Two weeks ago, I drove to Turpin High School in order to observe and talk with Tricia Buck. We had an interesting discussion about the use of technology in the classroom. Tricia and I had a lot in common, but this week was different. I was going to observe Rose Arnell and I really didn't know what to expect when I drove to Nagel Middle School and walked among the 7th and 8th graders. What I didn't realize before my trip to Nagel was that I had met Rose before. My first year at Anderson was her daughter, Iris', last year at Anderson. Iris was in my homeroom my first year. Also, last year, her son, Shane, was on my freshmen baseball team. So when I walked into the classroom I recognized her as the woman cheering for her son.
Rose does some fascinating things in her classroom. She teaches students with high IQs, but what is interesting is the variety that she has in her classroom. She has students who are more articulate than my 11th graders, but in the same room she has students with aspergers who struggle with social situations.
Her classroom is set up with the capability for the students to work one-on-one. The students at this time are working on a project in which they are making documentaries. I'm not sure how long Rose was going to give the students for the project, but it I would have to think that they would need at least two weeks. The students were early on in their project. Currently they were watching and picking choosing clips from hours of footage.
I spent a couple of hours with Rose. I spent the first class observing the students, talking with the students, and discussing their assignments. The second hour we spent talking about technology. It seems that we both have the same difficulties with the students. Students rush through their assignments. I hate the fact that students complete an assignment, but they don't put enough effort into it. Rose said something interesting, "I'm more interested in the process." I find this to be crucial and difficult. The problem with being interested in the process is that the students do not care about the process; they just want the final product. We finished the observation with sharing some of the successful tools that she has used in the classroom.
Rose is doing a lot of good with her use of technology in the classroom. I walked away from her classroom with a since of where technology can take the students.