Thursday, July 19, 2018

Worst Case Scenario


English 10, first semester. They had a "character worksheet" to do for half an hour. For the remaining hour and a half, they had a story to read and questions to answer.

Only, it turned out, the story assignment was going to be thwarted by technology.

The schools are getting more and more high tech. The English department has an online textbook called StudySync. They can read stories (or have the stories read to them), watch videos (that go along with the stories), and answer questions (with fun drag and drop capabilities) online. It's a nifty system. I've seen it in use many times.

But on this day it was gone.

Cue panicking sub.

I only discovered the problem when a student called me over. He had logged in to the system, but his student screen was blank. I tried my usual troubleshooting tricks (restart the system), but to no avail.

Time to call for help...

In the end, I got the summer school principal involved. She pulled in the librarian and another English teacher who also uses the system. And from there they pulled in district resources.

It turned out that they had "flushed" the system for summer. And they'd need to repopulate the database. But these were not things that they could do for the sub for the day.

Deep sigh.

But I had two more blocks of students. And there was no way I was giving them an hour and a half of "free time".

I made up something for them to do. I had them pair up and create a dialog. That's where my writer brain went. I don't think they appreciated my writer brain.

30 comments:

  1. It would be interesting to see what they came up with the dialog. Could be fascinating reading and perhaps give you ideas for future stories!

    betty

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  2. Improvised lessons ...better than just hanging out.

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    Replies
    1. Hanging out is never a good idea.

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    2. Hanging out probably leads to chaos in the classroom. :)

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    3. Oh yeah. There was that one time that I ended up having to call security because someone used "free time" to steal from a fellow classmate.

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  3. At least you gave them something to do. That had to be better, and less boring, than having nothing to do for an hour and a half.

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    1. Perhaps. They were in the computer lab. They would have rather played Fortnite.

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  4. Of course they would have done something to the system that they couldn't fix easily. At least you figured out a way to keep the kids busy.

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  5. At least you were able to figure something out for them to do.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah. I was glad for that bright idea when I had it.

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  6. They knew the summer classes would need the system. Why on earth would they wipe it clean?

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  7. Oh my....it is always something isn't it. Never fails with me that I think I have things going just right and BAM, not so much.

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    Replies
    1. These are the stories that keep my blog going ;)

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  8. Creative solution, Liz. You never know. There's always at least one student who won't let on how much she enjoyed doing something outside of the computer box.

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  9. Yeah they probably would have preferred the free time but who knows what your story would have been if you let them do that hahaha

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    Replies
    1. Oh yes, giving them free time... *shudders*

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  10. My writer brain would have had them write a FanFic story from a movie after working out the GMC :)

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  11. Whoa, the situation you see yourself confronted with. What does it even mean to flush a system?
    Congrats on whipping up an off-screen assignment. Gotta love a writer! :-)

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    1. Good question. It had something to do with deleting all the student logins. I suppose so they could reinstate them next year with new classes.

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  12. If they were doing character worksheets anyway, that was a great idea! Each write a character, and then they could make their characters have a dialog. Perfect!

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  13. Oh gosh ... challenging to say the least ... but glad you were able to work something out for them to do ... good luck, while tech - it has its disadavantages too ... cheers Hilary

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  14. That's very bad luck - you were just the one to discover what sounds like a pretty big problem. You can't even anticipate problems like these.

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    Replies
    1. No, you can't. And yeah, if the teacher had been there, he would have had the exact same issue.

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  15. Good thinking on your feet! Nothing good ever comes from free time.

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    Replies
    1. Nope. And I have a list of all the things that can (and did) go wrong.

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  16. I love your quick thinking! I can see why teachers would trust you to sub their classes. :)

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