What I have found this week is that some of the dynamics in the classes have changed dramatically. We have had a new group of 5 students move into the village from Anchorage. They are siblings who are all in the same class, which has doubled the class sizes for the 4-6 grades. They have been here for a week and things have been steadily going down hill. They are not interested in anything I present them with and the worst of all is that it is rubbing off on my original group. The original group loved the word tools we were using in class, but now there are some bumps in the road. The indifference is not isolated to the ELA class I’m teaching, but across the board. Yesterday was the low point as I and the two other teachers I work with had to focus on classroom management. Needless to say these students are quite unhappy about their situation both at home and at school.
I think this week’s data will have to be sifted a bit before I can arrive at a true representation of what is going on with my research because of variables beyond my control. Things were fine up until Wednesday. This is when I noticed a downward turn in attitude. Before this, however, we were moving right along and the use of the technology and tools a fun and meaningful activity for everyone. I plan to implement some more comprehensive tactics to get things back on track this next week.
On a positive note, I have been working with our K-2 class teaching phonics, reading and writing. We have been relying exclusively on the Saxon curriculum for this, which has been going well thus far. This last week I was able to put an older Mac computer in the classroom and set up a computer station and started using a couple cool websites to enhance the phonics and reading instruction. The best one I have found so far is Starfall Education (http://www.starfall.com) there are others that we can use as well. Another website that we have been toying with is ABC Mouse (http://www.abcmouse.com). Although I have been looking for free digital tools this one has a 30-day free use option. If it works well the school may be able to purchase a subscription.
As far as research goes and my original research question I am hoping to salvage the work done with the older kids and stick with my plan. However, I am thinking of modifying the scope of my research question to add in the K-2 class, but with the same parameters for the research focus put forth at the beginning.
Starfall Education. (2002–2012). Retrieved from http://www.starfall.com
Age of Learning, Inc. (2007-2013). Retrieved from http://www.abcmouse.com