Archive for September, 2020

The New School Year

September 25, 2020

It is going to be rough.  We are back full-time face-to-face.  Masks and as much spacing as possible.  Staggered lunch time, one-way halls, a lot of classes outside and whatever we can think of to make things as safe as possible.  Only two of our 165 students are remote.  They both have medical issues that would greatly increase their vulnerability.  All that is not the rough part.  The rough part is the environment in the school.  It is not bad, it is just different.  The traditional closeness in our school is restrained.  A lot of our social groups are broken.  The lunch gangs are no longer.  I expect this to be the new normal for quite a while.  It is interesting how quickly the kids adjusted to this.  No need to constantly pester kids about their masks.  They just do it.  At least in school.  Spacing is an issue but we have spread desks out as much as possible and we now have four lunch shifts when before there was one large crowd in the lunchroom.  The kids are least crazy about that.  Friends are not able to eat lunch together.  They used to be able to eat lunch in a classroom but no more.  Covid cases are on the rise in Missoula but so far we have had nothing in the school or with any contacts.  We do not think this will last but while it does we are sticking with face-to-face five days a week.


Dull pencil

September 5, 2020

I have known for years I am not the sharpest pencil in the box.  I regularly do really stupid things.  I proved it again this year.  My principal made sure I was only teaching four classes out of an eight period schedule.  The other four periods were to do my IT job.  I am the school’s only IT person and she figured I would have a busy year with the possibility of going remote and some of the other changes we are going through.  So the counselor comes to me with a story about a really sharp kid who wants to take my Unity course.  The only time he can take it is during one of my free periods.  OK, no problem.  Only one kid and only one period.  The kid is really sharp and is already trying to do things I do not know how to do in Unity.  Cool stuff so this independent study is now a one-on-one full time class.  I still have three periods for IT work.  Then I accidentally stumbled across the Unity tutorial “Real-time Animated Story Telling”.  Really cool.  We can make our own animated 3D stories.  It would be so cool to make Shakespeare scenes with to go with what they are doing in English.  I think I will make a new course called “Intro to Graphic Design Using Unity”.  Three kids are interested immediately.  Luckily all can take it at the same period.  I am now up to five different preps, two periods where I am teaching two different preps at the same time, two courses which I have never taught before and require I learn the material with the kids.  I have one kid who is a frigging rocket scientist with great ideas and questions I have to figure out the answers to.  Another two kids working with Unity VR for the first time.  A Programming 1 class working with Scratch and I have not looked at Scratch in ten years.  I gave this class a Scratch programming assignment today I figured was good for a period and a half.  Little buggers had it done in 15 minutes.  Smart kids can be such a pain in the posterior.  

So I am totally convinced I am a stone cold idiot.  But it is going to be one heck of a fun year.