BulgingButtons

Not bad for a fat girl


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Online Learning and Procrastination

51zS47EOayL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgMy son and I are both taking online courses at the moment. His is an intense, college level math course. Mine is a self-paced book study for professional development credits. We both tend to be procrastinators. Here’s what’s happening.

My course was supposed to start during my Spring Break, back in March, but the questions weren’t ready. I thought I would read the book, answer a few questions, and be done. Not so.

I read the book (The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion), and frankly enjoyed it, but still the questions weren’t available. I read it as a digital library loan, and others were waiting for it, so naturally I had to return it. Well, then the questions were posted. By this time I was back to school, and my time was far more limited. Still, I read through the questions and was shocked to find that there were 22 of them! Oh, and some of the questions required additional reading. Hey, wait a minute… nobody said anything about that at the beginning of the book study!

I ordered a copy of the book because there was no way I could answer the questions without a paper copy of it in front of me for reference. I got the book, put it in an easily noticeable spot, and carried on with my life, forgetting all about the book study.

Fortunately for me, the moderator sent out an email not too long ago reminding everyone that the book study was wrapping up at the end of May. Yikes!

Okay, I told myself, you have the last week of May off. School is out and summer work hasn’t begun. You can do this!

Well, so far so good. Last night I stayed up until almost 3 am answering questions that I could easily recall and find support for in the text. Those requiring more careful rereading and reading additional texts are still awaiting my responses. I’m about a third of the way done, and I’m sure I’ll complete it in time. At least that’s what I say now.

Deep down, however, I know I’m a procrastinator. I know that I’ll probably get down to the wire on this one. And I’ll probably scold myself for it, too.  Sad, but true.

Anyway, I’m a fan of online learning for the flexibility it allows, but it worries me because it allows you to put off your work until you’re in a position where it’s do or die. Those deadlines come and go, and if your work isn’t submitted, too bad.

My son, fortunately, seems to have figured this out more quickly than I have. He’s really surprised me. Every day he takes over my desk with his computer and his math book and he does his work. I sometimes wonder if this is really the same kid who never seemed to do homework in high school (but really, he did, I swear it). I can’t complain, whatever he’s doing is working, so I should probably change my ways and try to be more like him.

It seems that the student has become the teacher. I’m okay with that, I really am.


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Greek Mythology Like Never Before

67a1408b76d203375d97ad21f6a535a9.jpgMy fourth grade students have been studying Greek Mythology over the past few weeks, and it’s been so much fun. I’ve taught this content before, of course, but never quite this in depth, and never with some of the techniques we’ve been using. Boy, what a difference!

Some of the changes this time around:

  • more versions of the same myth (in particular Hercules’ Quest: when we view the Disney film it will be the fourth version we’ll examine)
  • more myths (Psyche & Eros, Arachne, Medusa, and others)
  • incorporating drama into our study (tableaux of various scenes, forcing students to deeply explore the characters’ feelings and actions)
  • incorporating more art into our study (resulting in some wonderful projects)
  • allowing students to not only choose various ways of expressing their learning, but letting them create the various choices (and they were so much more engaged in the activities they designed themselves)

Just spending more time in Ancient Greece has been so beneficial to the students. They’re seeing recurring themes including jealousy, vanity, bravery, and sacrifice. They’re drawing parallels between characters and stories and they’re becoming quite knowledgable.

As an added bonus, the Rick Riordan books (the Percy Jackson series) have been flying off the library shelves, as have the other mythology books. The students are excited!

I’m so pleased with their enthusiasm and their level of commitment to their work. I believe we’re building a strong foundation for future learning as they’re developing a love of these ancient tales. I don’t know if this work will show up in the form of growth on their end of year standardized tests, but I know it’s beneficial. For that reason, I’m feeling successful and yes, a little bit proud. I can’t help but feel a bit like Zeus on Mt. Olympus, looking down at the mortals with affection and feeling pleased with their successes.


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Procrastination Strikes Again

procrastinator.jpgHere it is, Sunday night, the night that teachers around the world (or at least my world) dread.

Once again the weekend slipped by too quickly and all the things I PLANNED to do are still undone. All the work things, anyway.

Oh, there isn’t that much, only a couple of hours worth.

What? You don’t have a couple of hours of work to do on the weekend? Lucky you.

No worries, though, I’ll get the most critical stuff done and work my way through the rest of it during the week. You see, I’m that kind of teacher. The kind that stays late most nights. The kind that stays up too late so I can enjoy my family. The kind that agonizes over exactly how much detail I’m going to require on a particular assignment. Basically, the average teacher.

This average teacher, however, is a terrible procrastinator, which is why I need to log off of here and go get my work done. After all, school starts in less than twelve hours! Have a good week, everyone.