Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Oh no! New Computers!


Today my classroom got two new computers. They were gorgeous Macs with thin LCD screens and all the trimmings. Like two magic guardians of knowledge and power, they stood dauntingly in the corner. And these wonderful machines of technology created the worst full-class riot I’ve witnessed to date.

Please recall that in November the computers were removed from the class because students ripped them apart. Now, the computers are back, and the class has taken leave of their senses. Students pulling keyboards out of other students hands, rap videos blaring from Yahoo music with scantily clad dancers shaking their be-thonged behinds. A seven students brawl with spine-cracking body throws towards the computer table. Class work was ignored out of hand, and a crowd three person deep ringed the Magic Boxes. Madness and chaos. And that was even before they learned Myspace was blocked out.

I warned them. “Away from the computer guys, we have work to do.”

Ignored.

“Log out the computer now.”

I didn’t even exist.

“Off, now. Don’t make me turn bitch.”

I got a chuckle or two, but all eyes were on the student who had googled an image search on weed.

I yanked the two plugs and faced a sea of angry eyes.

“No one uses the computers until we have a conversation.” I said to the livid and disbelieving teenagers. I went to the chalkboard, wrote “Computer Rules,” and we talked, as a class about rules that would be fair to both teacher and students when it came time to use the computer. I’m proud that the students themselves came up with more than half the rules, like 15 minute limit, and if two people fight over a computer they both lose a turn. I transferred the ruled from board to chart paper and invested in a log in book for students to put names and times they started.

Above all I stressed that students who finish work have first priority over the computers. With five weeks left in the school year, I’m still finding ways to manipulate the students into completing work.

6 Comments:

Blogger Ms V said...

I'm a big fan of your blog, especially aftering accepting enrollment into the NYCTF. You seem to have your hard times but above all you persevere. Thanks for having somewhere to look for as a guidance.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007 2:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Schoolgal said...

I think the students appreciated the fact that they were given an opportunity to take part in the rules. This gave them a fair sense of "ownership" rather than being told. And, it also showed respect for you.
(You may have to block some sites.)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007 4:14:00 PM  
Blogger beth said...

Ah manipulating the students... Love it! It only took me *counts up* eight months to get to the "stand outside the door and shake it off" stage with one of the kids. Should have tried that AGES ago...it actually seemed to work!!

When classes start back are you M/W or T/R?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007 4:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Laura said...

I must have unwittingly stumbled into Teacher Heaven when I got my job--I cannot IMAGINE such a scene happening. My students are often afraid to even ASK if they can use the computer.

At least order was established.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007 9:11:00 PM  
Blogger mak said...

love your blog - i'm getting ready for training for the mid-year nyctf program. i've tried to keep up with a ton of nyctf-first-year-teacher blogs, and think your motivations seem some of the most sincere, and your articulation of experiences some of the best balanced. i hope i can be as level-headed as you!

Friday, August 17, 2007 3:46:00 PM  
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