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.