It has been an interesting week. I am feeling better, but my left ear is still a little stuffy. I am still working out the details for my students’ pen pals (part 2). And, on top of that, I was observed by a colleague (he was observing my “classroom management” – in other words, my being mean to my students – he needs to get meaner…). I also was observed by my department head and one of my administrators.
Did they come at the beginning of the period, when I was overseeing the daily Rosetta Stone lesson? No. Did they come while I was having my students do a hands-on observation of the structure of the Goose Game board. Nope. They came at the end of class. Some kids were working on catching up on their Rosetta Stone lessons (I set a goal each grading period). Others had achieved that goal and were having some “free time on the internet.”
This is always a risky thing. Yes, our school has a firewall, but there are ways of getting around those. I also have the lovely Net Support School software, which – in theory – allows me to control all of the computers in my classroom. I say – in theory – because for some time now, I have noticed that some of the computers in my classroom were no longer on my network. I hadn’t the time to consult with the tech support at my school, so I just tried not to look.
While I was explaining what was going on in my classroom, one of my supervisors pointed to one of the computer games being played by my students. He said, “Look – guns!” Great. I then went on as if this was normal and part of my “plan” for finding out the bad sites and blocking them. Which is true – I once had a student repeatedly go to shoot-em-up websites, even after he knew I was blocking them as he found them!
I haven’t met for the follow up on that observation, but I spent two hours yesterday morning doing an inventory of the 26 computers in my lab. I made a paper map of what number computer was actually in what space – for some reason, Computer 20 is in the front of the room, next to 14. Also, one of my computers was in the lab next door – I had done that when one of my machines was not working. I switched that one back, since it seemed to be working.
Then, I had to manually check to see which computers were blocked when I used that function. That done, I had to figure out why I didn’t have control of those computers. I figured out that they had somehow gotten deleted from my Lab A tab. So I re-entered them. Now, I was in business!
By the end of 2nd period yesterday, I had the internet effectively blocked, except for Wikipedia, Epals, Quia, and Funbrain. The kids were not happy, but I just told the truth – sort of. I said it was an “administrative directive.”
Since then, I have found more “Kid-Safe” sites to add:
- Time for Kids
- National Geographic
- Discovery Kids
- Cartoon Network
- The Simpsons (I found that on a Kid-Friendly list, but still don’t know)
- Book Adventure
- Star Wars
- Sports Illustrated Kids