The Second Week

The children: The children are just as excited to get back on Sugar as they were the week before. They asked for my help less frequently, and some remembered the little chart we made showing some of the icons that they use to navigate the screen. I have also told them that I am just like them, still exploring Sugar. One student got into turtle art. I helped him get started, and told him that was all I know. “Like, I do not know what “seth” means,” I told him. A few minutes later, from across the room, this usually mild-mannered student cried, “Lynne May, I know what “seth” means!” He showed me what he has discovered. He looked proud and happy. Another student called out to me for help with Implode. I turned to a student who had a turn on Sugar the day before and had explored Implode. I asked her if she would help her classmate with Implode, and she eagerly did. That classmate became a new fan of Implode, as indicated by her latest blog post. Two students currently finds Physics to be a very interesting activity, while two children finally got some satisfaction exploring Colors, after I downloaded the latest version into their stick. I also hear some students begin to use the vocabulary words – activities vs. games, home screen.

The parents: They like the idea of their children blogging. They are the ones responding to their children’s blog posts, and one can see that the experience is positive on both sides. Some of them are inspired by their children to explore blogging for themselves. All of them are very pleased that their children have the opportunity of exploring Sugar and experiencing an innovative computer technology. “What is Sugar?” On March 17, during our parent-teacher Spring conference, I showed them their child’s stick and their homescreen, showed them some of the activities their child had explored, and told them the plan of turning over their child’s USB stick and blog to them at the close of the school year. I am now thinking that perhaps we can have a SoaS class party towards the end of the school year in which the children will introduce their parents to the world of Sugar. I can see that at least some parents will explore them with their children. The thing is, it tends to be the male parent who shows interest in exploring the activities too…hmm…

The teacher: This week, decisions have to be made about use of classroom time. When the daily schedule is affected by one-time or periodic school events such as school assemblies or field trips, classroom schedule shifts, and decisions had to be made. For instance, do I forego Writing Workshop so that children can have the “morning work” time to engage in different activities including Sugar activities? Or should I the morning work period today, and find another time for it later this week or maybe next week – which will mean bumping out time scheduled for other subject matter? Making daily decisions about allocation of time for a myriad of activities is part of our job as teachers, and can be stressful. However, it also brings my thoughts to “Next time, I think I can/will do it another way…”

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2 thoughts on “The Second Week

  1. Dear Lynne May

    Thank you! Notes Early Childhood Education is great blog. I think that your students are lucky to have you as their teacher.

    At one point WordPress temporary placed a link to Notes On Early Childhood Education in the margin my blog:

    Kokrobiteeyses.wordpress.com

    This was my first clue as to how SOAS lesson plans might be implemented. Your practical description of how you did this came at a good time. Not a teacher myself I’ve been fretting about using XOs here in Ghana. Poor children “owning” these seems not a good idea (more on Kokrobiteeyes). Many here think sold and stolen XOs would be a problem.

    To me this adds up to needing SOAS lesson plans. Desktops are cheaper here. It looks like you and friends did a lot of planning to have generated such student enthusiasm.

    Thank you
    George Pope
    Kokrobite Ghana

    • Thanks for your kind words. Because we are using Sugar on a USB stick, my students do not own the laptop they are using. Each has a USB stick which we bought for under $12 each, and I keep all of their USB sticks at school. At the end of the school year, they can take their USB stick home. They can use their USB sticks at home on their own home computers. The Sugar on a Stick is very promising. Need to have good technical support and compatible equipments, but on the whole, one USB stick is definitely cheaper than one XO laptop. We can buy about 20 high quality USB stick for every one XO laptop. Still need a laptop like a netbook, but three to five children can take turns using one netbook or any PC that can run Sugar (I think). If you or any one who wants to do this would like to get ideas on how to work with students on Sugar, I would be happy to help in any way I can.
      -L.M.Lim

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