the rewards of procrastination
I had such a good time with my freshmen Wednesday. I spent some time Monday night putting together a Jeopardy review game for The Odyssey (SO much more fun than grading the essays that are threatening to grow mold at this point). I downloaded a great template from a site which also included a very helpful planning sheet. The kids loved it. They got so competitive and goofy, and I laughed more than I have all year with them. I hope that next year, my second one with this prep, I'm able to inject more of the creative, fun aspects of learning. While I know it doesn't always have to involve playing a game, having new textbooks and switching from seniors to freshmen has been quite an adjustment for me. I feel as though I'm just beginning to "get them." So I'm hopeful about next year.
In my quest to avoid grading papers, I've been spending my time on other really productive ventures (just not quite so critical as the grading really is right now). I've begun working quite a bit with NoteTaker, an awesome Mac application that you really have to see to believe. Aquaminds makes it and they're working on a Windows version for the rest of you folks, but it won't be available till sometime in 2006. The basic premise of the software is creating a virtual notebook, but it can do so much more than that. Like export your entire notebook into a website (you wouldn't believe how fast and flawlessly that feature works--it takes less time than saving a single Word page as html and without the mangling of format). Like export an entry into your blog via ecto. Like import and/or embed documents from other applications. Like export individual pages into Word. And lots of other stuff I haven't even had a chance to play with or discover yet.
My new infatuation with NoteTaker has led me to begin a staff manual for yearbook, to begin creating a notebook that will house all of my 9th lit materials, and to my creating a notebook for my next unit on poetry (which necessitated actually writing the unit). I told a friend yesterday that once I get caught up, I'm going to be so impressed and pleased by all the other work I got done while I was procrastinating.