Thursday, December 01, 2005

On integration ...

As the semester winds down, I'm noticing how mentally tired I am lately. I realize now that one of the reasons I don't have a chance to do anything that is truly innovative here at school is that, since I've started working here, I've been in school. Ok, I actually had a year off so that is not exactly true but, during that year, I was trying to turn this media center around and get things set to right.

*have I always talked like this? How did the local colloquialisms become such a part of my vocabulary? Yesterday, I actually said I had to have a 'come to Jesus' meeting with someone that was having an attitude problem. Wow ... I'm feeling the urge to go out and 'bang a U-ie' just to reassert my Bostonian roots.*

What I wonder is ... how do people do it all? How do they have time to be innovative and current and grow both personally and professionally and not have their head feel all explodey?

I'm playing Jeopardy with my 2nd graders this week. My version is low tech ... I write the terms on a rolling white board and group the students into teams of 2 or 3. They use dry erase lap boards for their written answers and have to work in teams to figure out the answer to the questions that I ask from the terms on the board. Teams get a point for each right answer and the team with the most right answers wins. The twist comes in the sportsmanship. If a team has sour grapes and is making fun of others that aren't doing well or starts fighting amongst themselves when they are losing, they lose points. It sounds complicated but, really it isn't. Everyone gets something and the winning team gets two somethings.

This 9 weeks, the terms are all literary: Title, Author, Illustrator, Title Page, Call letters, Dedication, Publisher, Copyright, Folk Tales, Fables, Genre, jacket, Inside Flap, Spine. These are terms that we have talked about for 3 years now (I have had these students since Kindergarten) so the kids usually do well, unless I happen to get a team that has a brain drain. Since the teams are picked randomly, though, you never know where the strong team will be.

This has worked well for me for 3 years now but I know there has to be a better way to do this, something that involves using technology in the presentation of the game ... I just haven't come up with it yet. I have a laptop now that I could hook up to an LCD projector but the presentation of the game would have to change dramatically and I'm not sure I want it to change too much unless there is a MUCH better way to do it that still incorporates all the important elements. Any Ideas??

Anyone? Anyone? Beuller??


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