At the beginning of the year, I always talk to my 6th graders about what to do when things are “hard.” I make jokes about what other kids have done in the past, and try to evoke memories of previous “hard” activities and what kids did then. And I tell kids that my number one pet peeve is when kids stop trying. (I mean, I get why they do, but seriously? Grr.)
So, you can imagine my frustration when I hear, “Um… Miss… I didn’t do my homework… I mean, I didn’t get it.”
Me: Okay, show me what you didn’t understand on the homework.
Student: I… uh… well, I didn’t get any of it. (Shows me a blank paper.)
Me: So… you didn’t try anything at all?
Student: But you didn’t help me, so…
(Cut to me, in my head: Why don’t you tell me about that. Tell me about how you “didn’t get it” so you WOULDN’T EVEN TRY. I’d love to know more about that. There — I bet you could’ve done that part, because it’s ADDING. Yup, ADDING. So, there’s that. You’re BETTER THAN THIS.)
Me, aloud: You know, I would have loved to help. Did you look at your notes? Did you send me a message? Did you ask your parents?
So, in an effort to stop the madness, I’ve been on the hunt to find a way to be there for my kids when I can’t actually be there. And, it’s easier that I thought it was going to be. The ShowMe app (or http://www.showme.com) makes it really easy.
The app is a virtual whiteboard that allows you to not only write and record your voice, but also take pictures of assignments and write on them! Yes, write on them! Amazing! The videos are housed on their site, and can be shared via embed code or a link, and they can be downloaded from the site. I’ve started putting them on my class webpage and sending the links home to parents so that they can help too. I’ve been using the app for about a week now, and the positive feedback from kids is wonderful!
Here’s my first video. I am encouraging every teacher to jump on this bandwagon — it’s definitely a game-changer!