Sunday, September 27, 2015

Need this Blog to Jog my Memory and Poor Bandwidth



As I was getting ready to plan for the teaching of the research process to our 6th grade students, I remembered that I had changed my game plan last year. Since my brain has been aging, it is harder for me to know what I did last week much less how I taught something last year. I did remember that I had written a detailed account of what I did with this lesson on this blog. So I conducted a search to find the post, and you can read about it here. By reading my blog entry from last year, I saw that we had deconstructed the research process to start with the bibliography. The teachers and I decided to get that out of the way first.

Before the day of the lesson, I reviewed my slide show that you can see below. I did some editing and took out tasks that I thought weren't necessary and added some slides at the end to be more specific about explaining how to create a word document out of the bibliography that was created in Easy.bib. I have found that I never redo a lesson exactly as I did it the year before. I always try to reflect on how it went and try to make improvements for the students. Also, in a year's time the technology could change, and I have to change my game plan accordingly.

6th grade ELA Easybib project for Flush from Taylorlibrarian

I love using the technology to create and share a lesson because then it is saved for future use, but I can also easily update and edit the lesson but still use the same link that I shared with teachers and students in years past. Also, if I make a mistake and need to edit immediately (which happens to me frequently), I don't need to resend the presentation to everyone. I can just edit and upload the edited slide show into Slideshare using the same link. This also works well if I am using a different tool like Wikispaces or Livebinders to create my lesson. 

Let me tell you how the lesson went this year. Not so great. This wasn't a librarian or teacher or even student error. It was an issue with the Internet and bandwidth and speed of loading the technology. I like this lesson because I can explain and demonstrate relatively quickly what the students need to do. Then the students are given the task of creating a bibliography with six sources, formatting the bibliography in Word and submitting the final product to the teacher. The students should be able to do this  by the end of the period. All of our classes are on a block schedule, so we had 90 minutes to get this completed. We did it last year, and I thought it was doable this year. As I tried to demonstrate to the students what they needed to do, we were waiting and waiting and waiting for the Gale databases to load. I was losing the class. Finally, when it was their turn, they experienced the same loading issues. Of the six sources that the students needed to find, two were in print. Those were easy. The online sources were torture for me and for the members of the class. The teacher asked the students to finish the activity for homework. She said that they did a good job with the assignment, but I was disappointed that it wasn't completed in class. I was also disappointed that I had to stand there and wait for the sites to slowly load--it wastes so much time. 

I worry about what will happen when I teach a lesson tomorrow to the English I students. In that lesson, I have selected the articles and chapter pages in Gale for the students to read. They will not be doing any independent research. I am hoping that what happened last week was an anomaly and that tomorrow we can move through the teaching portion of the lesson quickly and that the students will have plenty of time to read the articles that I have selected for them. 

Update added on October 1st: I was able to repeat this lesson yesterday, and it went so smoothly that the students completed their bibliography with 30 minutes left in the period. That meant that they had time to check in and check out books. I was so happy to know that the slow Internet was an anomaly. 

4 comments:

  1. Elizabeth, I am with you, girl! I need reminders, never teach the same way twice, and am frustrated when technology is not my friend. Frustration for students and staff create more stress! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I have been around a long time, and I remember dial up. That was excruciating in a school setting, but a lot of money has been spent on our wireless network. It should work when we need it.

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  2. Last year, our 7th graders BROKE Google. Ok, of course they didn't, but it went down at school because of server issues, and it was a mess. I ALWAYS have a nontech back up. I think our tech doesn't work more often than it works.

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    1. We are a 1:1 laptop school, the only one in our district. The tech should work. Yes, you are right about the need for nontech backup, but I sure wish that wasn't needed.

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