Today was a bit frustrating. After having spent a relaxing few days off for Thanksgiving, I carefully planned out how I would use these 4 full weeks I have until the Holiday Break at the end of December.
5th grade was easy; they’re breaking in a new typing program for me, and finding all of the kinks and bugs. 4th grade is starting on the Word Wall Wiki project that I first attempted last year. So far, they’ve responded quite nicely, and I’m looking forward to what they can do. 3rd grade however…..
I’m not sure if it’s just the fact that I forget their 3rd graders, and just lack the experiences of the older students, or if they still haven’t grown out of the 2nd grade mindset of computers are mostly just for games and entertaining myself. While I would agree on the entertaining part, it frustrates me when a well laid plan backfires because students are overly engaged with a fantastic tool like Google Earth. Rather than take the time to listen to the instructions I was delivering, many of them focused on spinning the globe wildly, and seeing just how close they could zoom into the ocean. And this is after all of the “play time” I gave them before break with the program, and informed them that we would need to work hard today.
What frustrates me more is that I have a pretty nifty little project planned that entails the students using Google Earth’s search feature to find Police, Fire, Grocery Stores, Churches, Malls, and other places that newcomers to our area might want to find. They’re putting placemarks on the map for all of those “important to know” places, and then saving all of those placemarks into a folder they’ve created. Creating the folder (the first step of the project) is what is holding many of them up. I ask them to right-click (granted, we’ve only done it maybe once or twice before), and instantly half the class is confused. I know that I probably haven’t planned as brilliantly as I thought I had (I almost never do the first time around), but then to watch students that I knew weren’t getting it carry on with searching for random places, and ignoring my instructions meant that today’s lessons didn’t go well for me, and I need to do some serious “tweaking” and revising for tomorrow’s students.
I know these 3rd graders are smart; most of them remembered how to save to their network drives with very little prompting (something the 4th graders still have trouble with). They’re also very talkative, which I’ll have to work to my advantage in some sort of team or buddy fashion, but until that gels, I’ll have to ride this low-tide. Not that I mind it, as in teaching and all of life there are highs and lows. I just wish that some lows didn’t come off the heels of a break in which I thought everything was going smoothly.