The newest piece of technology to hit the classroom is the ELMO document camera. It is basically a mounted camera attached to a digital projector that allows you to project documents and other objects onto the board for your class to see. If you are only using your ELMO visual presenter as an overhead projector, you are really missing out on the possibilities. Category sorts are one easy way to increase the learning of your students using this great piece of technology.

This teaching strategy that uses the ELMO document camera can be use when you teach any concept that can be grouped into categories. Parts of speech, genus and phylum, whole numbers and fractions, etc. I will explain how to do it using the lesson I taught my students on the factors of production.

I began by giving each student a mini donut and a small sticky note.

Brainstorming with the ELMO visual presenter
Brainstorming with the ELMO visual presenter

Next, I had the students each write one thing that was needed in order to make the donuts and get them to the store. They placed them underneath the ELMO document camera.

Sorting with the ELMO document camera
Sorting with the ELMO document camera

Then, I had one student come up to the ELMO document camera and try to group the items into three categories, with the rest of the class advising. When they had three categories they agreed on, I taught them how the categories represented land, labor and capital.

Labeling with the ELMO document camera
Labeling with the ELMO document camera

Finally, I divided them into groups. Each group was assigned a good or service and given a small stack of sticky notes. They then were told to write examples of land, labor and capital needed to make their item on their stickies and sort them accordingly. Finally, they presented their findings to the class with the ELMO document camera. Any items that were wrongly classified were discussed by the class and out into the right place.