May 20, 2017

One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. #turnerboys (at Grand Canyon National Park)

via Tumblr

Hacking Education Part 5-Student Gurus

Ever since I heard about Generation YES which trains students to be technology leaders and support, I had been intrigued with the idea of creating one where I was working.
So, I started a mini program with my 4th graders during the 2009-10 school year. I taught at a Title I school and many laptop carts (8) were available because they were not being used for one reason or another. I talked with the principal and we agreed I could have 3 carts (2-iBooks and 1-PC) in my room IF (always a catch), I got all of the carts up ready for classroom use AND we would support other classrooms.
Challenge Accepted!
The start up was very frustrating! It took a week to get them on the district network, online, and then update the various programs that we wanted to use. However, the entire process was very productive, because students took the time to learn what to do for each issue and then taught their classmates. Ultimately, they became my go-to people. In my initial meeting with them, I told them,

My requirement to help others was that they were on-top of their work first and then they could be called at anytime to help. If they couldn't handle this workload, then they were dismissed to focus on academics until they were caught up. There were 7 students who took this opportunity seriously. After we had gotten our devices up and going as well as the other 5 laptop carts (to be used by other classes), they were the ones who went to other classrooms and helped the teachers and students use them. Besides their beaming faces and the confidence they exuded when they came back from a mission, they were very happy and engaged students.
One issue developed after these missions started. My students started complaining that others were not as careful with the laptops as we were and that it was a pain to remind them to take care of them and to keep showing them the same things over and over again. I had to laugh and tell them that it takes time and patience to get where we were and not to judge because they did not have the training they did. They understood and the complaining reduced significantly.
I didn't have any teacher pushback on this small program because the principal supported it and teachers were already calling me during class time to support help them.
I enjoyed the process and aim to set one up again with the proper support.
I'd encourage you to do the same if tech support isn't as you hope, and if you are able to.
If you want to know more of how to set up your own, check out the Generation YES program and then contact me to support you creating yours.

Saturday afternoon exploration. #turnerboys (at North Phoenix)

via Tumblr

April 15, 2017

Hacking Education-Part 4-Track Records

This chapter was interesting to me because it boiled down to creating and maintaining proper relationships with students.
Classroom management has been a hot button issue in many schools and districts. As I read, I realized that the process of tracking behavior, positive and negative, by writing it down and by sharing it at the appropriate times makes the unconscious evaluation of people visible, valuable, and valid. Children, but especially adults need to make this process more intentional.

Personal aside
I have made mistakes Shocking, I know, but stay with me. Looking back at those errant times and documenting what went wrong with dates, events, and other surrounding circumstances have helped me see a bigger picture of how I could have handled the situation better, see the viewpoint of others, and what I can do the next time a similar experience comes up. Many revelations or epiphanies are not easy to handle but with support of friends and family, I have survived.

So, this type of self-correcting is what the authors are hoping teachers will learn if they don't know already and teach to students so they will see beyond themselves and how they can modify their behavior to gain the outcomes they truly desire.

There are many benefits the chapter outlines, but the one that I can relate to is finding and grabbing the moment to slow down and get out of one's self.
(Dr. Strange - out of body picture)
This is critical to maintaining professionalism, keeping your cool, and being in control of the class. Any teacher who has lost their cool and done something very stupid can tell you they have regretted it and possibly was the singular moment that caused an accelerated descent into chaos.

One more thing, the tracking does work on many levels and is known by other names:
Data points
Hair Tags

"...Ultimately, who we are really is the sum of the choices we make."
-Hacking Education p. 61.