One of Those Days

Thursday, April 17, 2008 | , | 1 comments »

Did you ever have one of those days when you felt tired or exhausted before the students even showed up? Today was one of those days for me. For some reason, I was somewhat irritable from the start. Talkative children didn't help the situation, especially the ones who like to have directions repeated several times before they even consider following them. When I'm tired, I take it out on some of the kids. I know, it's wrong, but in some ways, if they would have just listened in the first place, the small problem would have stayed a small problem. So I guess I'm blaming them.

Another thing that didn't go so well was a particular project I'm working on with second and third graders. It's called the Monster Project. For this project, which I heard about through Twitter (I think), students are to draw a monster. We're using KidPix, as are some of the other classes. After that, students are to write descriptive sentences about their monsters. Then, you swap writing with another class and each student tries to draw a monster based on the other student's writing. After the monsters are drawn, you compare pictures. If the student does a good job describing the monster, the pictures should be pretty close. This sounded like a cool project that was relatively simple. My second and third graders love to play with KidPix so I thought, what the heck, let's give it a whirl. I threw out an email to the second and third grade teachers to see if there was any interest and there was - great!

While we are still in the early stages of the project, drawing our monsters, I've come to the conclusion that I did a horrible job getting this project underway. Now, things can be fixed, but I made a couple of huge mistakes early on. Here's what I did:

1. Started the project with 3 of the 5 classes when I was gone. Yes, like an idiot, I left directions with a substitute. The kids did okay, projects were saved correctly but......

2. My directions/guidelines for drawing monsters sucked, leaving some pretty sucky monsters out there. Not anyone's fault but my own. One positive note about teaching is that if a lesson doesn't go well one day, you can always reteach it the next. Unfortunately for me, the next lesson doesn't occur until the next week. Today was the next week.

3. Assumed the KidPix skills of my students were actually decent. Hey, I've let them "play" with KidPix quite a bit. I severely overestimated their skills.

Today marked the day when we started to correct many of my early mistakes with this project. After redescribing (is that a word?) the project to the students and explaining better the directions for drawing the monsters, the kids started producing some pretty neat work. We are about 70% done with the monsters. Once they are done, I have to load all of those onto the wikispace for this project. That's going to take some time, but hey, it's all for the kids. The teachers are going to work on the writing part in their classrooms, so I can't really screw that up too much. This is a simple, yet neat project that our students will be doing for the first time. Unfortunately, things started off on the wrong foot. I just hope it ends on the right one!


  1. Kerrie Gustin // April 21, 2008 at 1:05 PM  

    Hmmm, I was a bit grumpy myself that day. Must have been something in the atmosphere. I must admit that I have been so busy blogging and doing a communities wiki project with my
    2nd graders, that I hadn't gotten around to working with KidPix the way I had intended. Your Monster Project has inspired me to give it a go before summer pounces upon us. Thanks to your post, I am forearmed to avoid some of the pitfalls, and can't wait to get back into the lab tomorrow morning.
    By the way, thanks for leaving a comment on my blog - I'm not sure I would have found you otherwise.

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