Positive Creates, Negative Negates (Round 2)

I’m beginning to think I should make this a regular reflection – focusing on the positives going on in Room 303 rather than the negative. You guessed it…….another one of those days! When I really think about it, it’s 8% of my students causing this grief (yes, I actually did the math and came up with 7.6%). I get so consumed by it because I feel like I haven’t reached them or built a relationship with them, despite my efforts. It baffles me, provides a challenge to me, and beats me down all at the same time. With these challenges, I’m always trying to find a way.

The tennis player in me doesn’t quit until I find a way to get it done. Growing up playing competitive tennis has shaped me considerably as a person. It’s the type of sport where the player playing is the coach. (Yes, you get coached during high school season or college season.) However, the coach doesn’t always make it the fence on changeovers. USTA tournaments don’t allow coaching. Therefore, it’s up to the player to think outside the box and figure out how to win. This is how I grew up, and part of why I think the way I do.

At the end of the day, I shouldn’t let these challenges beat me up. I need to constantly remind myself of what going right in Room 303. It’s funny, though, how 8% overshadows the other 92% and the great things happening. So here it is, 3 positives from this week:

  1. Instead of blogging from his character’s perspective about going on the Crusades to Jerusalem, a student wanted to use Google MyMaps. He added markers to his stops with pictures. He described the challenges created by geography (mountains, desert, rivers, etc..) Finally, he used a feature I never knew about – the directions feature using walking distance from his castle in France to Jerusalem.
  2. An 8th grader is maintaining a blog from the perspective of a Federalist living through the new republic. His character’s name is Johnald Stump. This is the funniest blog I have ever read! He truly has a gift for creative writing, and humor. It’s amazing how many subtle Trump jokes he can fit into his writing as he analyzes decisions made by Washington, Adams, and Jefferson. Check it out the excerpts – worth a read!
  3. I told my 7th graders we were going to a digital breakout. This was followed by mass looks of confusion. I explained the digital breakout, the rules, and the goals behind it. Their faces lit up and excitement ensued. Sometimes I question what I do, but a student made a point to say, “Mr. Moler, you make history fun. We do so many different things in here.” That simple statement reminded me that maybe I’m doing good things in Room 303. Here is the digital breakout site (still a work in progress).

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