Mentally Taxed

Yesterday I introduced Google Classroom to my students.  It was hit or miss.  Mostly miss.  Students were able to log in.  But when accessing the assignment, it opened up for some but not others.  I deleted and reloaded the assignment on two occasions between periods to try to fix that issue.  But what happened is…is that some classes still had the non-working assignment, others had the new and improved one…and here’s the catch…Classroom then created a [template] in my Classroom folder of that assignment.  What.the.heck?

I was so frustrated with Classroom by the end of the day that I didn’t know what I was going to do today.  I posted a question in the G+Classroom community last night and received several responses over the past 24 hours.  This is what I love about educators…they are so willing to share their insight, experience, and suggestions.  =)

I thought today was going to be a new day.  I had made up my mind to use gClass folders because what I find to be the most powerful aspect about the whole Google suite is the collaborative portion.  Classroom pushes out assignments to each student, but I prefer to have them talking, working, arguing, corroborating…all skills of a historian.

It wasn’t that easy.  I changed the response destination for the GoogleForm entries (GAFE Sign-Ups).  And for the life of me, I couldn’t find the entries anywhere.  It was the weirdest thing.  Actually it was the most frustrating thing.  Good thing that my students are able to already work independently and problem-solve technical issues with their iPads.  Because I could not handle one more thing.

I solved the issue by creating a completely new GoogleForm.  Things started to go pretty smoothly by 4th period.  Students were logging in to Classroom via Chrome.  They were able to “Turn In” the assignment.  I could see their work in progress.  Life was good.

Until 5th period.

Google Classroom decided that it didn’t want to work.  We tried Chrome.  We tried Safari.  Google itself worked.  Just not Google Classroom.  I had maybe six students who were able to log in to work on the assignment.  The rest?  Well, bless their hearts.  They were so patient and sweet.  I was so proud of them.  Because in my head, I was losing it again.  It put me right back to Period 2 when NOTHING worked.  I had already taken something for my headache.  Did I mention that it was also in the high 90s?  And that I don’t have air-conditioning?  This is why I was so proud of my students.   We were melting…and GClassroom wasn’t helping the stress level…

And then 6th period started.  Classroom decided to play nice.  Students were logging in through Safari and Chrome.  They were completing the assignment, I was watching their progress in Drive.  Most were able to turn it in.  Life was finally back on track.

I can’t explain technology.  I can’t explain why it works during one period and not the next.  I don’t know why some students are unable to log in to the GAFE account even when selecting the “Add Account” option.  It’s weird.  It’s odd.  And it’s completely frustrating.

Having said all that…I’m not giving up.  I already ran the gClass script for my kiddoes.  The Spread of Islam (Movement) assignment had already been distributed to the appropriate Tables and Periods.  We just need technology to cut us some slack.  We’ve lost almost two days of instruction due to technical issues with Google and Google Classroom.  It’s time to get back on track.  Both with technology and our pacing.

Learning is an Adventure!

So Year 2 with 1:1 iPads has officially begun.  It’s been a rough start.  I can’t update my iPads…in fact, five of my iPads are no longer working because those were the ones I was trying to update.  But luckily enough for me, my principal let me “borrow” five iPads from another cart…which means that all of my students have their own iPad to use in class, every.single.day.  =)

The first learning tool I shared with my students is Edmodo.  They are slowly learning how Edmodo can be used to connect with peers in other classes, how Edmodo can help with their homework questions, and how Edmodo is really just a lot of fun.  =)

The second learning tool I shared with my students is Popplet.  Today they were introduced to the basic features of Popplet.  As usual, I let them simply have time “to play”…to get to know the app…to find out things on their own.  And do you know the craziest thing?  One of my students discovered that if you took a picture (in his case, a selfie), uploaded it to Popplet, that you could actually draw on yourself.  And if you know anything about middle-schoolers, they’ll take any and every opportunity to take a selfie and then draw on themselves.  It’s the weirdest phenomena, but one of the reasons why I love teaching middle school.

Needless to say, I’m really looking forward to tomorrow when my kiddoes will take what they learned about identifying human and physical characteristics of Arabia and put that learning on a Popplet.  To add a layer of depth, my students will also have to include textual evidence.  We are going full speed ahead: technology + creativity + writing literacy.  It’s going to be a great year!