Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Of Geeks and Google and the Tears of Heaven

To say it rained in Sarasota last night would be a gross understatement. Last night brought a cataract of ark-building proportions. It does that in sub-tropical locales. As such, the power in our school flickered on and off a few times. The network went all screwy and connectivity was hit and miss all day. ITC Wendy came into my room mid-day and said, "I think if you don't restart, you should be ok."
I had, of course, restarted at least three times to try and solve the problem. Luckily, the student laptops were still functioning, so I didn't need to fall back on Plan B. This deep into the school year, I wonder would I would have done were I already up and running as a blogging classroom. Generally speaking, in the traditional classroom, the textbooks aren't given to disappearing after a storm. Still, I'd much rather have what I have than have not.
Our ESE Resource teacher Lynne helps daily in my last period class. This means she was in on my Eminem lesson yesterday. This morning, she told me last night she read my post on the lesson. She was in her daughter Crissy's room, she'd forgotten her laptop at school, and Crissy came in. She explained what she was doing and told Crissy what she was reading about.
"They got to listen to music in English class?" she said, "I want to go to Phoenix."
I'm a little incredulous at the idea that music in a classroom is so difficult to believe at this point in the game. It's such a rich mix for a language classroom in the first place. Given the success of yesterday's as shown by my students' almost total recall of what we had done and the lesson to be learned, I'm planning on using it more and more in my classroom.
The room has also become a hub of activity during lunch. I've a contingent of male students who pile in to use the computers to listen to music and look up weird news. I've also a contingent of female students who come in to look up videos of the latest dance crazes. These same students who struggle when I give them a research topic or question are incredibly adroit at finding exactly the right video or finding their way around dead links. The knowledge is there, but the building is dead. I've got to bring more relevant content to the class.
My students, by-and-large, do not see themselves as writers. If I can get them writing about where they are and interacting with the online segment of experts on those various subjects, I think they will be pushed to explore their abilities.
More later.

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