The ‘flu isn’t all bad

This season’s flu strain is a doozy! I was out for a week, and I’m just getting back to full strength.

However, in the Every Infection Has A Silver Lining category, the effects of the flu forced me to re-think how I go about my daily life.

Permission to rest
via @farrah_khan

I simply had to rest while I was sick. All the things I thought I needed to just had to wait; I didn’t update MyHaikuClass; I didn’t grade papers – I just typed out a lesson plan for the sub and went back to bed.

Also, when I returned to work, I still wasn’t 100%, so I had to take it away. I got the kids started on their work and walked around as much as I could – but I also gave myself permission to sit down when I needed to.

Certainly, it was frustrating not to be able to fly around the classroom as I usually do; it was frustrating to find myself thinking ponderously and, at times, even to struggle to complete sentences.

Yet this temporary reduction in my capacity was instructive, as it forced me to slow down and be patient with myself. My students were okay without me; journalism in particular made strong progress while I was out. I do have to catch on grades, but apart from that, everything was okay without me. That’s actually encouraging, because it shows that I’m making progress on my goal of building capacity and empowering others to learn rather than dominating the process as the “sage on the stage.”


I haven’t written in this space in a while, but I have written reflections on the fall semester at my class blog, here and here.

(An aside:  trying to use Blogger with my class has been a nightmare.  I usually love Google products, but this one is a bust.  I’m going to try Edublogs next week, even if it takes time to set up new blogs with the kids:  Blogger, in addition to frequent crashing, has been not only non-user-friendly, it’s been outright user-hostile!  For example, finding a draft that a student started is nearly impossible, given the lack of a “sort by user” feature in the Dashboard.  Perhaps it’s using the wrong tool to have a multi-collaborator blog; that still doesn’t excuse the unreliability of the service, which has gone crash-o during 3 class periods in less than 2 weeks.)

As I note in those reflections, my goal this semester has been to do a better job of helping my students see the connections between the various activities we do.  I think I’ve made some progress here, and I have some ideas about how to help students become more confident and competent at reflecting on their progress.  Next week, I’m going to work with the kids on a portfolio checklist that will help them organize their physical portfolios.

I realize now that I need to be more organized, and to help the kids become more organized themselves.  I’m starting to see how the workshop might work:  a variety of mini-lessons that I can create & screencast and then make available “just in time” for students.  Next year, I want to start with tech basics and then research basics (choosing reliable sources, e.g.) – also, I need to think about how to get kids to think beyond the classroom (Twitter, blogging, audiences outside of our classroom).