Sitting at my desk after school, I think back on the speed bumps in our day.
The child that talks off task.
For one, Jenny needs to stop talking off task.
Do I email mom and let her know? Absolutely not. We all know teachers don't have time or energy to email parents every time a student like Jenny talks off task.
Do I take away her ability to talk with her classmates? Of course not. That is part of the assignment.
So what do I do? I walk over to her and remind her that her conversation needs to be focused on writing a narrative lead, and not on her soccer game tonight. We talk about expectations and rules, and why we have them.
The kid who wont study in math.
Next kid up, Johnnie. Johnnie is a sweet boy, but cannot figure out his math times tables regardless of how many times I ask him to study. Basically, career ending for a 5th grader.
Do I email mom and let her know? No. Telling mom to make him memorize math isn't going to make him work any faster.
Do I take away his math practice work because he refuses to study? Of course not. How will he learn math if he doesn't practice?
So what do I do? I set up a plan for Johnnie to learn his multiplication facts on a weekly basis, something manageable for a 5th grade kid. We talk about expectations and rules, and why we have them.
The constant note passer.
Dear sweet Johanna. Jenna passes notes. Everyday. And I catch her. Everyday.
Do I call mom? No. It won't make her appreciate learning any more.
Do I take away her pencil? Heavens no. And why not? Because how is she supposed to get her work done without it?
We spend time talking about our goals for the class period; we discuss the purpose of learning. We talk about expectations and rules, and why we have them.
The inappropriate google searcher, meme creator, airdrop note passer
And my last kid. Jeremiah. Mistake after mistake on his iPad. Google searching Selena Gomez, creating his own meme with me, his lovely teacher, as his muse, and airdropping notes to his buddies in the classroom next door, only to have it airplay on the students iPad on the front screen.
Do I call him mom? No.
Do I take away his iPad? NO.
Why, in the name of all things good and holy, do we take away a child's device the second they are not showing good digital citizenship? Where is their opportunity to learn how to handle their mistakes? Where is their instant opportunity to make better choices?
Why would I take away a device?
That's where the learning happens.
We teach students that mistakes are the pathway to learning. That you can't succeed if you don't fail. Every year, we show the video about famous failures and the new TED talk about grit.
Then, when students need opportunities to learn from their mistakes on technology the most, we take away their opportunity to make good choices, to learn from their mistakes.
If student's cant learn digital citizenship from YOU with understanding and grace, then who CAN they learn it from?
Holly Mecher. ADE. Runner. Life-long lover of books. Google Certified Educator.