Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Rules

The Rules

I was brought back to thinking about my experience as a computer room teacher this summer. Technically I suppose I could also have been thought of as the Assistant Principal for the ARRA Summer Program. But for the most part I was running the computer lab. This post by Chris Lehmann caught my eye. I know I’m like 10 posts behind on his blog, I’ve been busy. 

I think I showed the computer rules in a post last week. They caught my eye for two reasons. First I was led to believe that rules are more effective if you present them in a positive way. Instead of No Cellphones, it could be presented as Cell phones are to be used during free periods only. Second, I had one rule at the start of the summer, “if you think its wrong it is, and if you don’t know what Iis wrong you should not be here.”

I did have to remind some students to sign in and get to work when class started. I did have to split up some students. And I did boot one student from the room, actually a classroom teacher did, but I supported him.

By the second week students in all but one class came in and got to work without prompting. Even that one class were merely waiting for me to tell them to get to work. I guess they felt more comfortable with the teacher giving out orders. I had several students come into class during breaks and work, though more came in to play. In the mornings I had as many as 12 students show up to school before I did to use the computers.

When I didn’t bust the early students for using proxy sites to evade the school filters I had fewer of them show up early the next morning. As far as I could tell they were either going to video games or songs with poor taste in lyrics. I had a lot of fun sneaking up behind students who were off task and waiting for them to notice me. Usually, they noticed when the students around them couldn’t stop laughing. By the last week in summer school, six weeks.  figured if nobody had a heart attack the students would have loved it. Then by the third week I could project student computers onto the wall and they could monitor themselves. I don’t know how effective it would have been, but it would have been fun.

How did our students do? By the end of the six weeks all students had finished the assigned computer curriculum, a math supplement. At least 4 had finished so early we created custom curriculum for them. One student even started working on math two years above grade level.

As for test scores well let’s just saw they went up a mile and not once did we do any sort of test prep work.

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