Thursday, February 12, 2009

Downtime is still productive time

Today SL's logins are being fussy (two students were able to log in, the rest can't). Since we're still in my room and limited to five computers, that was going to mean an entire class of downtime, something we've not had to deal with since we got into SL back in December.

But there are tasks that need to be done out of SL and I put the other groups to creating the posters that need to go into their respective areas. The group in charge of The Drop Off (the landing point) is also the group in charge of THE RULES (school isn't complete without a set of rules to govern behavior). I am very impressed with the seven they came up with...and with their phrasing. Without any input from me, they came up with their draft. While they were working, I heard one of them tell the others, "We have to make this PBIS language." When they turned to me and asked if they really had to do that, I reminded them that no one likes a list of don'ts. Keeping the rules positive would set a better tone. That was my sole input (well, except for fixing the spelling of "you're" to "your") -- they came up with the list.

But here's where I realized how stuck I am in old technologies. I suppose in the very olden days the students would have hand-written the list and then written it by hand on the board for the others to see and comment on. In a more advanced class, perhaps they would have used carbon paper and the room's typewriter to make several copies kids could share. Today, they attached it as an email and sent it to me so I could put it up via the projector and they could see the list on the screen to suggest changes. Another alternative would have been to have the small group brainstorm and put the rules right onto the wiki and let others read and make suggestions when they had the time. I still haven't quite incorporated that technology fully into my teaching. Something for me to work toward :) .

I'm proud of the work the kids are doing. There have been some frustrations, but those are good and they're learning. The group I have that's trying to break what's currently there have found several problems and are working to get them fixed. The communication group has come up with a cool design for their section and the appearance group, after a frustrating start, is now coming along quite well. The movement "group" consists of only one person at the moment as his partner has been absent. In spite of that he's come up with some great ideas and is moving right along. We're aiming for a finish date sometime in mid-March.


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