School Week Round-Up: Week Four

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LessonsStudents are getting into the routines! And it’s really helping! Most of the confusion has been where our routines differ from last year’s routines, but the more we practice new routines, the better we get at them. Also, on Wednesday morning a second grader asked me a really good question — I forget what the question was, exactly, but it inspired me to use more specific language. We use our usernames to log into the computer. Then we use our email addresses to log into Google Chrome. The first part of our email address is our username. The second part of our username is our domain name. I’m not expecting kids to absorb this right away (though some kids definitely are). But I think it helps to use accurate language in the computer lab when it really is aspecific topic. An email address is a username and a domain name. On the other hand, there are several ways to successfully navigate to Google Classroom. It’s like — it doesn’t matter if a kid walked to school, got dropped off by a parent, or rode the bus. We all got to school, it doesn’t matter how we got there. So in the tech lab, sometimes things are very precise. And sometimes we can be flexible and do things different ways. I think my goal is to emphasize precision in vocabulary, but flexibility in methods.Helped, of course, by ideas I’ve found via Twitter, such as color coding keyboard rows and login cards.

Support: The kids are getting better at new routines in the lab, and kids and teachers are all improving at routines outside the lab, as well! I don’t think I was called on for support so frequently this week. However, I did call for support with computers in the lab that were working so slowly that they were not good choices to use during a fifty-minute class period. Two of our tech folks came out and not only fixed all but one computer, but they showed me a few tricks I can try next time desktops operate crankily. (And the one they didn’t fix? They took it with them to see if it needed new hardware. So progress is still being made.)

Things I Did Well: I think I am doing pretty well with keeping consistent with my language choices between grade levels. In the past I was tempted to simplify things for first grade students — maybe to the point of oversimplifying. But over time I see that doesn’t help the kids as they move up to the next grade, and it certainly doesn’t help me that I need to reteach more than I would have needed to otherwise. So I’m trying to do a better job of it this year, because Future Me will appreciate it next year.

Things I Will Do Better: More than once this week I was late to something because I lost track of the time, or almost late to something for a similar reason. I wasn’t blindsided, because I had been told accurate information in advance. I just didn’t do a good job keeping on top of my own calendar this week. I will regroup and make an effort to do better on this next week.

Cold Prickly: I had another meeting about the RESA again (this time with my principal and superintendent). It was a cold prickly because, if I fail the Second Lesson Cycle again, it will affect my employment status. But it also was a warm fuzzy because the administrators really want to support me doing this, they do not want me to fail. We came up with some ideas about how they could support me without violating RESA submission guidelines. I feel really good about this, really. I just wish I weren’t in this situation to begin with.

Warm Fuzzy: Speaking of the RESA, I had to call their customer support. I had forgotten that I signed up with a personal email account, not my work one, so when I tried logging in with my work account, I got confused. I was further confused when I wasn’t receiving password reset emails. So I called their support number, and the patient person who answered the phone reminded me that I had used a personal email account. Oof! I was embarrassed and at the close of the call, I said, “I hope I’m the worst call you get all day!” And, no joke, this person responded, “It’s okay, I love you.” He said “I love you.” It’s a silly thing, and I think it was just a temporary lapse in professional etiquette you could blame on autopilot, but I’m taking it as a sign. RESA also really wants me to pass the RESA this year!

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