In my head my lesson plans were perfect, which as usual, is the first hint that the day will go wildly askew. So as Mrs. Morgan and I pushed mobile lab #5 to my room and we laughed at her funny statement about tight squeezes and mobile carts, I had in the back of my mind the agenda for the day. I pictured my students working hard on their papers showing their scholarly poise and earnest desire to accomplish their tasks.
In Composition I, 37% of the class was missing. Oh yes, I had forgotten to account for the DECA students and Dance Squad teams who were gone to their respective performances. I still gave my spiel about Bibme.org, Diigo, Webspiration, Evernote and Google docs. The students patiently put up with my unprofessional acting debut as tech teacher, and we made it through.
Intro. to Lit was a disaster. I was reminded instantly of what I tweeted last week: that teachers need to integrate technology naturally. My attempt here was as artificial as the list of ingredients on low-carb. low-fat ice cream. Librarything.com was the convertible I intended to drive my students around in while they spouted off brilliant observations and connections from the novels they read on the post I'd created yesterday at that site; perhaps the wind of their peers' breeze would even muss their hair a little on this journey. Instead we stalled. Some of us were hung up on logging onto the computers; others were waiting to log onto their gmail account; others made it to librarything.com and were so bored they had time to claim our group was from Watertown, SD. The biggest snag was my assumption that I could quickly enter the user names of the students I had to invite into my group. Of course, I set up two groups with the exact same name: Intro. to Literature Spring 2011. I couldn't figure out how to delete one of the groups, but I figured I'd remember to just pick one when I added names. Nope. I selected from both groups. So after one student volunteered to clean up the mess I made and came up with the idea to rename the group to help me remember which one to invite members to, I was feeling a little anxious and wanted to give up. Eventually the students posted a mini summary of their novels. Not exactly a deep and scholarly way to use my students' time.
My prep time was glorious. I had a chance to fix the errors of my planning. I created a step-by-step word document to help students log onto their Google accounts. I must admit I was proud of the way I solved my problem (note that this is another hint that life will not cooperate).
Fourth hour rolled around, and my confidence in what I'd prepared for Composition II faded when Kim made a surprise appearance to my classroom to break the news that I was teaching students the wrong information--that they had to launch from a particular domain, not the one I so carefully put on that word document. Egads.
Aside from squirting ketchup on my sweater during lunch, taking three sips of my milk to absolutely, positively make sure it was not fresh (ironically, I turned away a March 2nd expiration due date thinking the milk would be spoiled, and didn't bother to look at the expiration date of my newest milk: Feb. 26 eww--left a bad taste in my mouth--plus the moisture from the outside of my milk sogged up my cookie) and finding out I sent Kim the message that "Emma needs to access her accountant," the day was not all lost. A student in 7th hour said we should use Google docs when we do our paper critiques, so I hopped on the server and reserved the mobile lab for that and saved a tree or two in the process. Another student, who shall remain nameless except in the title of this blog, said we should still give librarything. com another try--that I need to be patient. I was also happy to hear that another student said she tried using the Diigo account and liked it. So the lessons were not all for naught. But I'm still glad this is the only February 28, 2011 I will ever experience.