That’s how you become great. A bit on the NSFW side, but the basic theory holds. As John Shedd mused: A ship in harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.
So this week I received an email from a new colleague.
I’m down. Anything for the team. And seriously, anybody that intentional about getting better at teaching is my brother.
Truthfully: for a second, I wasn’t sure. I’m new here. My fellow teachers are really, really good. I have nothing to hide, but still. What if he comes in here and I’m actually terrible? What if my kids pick today to regress to middle-school?
But several members of my online PLN are all-in for the #ObserveMe movement credited to Robert Kaplinsky. There’s a whole lot of aweseome, risk-taking teachers putting, uh, themselves out there. So yeah, come take a look. Tell me what you see, good and bad.
Maybe that’s a bit selfish on my part. I mean, I want to know what my colleagues think of my work. And I want to share all the awesomeness of the #MTBoS and the “Classroom Chef” mentality with all my fellow teachers. But it does take two – someone willing to invite, and someone willing to accept. That happened this week….. aaaaaand they’re off.
The plan for the day? A Desmos activity. On phones. First time on the small screen. So, kiddies: let’s find out together. (As an aside, we are headed towards a BYOD 1:1 environment so we are encouraged to begin piloting this school year. The carts in the math department are spoken for, so taking a page from one of my favorite risk-taking teachers, I scouted out a Desmos activity that I thought would work well on the small screen, logged in as a student to test it out, saw what I needed to see, and decided to let it ride.)
As for the activity: Awesome formative – I knew what they knew (and didn’t know) right away. Although I’m not sure how much of that had to do with math knowledge and how much was related to navigating the slides, especially on ther phones.
The “Wait And See” mode that students love: off. Instead of waiting for me to write stuff down, then copying it, the students, working in pairs, had to think through the questions and come up with answers. Win!
Still a little off task. Not as much of a win!
(I think students are way more tempted to play around on their own phones than on school-issued devices. Also, it’s easier for me to see who’s playing around on a bigger screen.)
Interest definitely waned at the end. But that’s on me. The end of the activity is a word problem, which is like hand-delivering a kryptonite sandwich to class. So would I do it again? Yeah, if it’s the only way to get them doing Desmos activities, phones are better than nothing. But in a perfect world?
Next time: get the cart.
And: Oh yeah. Observe Me.