I started out the lesson thinking I was ready. Charts made. Devices charged. I was taking students to the next step in the argument writing process. We had been slow and methodical. They were ready.
After the lesson, I picked up my notes. I wanted to check in with those students who had evidence stated as a reason.
Then I hear it. It sounds like drowning. “Mrs. Harmatz….”
“I can’t get into my Google Doc.”
“L. translated his doc into Spanish, and he can’t figure out how to get it back to English.”
“Mrs. Harmatz, my document isn’t here!”
These are the sounds of my classroom writing with technology.
Some of the problems I work through. Some of them I can’t. I call our tech guy. He explains the problem, but there is no solution for my students now.
I shift the unconnected to reading, assuring them they can write during the reading workshop.
Meanwhile, L. is now working in English and F. has found his document. A. started completely over because she just understood the difference between reasons and evidence and T. is off in his interpretation of the work. I think he’s writing the text of debate.
I collect my thoughts again and move towards my intended conferences.
Tap, tap, tap. “Mrs. Harmatz, I have a stomach ache.”
Out of the corner of my eye I see M. leaving his iPad on the floor to get a mentor text. W. just misses it while fetching a new keyboard.
Technology and children create a sizable amount of unpredictable.
As much as I appreciate the value of the combination, today I wondered about the mix. I know they need to use it. That there is a learning curve. That tools like Google docs improve students’ ability to revise and edit. But on days like this one, I have a moment or two of wishing for the pen and paper.
And then I remember, the translated and missing documents would be permanently missing, and P., working in the corner with the voice activated mode, would not be writing at all.
I finally sit with down to talk about reasons and evidence and tap, tap, tap. I turn, ready to remind students not to interrupt conferences.
“Mrs. Harmatz, K has something to tell you.”
“I figured out how to get into those Google docs you can’t access. You just click on the file folder in the corner.”
“Seriously?!” I say. Then she shows me. “Brilliant! You are brilliant! Tell everyone what you discovered.”
“I can help!” says L.
“Please and thank you,” I say.
Teaching with Tech requires constant adjustment, because of the unexpected. The problems are different, but the unexpected element remains the same.
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers for the Slice of Life Challenge. Read more slices here.