Friday, 1 February 2013

Not in my classroom

Yesterday I left for school feeling charged and ready.  I had started this blog to travel the journey's and frustrations of using technology in the classroom.  I was pumped to for my new idea of literature circles done on a blog.  Pumped about using picmonkey.  Pumped about devices in the classroom.

Brakes were applied suddenly when I found out we had a case of a misuse of technology.  One of the students uploaded a video of our class during break.  The video had a damaging and offensive title.  Innocent students were in the background.  The video displayed what could be a case of bullying behavior.

I felt sick.

How could this have happened?  How can I justify to parents that technology is a tool for education when something so devastating happened.  I struggled with this all day.

I was encouraged by other teachers to discontinue the use of personal devices in the classroom.

There was a huge part of me that couldn't argue.  Yet there is another part of me that questioned that as well.
If one of my student's stabbed another in the hand with a pen would I ban the use of all personal pens in my classroom?  Would I ban paper if the video had been portrayed in words on paper?

I struggled with this issue. 

We talked as a class and they themselves decided to create a video apologizing for their role in the situation. The students took responsibility for what they had done.  They owned it.

This motivated me.  I too will own this.  We set new rules in place to keep our devices locked up when I am not in the room with direct supervision.

Where do I go from here?

 The issue was not the technology but the behaviour to towards another student.  The bullying is the real issue here and so how will I help them.  How can I motivate them?

I found an idea online.  Thank you to Nerdy Nerdy Nerdy for the idea that we used today.


  Students arrived at the beginning of the day with the word mean on the board.  I spent an hour surrounding the word mean with words that were synonyms to mean, bullying, hatred etc.

The students arrived and all made comments.  They continued to comment on the board.  We moved forward with math.  All during math they kept looking at the board. Losing focus and distracted by the words.

This lead to our conversation of why.  Why could we not focus?
The students had a really in depth conversation to why these words pulled our attention away from our learning.  The students recognised that it was very difficult to block out.

Just like in real life.  WOW  What a deep thought.

The students focused on one of the words that they know they have done before.  We headed up to the board and focused right on the word.  We thought of the person that we had done that too.  We then apologized to the word imagining it was that person we had hurt.  All together we apologized for what we had done.

Listen below to the apology discussion.( our first sound )

Powerful stuff.
After that we used our personal devices, computers in the classroom and good old fashioned thesaurus.
As intermediate students in our school some of us are about to graduate and head off to high school.  I challenged them with the question of what they wanted to be remembered for in years to come.  I told them how I remember some of my peers from grade eight.  I told them about Sara B, T.J., Eric, Derek and all the other students I could remember.  I told them about them.  As an adult and years later I remember them.

Each student took their turn finding the word that they wanted to replace the mean with.  They erased the word and put a new word on.  They added colour, details, character and joy into the board.

Today through the creation of a video, a thesaurus and watching inspiring videos we used technology the way it should have been. As a tool to change, motivate and create.

 I can not show you the video they created for privacy issues but it was heart felt and powerful.

Trust me.

The final image of the inspirational board they created. The words that are underlined are the words that if they could choose one forever is the one they personally want to be remembered for.


  1. You put your heart into your teaching....I applaud you, Maria!
    To teach compassion, along with acedemics...that's what it's all about.

    Ciao Bella
    Creative Carmelina

  2. Love how you didn't just ban technology but instead addressed the actual issue-behavior. Awesome!

    I Teach. What's Your Super Power?

  3. Thank you for sharing your thought process as well as the process with your students. Very powereful indeed.

  4. I did this today with my 6th grade homeroom. Different catalyst situation but same lesson. It was really good. Thank you for the idea.


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