Making things work comes with the territory of being a teacher. Sometimes things don’t work out and we have to quickly shift. This program has been making sure I practice that skill well and reminds me that I am good at that skill. I’ve been more empowered to plan things that I am almost positive will fail, only to be excited when it goes well!
One thing that had been rescheduled several times was my tour of the public library. When staying in a small town, not everyone speaks English and I had to make sure I came at a time when there was someone who spoke English working. We had some miscommunications in terms of time, but when we finally connected, I was so happy to see that they have a vibrant library program. To me, it felt like a mix of a public and an academic library. The library is very new and modern, because it’s only 8 years old. When the library opened, they reached out to embassies around the world for rocks from all over the world. Because of this, they have several rocks from around the world, including a rock from the Alexandria, Egypt. They do a lot of programming for kids and teens, have a variety of special collections, and do a lot of traditional library programming. I was surprised that it had a section of closed stacks. I’m used to public libraries not having the space or staffing for that.
Tuesday had a variety of challenges. I had my students write and “I poem” or a “Bio-poem” about themselves using a template. Some of my groups could barely handle the template, whereas other groups moved onto the final copy and made beautiful poems. Every group has a very specific set of needs, so I feel like we were adjusting ourselves constantly.
For my oldest group, I knew that their attention spans wouldn’t handle to final copy, so we ended up going to a room that had a computer and played Geoguessr. I loved hearing their thought process about which state they thought we were in. Then we went to 360 cities and I let them look at 360 views from the cities and states of their choice.
We also Skyped with students from my American school district. It was a little tricky because it was the end of the day (so my kids were tired), and we were having 90 kids on my end speak to 20 kids on the American end, but since we organized it well, it went really smoothly. We made sure to pre-select the questions so we had participation from each group and had a variety of questions. Each kid asking a question had a post-it note with their name, question, and number. This was the only thing about my Poland trip that I was stressed about (and I was going by myself to a country where I don’t speak the language!). Doing Skype events terrify me because you have to
- put your faith in the other person that they aren’t going to have tech issues
- put your faith in the tech people/tech that they aren’t going to do something to sabotage you
- recognize that not everything is in your control and there are kids watching you.
- Something ALWAYS goes wrong.
Even though Skype/Google Hangout scares the living daylights out of me, I do it because I see that value. I go through this anxiety with Skype/Google Hangouts even when I do these in my home district. I think every teacher has some program or technology or something that scares them and they don’t trust, but they do it because it’s good for kids.
Today we practiced clothing words by having some fun! We had a fashion show and when the model finished going down the runway, we described what they wore. The kids LOVED it! They had so much fun dancing along the runway and posing. They got so excited that we had to do some line dancing just to get them all doing the same thing and start paying attention. One group was SO excited, that we finally went back to the room and color pictures of outfits and described the types of clothing. This was another day when every class, we did something different, and I appreciate my TA for rolling with me as I switched plans really quickly depending on our needs.