What Do You Do When You Have to Punt?

My building tech person poked her head into my room this morning before school started to deliver some bad news, “Internet is down, guess you’ll have to punt.” Not exactly the first thing you want to hear in the morning when your classroom, the equipment in it, and the lessons you have planned all revolve around using the computers and the Internet.

Thankfully, as I sat there bemoaning having to change lessons for my 5th graders that were due in less than 10 minutes, I took her advice to heart. My brain flashed back to my substituting days, and quickly referenced the “cheat sheet” of games and activities that I carried with me in case of emergencies. Sparkle? Nope, spelling games wouldn’t fly with this class. Free Choice Time? I really didn’t want to waste the whole class. Win, Lose, or Draw Technology Vocabulary? OMG! My interactive whiteboard; win, lose, or draw; perfect! So with less than 5 minutes to go, I quickly printed up my handy dandy list of technology vocabulary, and the first class of the day got to play a rather loud game of Win, Lose, or Draw. It was exciting for them, because they got to use the board. It was exciting for me, because I got to see how well they knew their technology terminology (many remembered wikis from last year).

Most of all, it was surprising to see how literal they were drawing the images. Almost everything started out as a box. Website? A box with picture and writing in it. Monitor? A box with pictures and words in it. Search Engine? A box with a tiny box with writing inside of that. Kind of disappointing to not see the sort of creativity I expected (a picture of a spider’s web perhaps for website), so I think I’m going to have to work the Win, Lose, or Draw game into my regular routine now. I hadn’t thought of it before because I only see the kids for 45 minutes a week, and quite often from week to week there’s a lot of retention lost. Maybe a few rousing rounds of a drawing or matching game might be helpful. In any event, I’m hoping I can turn this “punt” into a touch-down drive some time in the near future (yes, yes, I’m well aware that’s not how it really works in real football).

But I’m still curious as to what other technology using educators do when their technology fails them and they have to “punt”.

Image: ‘Jacob‘ – www.flickr.com/photos/84226264@N00/464813527


  1. Ben,

    Judging from the roar I heard from your classroom, the “punt” was a big hit! I was thankful the reading group came in after your first hour! Big winner. di

  2. What a great idea! Kids are always clammering to use the Smartboard. I’m tucking that one away in my emergency list. Is the list of vocabulary online anyplace?? Thank for sharing!

  3. Ben, I too struggle when I can’t use the equipment in my IT lessons. What a fantastic idea! I’ll be stashing this one away in my “powered down” lessons folder. I currently don’t have m(any) other solutions, but the problem is a definite possibility for all of us. Bring on more suggestions 🙂

  4. Wow, I didn’t think this would get such a response! Thanks for the encouragement.

    It was a huge hit with the 5th graders, so I’ll ahve to fine tune it for later use.

  5. Please follow with post including the words. I would have never thought of this…. High five!

  6. Ben-

    Great idea! What a great way for the kids to use the smartboard as well.

    I agree with you about the retention lost when you only see them once a week. We are trying to think outside the box to come up with some solutions for that one.

    I have had the same thing happen to me several times. If it is a nice enough day (not raining), it’s a great day for us to get outside and use the digital cameras. Sometimes I will send them on a scavenger hunt for a certain concept (find letters of the alphbet, find different angles, find different shapes,etc.) Other times we use this time to practice some photo techniques like close-ups and different points of view.

  7. It is amazinging that not only do I rely on the tecnhology, but the studetns do now as well. I have been using a SmartBorad for 3 years now, and I too had to punt a few times due to no Internet connectivity or during an ice storm, power on and off. My students were wondering how I could manage to teach since the power was off. I told them that I would have to do it like in the old days! ha ha! We did survive and since I mainly teach math, using the whiteboards to do problems was a good nonwasted day!

  8. I could not have read your blog at a better time! I have two computers in my classroom, one of which is connected to a Smart Board. Of course when I walked into class this morning my computer connected to the Smart Board was not working. Talk about frustrating! I had planned a science lesson that heavily involved the use of technology and was suddenly feeling deflated that my carefully planned lesson was going to fall flat. Thankfully I was able to quickly scour our school’s library and was able to find lots of books that had information and photgraphs of what we were learning about. The kids were able to work in groups to create mini presentations to cover the material. The kids had a lot of fun and it worked out well. There are a lot of educators in my school that do not like technology and unfortuantely days like this don’t help to change their attitudes. Thankfully as teachers we are quick thinkers and easily adapt!I like your Win Lose or Draw idea. I will have to keep it in mind the next time I want to review science terminology.

Comments are closed.