at La Crescenta Elementary School, where she works.

She began to project lesson plans, instruction manuals and messed around with the zoom and auto-focus feature on her new ELMO image mate, an elaborate overhead projector for classroom instruction.

And then, anticipating student reaction, she began to wave her hands in front of the device's camera lens.

Students might consider the state-of-the-art projectors toys, but they're really instructional game-changers, teachers said.

The devices allow teachers to play DVDs, video, slideshows, as well as textbooks, writing or arithmetic assignments. They can also film and photograph.

"It makes any visuals accessible to all the students," said Katie Warren, a Glendale Unified teacher specialist who ran the training session on Thursday. "It really levels the playing field because visual learners really need to see."

The projectors replace more rudimentary units that first- and second-grade teacher Teresa Williams said were very "20th century."

"It's like going from black and white to high-definition, 3-D color," she said.

"It makes our job easier, because one of the biggest things in education is engagement … and the color just pops out at you. It comes to life."

The devices will be in every La Crescenta Elementary classroom, and were provided by the school's parent foundation and the Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce, Principal Kim Bishop said.

And Becky Cassell, a first-grade teacher, said she's eager to experiment with reading comprehension lessons. She said she relies on various colored pencils to highlight key words, plot lines and other reading standards.

With new overhead projectors, students can mimic what their seeing in ways they couldn't before, Cassell said.

Some teachers gasped in awe after opening the boxes of their new machines.

"I'm glad for you that you have these," Warren said.

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