27 February 2007

Teaching IT & Social Studies (pt. 1)

Here at Bingham, Grade 7 has 3 IT classes a week. Grade 8 has 3 IT classes a week. Grade 8 has 5 Social Studies classes a week. These are my core classes. I have other classes of Study Hall and computer lab supervision, and starting in March I will have a 2 hour elective course once a week, but these 3 keep me quite busy for now, as well as the video work I am doing. Each class lasts 40 minutes unless it is a double period (my Social Studies meets back to back two days a week).

Teaching the IT class is right up my alley. Instead of sticking straight to the basics, I began the term with Apple's iPhone keynote presentation. NONE of the kids have even heard of it: they went out of their minds. I have learned that changing the direction of the classes every single day is the only way to keep them from playing Macromedia Flash games and checking their email throughout the class. I am breaking the class down into general computing with an operating system, MS Office, the Net and Photo/Video. We are going to talk alot about Firefox, Apple, shortcuts, Google, Web 2.0, etc. Everything in my power to turn these kids into power-users.

The Social Studies class is somewhat trickier, but equally fascinating. There was not a full fledged syllabus waiting for me, as I anticipated. Thankfully, we are taking a 7 day trip up north in March to see all the historic sites and ruins. I have centered the class around this, and we hope to make it through the history of Ethiopia in 7 weeks. I have attempted to get the kids to focus on the fantastic, mythic lore of Ethiopian culture, but as you can imagine, it sometimes just doesnt do it for 14 year olds. Soon, the kids began towing the line, so I had no choice but to unleash a friendly quiz now and again.

I am learning alot, obviously about Ethiopian studies, but also about engaging these kids and the art of teaching. Just like other teachers have told me, some days are rich, lively, engaging. Other days are the pits. But I have received some interesting feedback in the meantime. Grade 8 nominated me to lead their Chapel, and Grade 7 students have sent me emails saying they like IT class best of their classes (for obvious reasons I'm sure). Overall, teaching Grade 7 & 8 has been exactly what Mr. Doty said it would be: invigorating.

Also, here are some new photos:
Bazaar Slideshow

Utility Update: Thankfully, our water came back on the next morning (Sunday). So we were barely out for 12 hours.

1 comment:

hippycanoeandtylertoo said...

hey minstrel mr chips, like to hear about your teaching experiences and methods...and the wikpedia link also.

see you soon