A Half Day

by caitlynpickens

We only had a half day of school, due to the funeral ceremonies taking place at the school after lunch. We went into the day with strictly defined expectations for the students, and it turned out really well. We cracked down on the Scratch projects and insisted that the students all have a finalized dancing animation finished before we dismissed them for lunch. The task seemed a bit overwhelming, since we had some students who had not attended the day before and were completely in the dark about how to use Scratch. It all worked out amazingly though, because the boys actually started teaching each other. It was such a rewarding feeling to see them take the initiative in showing each other how to program and to use GIMP image editing.

I was completely taken aback by their commitment and work ethic, and they produced some really cool final videos (for a halfday project):

We even had one student decide to take her own path in Scratch. She animated a mini basketball game.

All in all, I was very, very proud of them. I am usually scared to push them too hard in fear of losing their interest. But it seems that pushing them to work harder was exactly what they needed this time.

They got a bit silly toward the end, since they were all so excited about the dancing animations we had created with pictures of themselves:

I joined the boys for lunch so that I could pass out reward prizes for a good day – just simple things like Spartan keychains. I ended up talking to them about a lot of different topics. Most interesting was probably their advice for how Jory can have “swag” – it’s sort of like being cool, if you don’t know what it means. How he can get all the ladies, basically. They suggested that he sag his pants, hang some Spartan basketball logo boxers out of the back of his pants, wear an oversized Nike shirt and a belt with some sort of flashy buckle, and don a hat with a flat brim (slanted to the side, gansta style). Jory doesn’t seem convinced that this will get him any dates, but the boys assured me that it would work for him. They also talked a lot about which high schools they plan to go to. And one mentioned a pregnancy scare that he had with a girl in the past, which worries me because they are only 13-15 years old.

After lunch, the students went straight home, and Jory and I packed up to head to Rapid City for the weekend. We ended up driving through a storm, and it took much longer than expected. The sky seems huge out here, and the storms are even bigger than in Chicago (where the winds are always impressive). We found a hotel in Rapid and planned to stay three nights there, just doing tourist-y things in the city since we needed to be out of the school.