Tuesday, November 25, 2008

reports from a sorta-sub

Mrs. Teasher,

Are you tan?

Even though a substitute was in your room, we agreed that I would be in your classes as they worked on their research / multi-media projects. Here's my report:

Your C block worked quite assiduously (I rarely get to use that word). They created Google Docs so they could work on their scripts and storyboards outside of class without having to deal with emailing a file.

They gathered their research, but they had some questions along the way. One that kept popping up was, 'do we need to use the ten images in our video?' followed by, 'and if not, then why do we need them?'. I told them to help add some concrete understanding / visual anchors to their study. I think they rolled their eyes. A limb fell off. It was all quite creepy.

I implored / urged that in the development of their storyboards they have a lot of shots; that a minute's worth of video should probably look to have, minimum 25-30 shots. 'Our eyeballs be bored,' I told them.

Groups are like, totally like, hung up on the we-can't-use-people-in-the-video thing and it really, like really seemed to confuse and anger them. I noticed an effigy. There were some students who told their peers, 'get over it and move on', but they were deemed losers and shunned.

They know that they have to bring scripts / storyboards / props December 1 for the beginning of filming. I have a sense that some groups are thinking, 'oh, we don't need to bring that b/c our teacher will have it.' They are adamant about the fact that you have gavels and robes. Is that how you roll? If so, fine, it's just judicially skeevy.

And now...

D block...

Two groups finished, like finished. Everything done, time to spare, used time appropriately, focused, and what not. Connor and Madeline's groups represent the two completed. To note: Frank did awesome work. On Tuesday, he spent the better part of an hour insuring that audio and video tracks aligned. I didn't get to watch it yet, and it could be smelly and fetid, but he clearly took a lot of ownership over the project and deserves some kudos, if not granola.

"The Group" lived up to their predominantly vowel-inscribed educational tag...something with an I and an E, perhaps a P. They made mountains out of mole hills. They made Rubik's Cubes out of Munchkins. They made the Eagles look good. They blamed every aspect of technology for their lack of completion, but I'd blame their happy-go-lucky button-pressing fingers; fingers that pressed and pressed button after button without a moment's thought as to the consequences. I think they bombed Guam.

Unfinished groups claimed that they didn't finish because they were penalized for only having three group members. Groups of four that didn't finish, well, they bombed Guam. I'm not sure what their excuses were. They waved flags.

In the final three minutes on Tuesday (class, not the calendar day), unfinished groups first presumed amongst themselves, then decided to presume in front of me, that I would stay after school so they could finish. And while my heart is nowhere near three sizes too small, it is encapsulated in a tiny 5'7" frame. I shall not stay, not today, no way, you'll all have to find another way. Rhymes aside, the Instructional Aide and I felt that students had been giving plenty of time.

Yes, computers froze periodically, but nowhere near the debilitating frequency that I'm sure you'll hear about upon your return. In truth, the Instructional Aide, the substitute, and I told students almost every minute to 'Save! Save! Save!'.

The two groups that did finish followed that three-pronged platform of advice.

One group still needed to take photos on the last day because they didn't realize that their video needed to cover all aspects of the assignment sheet. This group, I think of three, made the three-person handicap excuse.

None of the groups were able to delineate tasks out to each other, so I took the initiative on this and let them know that while some people edit images, other people could be on another computer recording their script. This was an earth-shattering moment in their lives. Someone fainted.

While completion is key, students did work; not as focused as their C block counterparts, but I'd give the whole group a 7 out of 10 for effort. And an 8.5 out of 10 for exceptionally dark-colored clothing choices. There were slackers and such. Clearly, they're a part of our societal fabric. Hell, even movies have been made about them. Knocked Up! Dazed and Confused! Classics, one and all.

Pale and land-locked,


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