Friday, February 6, 2009

what a week!

Whew. I can't believe it's finally Friday. Thank goodness!

Big changes this week compel me to give a mid-year update on the state of my classroom. No one ever asks, but it does take a pretty sizeable chunk of my waking hours. My class makes me proud every day. They're generally a well-behaved bunch, nary a troublemaker in sight. The worst behavior I deal with on a daily basis is a bit of motormouth and some out of the seat shenanigans. I can handle that. They actually enjoy learning at a time when I sometimes feel like I'm putting the onus of teaching on them. They're using research skills to teach themselves about ancient civilizations. What's more, they're making the critical connections between them that are going to help them remember the information in the long run. I'm not sure how I taught them to do this, but I sure hope I can replicate that year after year.

We got a SMARTboard this week. For you non-educators out there, it's an interactive whiteboard. Think iPhone meets projector and laptop. (Some videos of SMARTboard-equipped classrooms) I've been working on lessons all year long, and my classroom is now blessed with one. The students really enjoy using it. In math especially, it's a heckuva lot easier to use than tens and ones blocks that I'd been using to teach carrying and borrowing (now under the regrouping umbrella). I'd applied for one in the past, but I hadn't used it a whole lot. This year, I made it my mission to use it weekly. It wasn't hard; the school's shared one is right next door to my classroom.

As with anything new, the more I used it, the easier it got. The time I put in now to develop new lessons will pay off in an easier time using it next year, as I'll be able to tweak the lesson instead of reinvent the wheel. By the time the next new, improved, overpriced technology gizmo comes along, maybe I'll be out of the classroom and into policy or government or administration.

Who knows, that may be next week!


Tim said...

I'm amazed at how much money VA must have by comparison to AZ for education. My fuckin graduate program didn't get smartboards till this year....we were still on chalk and dry erase like all pubs should be.

My guess is that they are being sold off now to pay back debt.

Mr. J said...

The schools I've been in have financed the majority of their SMARTboards through the PTA, not with the budget. I'd say a little more than half the classrooms at my current school have them, and far fewer of them at my old school.