Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Troops are Restless

I spent my newly acquired prep periods this morning transposing some Samoan newspaper articles into Mavis Beacon because I have a hunch that it will increase their typing speed. I had planned to have my 11.4 class type for time today. I would like to make a little chart in the room that shows everyone’s typing speeds. I think it will be a good motivator.

Talking to other teachers, it seems that students here tend to respond well to such publicized charts, occasionally getting downright excited. But going into the period, I knew it would be heavy on logistics, and I abandoned the plan almost as soon as the period began.

The first problem with acquiring such data is that it entails each student doing a complete round of Mavis Beacon on his/her own, completely unassisted by peers. The other side of that is the peers need to be somewhere away from the computer for the entire duration of the round. This would mean corralling the majority of the class to a weird part of the floor and occupying them while they wait for their turn. This would only work if the entire procedure is taut.

The second problem is the actual typing speeds would need to be recorded, which would require matching each student with their speed, which would mean having each students name written down. I have never received a roll sheet. I don’t have a list of student names. So if things had gone as planned today, I would have had to collect typing speeds and names, which would not be a taut procedure.

But what really drove the nail into the coffin was the third much larger problem that I noticed as soon as the period began: students are starting to give up. Being part of a 4 student:1 computer ratio is starting to wear on them to the point that it’s easier to just sit the period out on the linoleum than to try and get on a computer.

It’s hard to know how to combat this problem. Given the amount of micro-rotating, trying to regulate a rotation system seems slightly pointless. I could pull away part of the class and start working on computer theory while a third continues typing, but this would be awkward because of the layout of the room and the need to rotate a third of the class in and out every 15 minutes. And how would that lesson work? “All of you have some notes, so it’s your job to figure out who has the notes you missed.” It doesn’t seem too effective.

I figure the best I can do is to try and motivate every student to elbow his/her way in to get some time with Mavis. And that was what I was trying to do in the first place! So I figure problem #3 is going to have to be solved over time. Problem #2, on the other hand, I was able to solve today by walking around and compiling a list with each student’s name. This only solves the problem for 11.4, which means I’ll need to collect names for 11.3, 11.2, and 11.1, but hopefully the lesson will be taut (taught?) next week.

In other news, Blakey and Supy came over last night. We had taro hash browns and pizza. It was as filling as it sounds. It was a fun night though. At one point I grilled a pizza sandwich. It was a revelation, and I highly recommend it. Two pieces of pizza put face-to-face and fried, grilled-cheese-style, in EVOO. Man, I miss the Food Network.

I hope you’re getting your fill of Rachel Rae (Actually, I much prefer the Barefoot Contessa. It’s a guilty pleasure.). Pictures below.

One ritual that volunteers do whenever the get together is the traditional sharing of external hard drive files. Here is Supy doing just that.


Grilled pizza. Fantastic. Kinda like a pizza panini. Or a "pizzanini" as Blakey referred to it. Has this been mass marketed? If not it sure as hell should be.

The green onions that Blakey bought at the market came in a Safeway bag. Okay.

Rugby practice was held after school today.


Eric Carr said...

Grilling Pizza is brilliant!! Couldn’t that could be sautéing? Does grilling make it healthier?? I used to be a big Rachael Ray fan but, sometimes less talk is better and I don’t think she has an off switch. Like you, I am a member of the Ina Garten fan club. How about some fruit pictures from the market?

Anonymous said...

I love the picture of Blakey! She has such a happy face. It makes me smile.