I had one of those busy weeks where I had thoughts and experiences I wanted to blog about, but whenever I had the time in front of a keyboard, I just sat there slack-jawed thinking about cake. Mmm, cake…
Lessons: This was our first week doing the AIR Test practice prompt activity that my principal conceived of and helped plan. It was not as bad as I had feared it might be. In my mind, I was remembering how we used to do student reading inventory testing about once a quarter in the computer lab. It helped us place students in reading classes. But back then, we also had fourth and fifth grades in the building. And when they were done, they were done, as in “over it.” There were a lot more behavior challenges for me back then. But this past week? Totally fine. I think it was because we did it with only two grade levels, so it didn’t take up the whole entire week, and I think it worked because in the past few years we have a different culture in the school. I was honestly surprised how no one whined and no one used body language to indicate they were giving up or quitting. I don’t think everyone did their best, but I think I can use the results of this activity to nurture kids where they need nurtured; challenge kids where they need challenged; and over time make them realize the value of this activity.
I spent huge chunks of time assessing their results, and then organizing data to help me see their strengths and weaknesses. I’m going to use this data to help me plan lessons for this upcoming week, and with the help of my spreadsheet (which may need a catchier title) I’m going to personalize each student’s learning path.
Support: So, two things. First, at least four times, I solved an issue by unplugging something and plugging it back in again, despite protestations that that had already been tried. Either my colleagues don’t unplug for sufficient time, or technology behaves better for me. I suspect the former but I prefer the latter because it makes me feel like magic.
Another thing I realized about myself: I want so badly to solve people’s problems, and be a hero by solving them as quickly as possible. But I had a big miscommunication this week: when teachers asked for certain things (devices, scheduling, etc.) I assumed they meant like right now. So I dropped my own business and ended up overdoing it. I told someone I would help them with a lesson, forgetting that I had a meeting at the very same time on my schedule already! So that was a doofus move on my part. It turned out that the teachers were hoping to use the resources as soon as reasonable, not necessarily possible. So I asked them straightforwardly what their timeline was, and we figured out one that is much more do-able for me and for the tech department as a whole.
Things I Did Well: I’m still grooving on our morning announcements. Really proud of my kids! The next move is to put all the clips and music we use onto a lab desktop so that kids more and more can do it independently. My students did get to that point last year. However, we had to change the way we did morning announcements this year, for a couple of reasons. First, Youtube changed the way they did Hangouts and I still haven’t figured out how to do them now. (That is not because it is complicated, it’s because I haven’t taken time to really do the necessary research and exploration.) Secondly, we wanted to include a student whose name, image, and work we are not allowed to publish. Working with the parents, we did come up with an accommodation that I think works really well and still allows this child to spotlight their talent fabulously!
I won’t be at school this upcoming Monday morning due to a meeting I have to go to, so I had my morning announcements team eat lunch with me in the computer lab so we could pre-prepare the announcements for Monday morning together. So that was a time management win. Hopefully we can do this more and more! My goal is to eventually get it so students can do this without me if I ever have a substitute.
Things I Will Do Better: I will not schedule myself to be in two places at once! I have at times been forgetful to the point of it being a character flaw, rather than just a quirk. It’s one of the reasons I have to get organized and stay organized. Last week I neglected to fill out my “This Week” organizer on my desk. It’s the most immediate way to organize and visualize my week, since my Google Calendar has so many things for other people on it. Plus, I do tend to remember things better once I’ve written them down. I’ve already filled it in for next week, I need to get back in that routine every Friday!
Cold Prickly & Warm Fuzzy: My cold prickly and warm fuzzy are intertwined this week. That meeting I forgot about was in another building, and I had forgotten about it so hard that I had walked to school that day. Oops. Luckily, a colleague came through with a ride for me! Thank you colleague!