Let’s start with a poll:
When I came home yesterday, I immediately noticed footprints leading to the front door. We hardly use the front door, so we don’t shovel to it. Maywood Man has enough to do with plowing and there’s no reason for me to shovel a walk that no one ever uses. There has been snow upon snow all month, so we’re just waiting for spring to deal with it. Hence, my surprise at the footprints. UPS knows better.
It was my brother-in-law, come to check out locations for tree stands for next year’s hunting season. Tromping through the snowy woods in March must mean he’s going a little squirrely indoors. However, he didn’t count on our driveway being a sheet of ice. That’s another thing about March this year. If isn’t snowing, it’s coating us with freezing rain. So Jim and his truck slid down the driveway to within inches of the Weber grill that waits forlornly for warmer weather. And then he was stuck at the bottom of the driveway with nothing to do after his woodland walk but sit with Maywood Man sipping coffee until the driveway melted.
Where was I? At work. With some difficulty and great trepidation, my Camry and I made it up the slippery slope so that I could go to school and manage squirrely teenagers and their Ipads.
I had a parent conference at noon. The mother shared that her daughter seems to get overwhelmed by too much stimulus. It’s not that she can’t focus. She just can’t figure out where to focus. I totally get it. I told her about my sister, the one with Attention Surplus Syndrome. (You gotta love the acronym!) She pays attention to everything. Try riding in the car with her while she drives, notices every realtor sign, and avoids every manhold cover and pothole in the road. She needs blinders, like a horse.
So what am I supposed to tell this mother whose daughter sits in a class with audio files and video clips and online text and online workbook and online classwork submission all in different apps while doing partner work with classmates who can’t even figure out that I want them on page 152? She doesn’t need more stimulating activities. She needs blinders. I explain that the technology of the paperless classroom is actually helpful for those students who lose all their work in a crumpled mess at the bottom of their bookbags or somewhere in the hallway or maybe under their bed at home, but even as I speak, I know that often I am completely overwhelmed by the “too much” of it all. The mom and I can’t even get our days straight as we talk…the umpteen snowdays have the two of us completely befuddled.
Today, while it pours snow, I ponder remedial work for some students. There are so many resources available to the students online that they did not have last year. I search for something that will be helpful. One auto-correcting activity will not work with pop-ups on the Ipad. Another has so many publisher errors in it, that I will not use it. I discover video activities. I regularly use these in class with paper handouts, but–voila!– all the resources are right there on the Ipad!
I click on the video pages to discover that the video activity link does not contain video activities. It contains all the teacher answers to the workbook.
I’ve spent the afternoon spinning my wheels online. I’m thinking that I need less. I need slow.
I like the idea of sitting by the fire with a spinning wheel, simple work. A manual task that is repetitive and yields a tangible product. If I’m lucky, I’ll prick my finger and a magic spell will let me sleep for a hundred years.