Monday, April 18, 2011

See Saw Classroom

I don't know about all teachers, but I feel like I am constantly searching for the right equilibrium in my own little classroom. I was reminded of how delicate the balance can be today as I showed my students the calendar to illustrate how many weeks they had left to complete their projects before final presentations. The look of horror on some students' faces leads me to believe that perhaps I neglected to match my level of support to the point at which my current students are learning to manage their own time to complete complex, long term work. Of course, I am assuming that the scary scared looks were due to the limited amount of time available rather that the dread of spending six more weeks in my class ;).

I've tried making the entire class keep a variety of calendars, to do lists, and project organizers. Lots of moans and groans and time spent tracking down the organizer, long after the work it was supposed to organize was turned in. Ultimately, it seems that each student has his or her preferred way of doing things and my role, then, should be to help those without a way....or without a way that actually works. Online tools offer great promise but due to their lack of physicality, can get forgotten if only used for a single class out of the seven on their list. I'm always tinkering with new options and the level at which they are "enforced" rather than permitted as choices.

Until we get beyond this artificial world of class periods, school days, quarters, semesters and grades, I suppose all of us can benefit from some type of organizational scheme that works. I'm curious if others of you out there have found some cool e-gadgets or software to organize your students or children?

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