Teaching is no different. We have a 9+ month season, 180 days in length, to reel in the most from our students and expose them to the very best instruction that we can offer. There are good days. Man, those days are awesome. Show up to class, everything works, kids want to learn, technology cooperates, the kids "get it", and you all leave happy. Then there are all of the other days where we are doing everything we can to motivate and inspire our students to care, delve deeper, and be as passionate about the content as we are. So, for the non-18/180 days, it's an uphill battle.
We recently began a student BYOD pilot program in my classroom. Surprisingly, most of my students have an iOS device that they can use to communicate and interact with the content, their classmates, and their instructor (me). As you can imagine, the buy-in once the network was opened to student devices has gone through the roof. The problem? The roof isn't high enough. The walls aren't wide enough.
As with most traditional K-12 school districts in the United States, we will begin our winter break on the 21st (we're not letting the Mayan calendar deter us from getting a quality education). Even though the classes have been going strong through their algebra curriculum, they're unusually excited. I have had multiple (and by multiple, I'm talking >20) students ask if we're going to have homework over the break. My answer has been yes & no.
Yes, class, you will have homework. No, class, it's not like anything you've ever done. Using Edmodo, ShowMe, Educreations, GoogleVoice, and Google Drive, students will be "checking in" twice a week. Instead of going into algebraic hibernation for two weeks, these kids are excited (no really, it's weird, I know) to check in with me over the break. For the first check-in, the students will write a post to me that explains two of the exponent rules (our current standard). It's easy enough, yet requires the student to reflect on what we've done and prove that there is still retention.I'll keep you posted, but this has to easily be the most awesome feeling as a teacher. What walls?