Fly on the Wall – Live Blog

I am in an interesting situation – sitting in on another teacher’s section of history, while that teacher is not here. Students are working on projects. The tech educator is trouble shooting. I am here, and I know what is going on, but I am not really involved. I can just observe.

I have seen a student openly express frustration and leave the room for a few minutes (going to get another source). One boy was running into issues with a timeline software so he is now working on researching content. That is fine – he will go back to the presentation at some point. Sometimes you need to work through, and sometimes you need to step away. Another student is showing her group about Prezi, as they discuss what might be the pros and cons of it. The group that initially said they would do a Power Point because it was the only presentation tool they knew is now exploring Tripline. A room that began as a silent workspace now is crowded with good noise. Students are laughing AND working. One student just said “We actually need information now.” Every kid in the room is engaged. Some students have just declared that if the school pays money for a source to be in the Digital Library, it must be a good source. Hmmm. I want to butt in, but I think I will not.

When I walked in the room, it was very low energy. Now there is a healthy buzz. Thinking back to my section of this course this morning, with the same project, this is a far different atmosphere. My first instinct is to think that this is better than the quiet, serious, individually focused work that took place in my class. But that may not be the case. Students who need quiet to focus may not be getting very far with this atmosphere. At the same time, in a group project, the class time is really valuable collaboration time. Quiet work can happen in the spaces between classes.

So, what to do with this. My generally happy and energetic class has hit the doldrums with the Commodity Project. They are doing the work, but it seems to much like a chore. There was no joy in the room. Maybe it was the fact that my class met early on a Monday morning. Tuesday will tell. What can I do to restore the energy? My blog post about a colleague’s class has me thinking about mine.

Now, the boy who stepped away from the timeline software is checking out Tripline. This is working. Class is over. Wow, that hour flew by.


4 thoughts on “Fly on the Wall – Live Blog

  1. Great storytelling! My last class was all abuzz- not always about the project, but mostly. I liked your post because I became aware, once again, that I’m the student who needs quiet to function and it is sometimes hard for me to be amidst all the “noise.” I think I need to try to do mental check-ins as I watch my students work so I can keep my own focus during the “collaborative atmosphere” and let them do what they need to do in order to continue their journey.

    • Thanks for the comment. I am always thinking of the balance of trying to guide the students in spending their time and letting them make their own way through the project. It is so hard to know the balance.

  2. Hey Molly, I think the energy naturally ebbs and flows in a classroom. The classroom you described sounds so much like a Montessori classroom, where kids are directing their own work and learning from each other. Sara

  3. As always, you provide an important perspective, Sara. The energy cannot stay constant. It was just such a stark contrast today between my class and that of my colleague. They were definitely in the zone. I have been thinking a lot about flow lately,too, and what that looks like in the classroom. Truthfully, both groups could have been in the zone, just different ones.

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