Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween. Scary end of the quarter.

We are rushing madly towards the end of the quarter.
The music area sounds like a music area.  I really kind of dig the sounds of the practice rooms.
I had an email from a while back that was asking for ideas on how to get kids to get enrolled and to submit their assignments... I don't have any clever ways of making that happen. 
I am lucky enough to have a student assistant and another teacher nearby, so the real hardcore stragglers have been walked through the enrollment process.  I can't tell you what a blessing that is.  I owe a bunch of favors.
Most of the time, when you get kids past enrollment they can figure out the rest.  They have logged in on other programs and networks by fifth grade.
I would say I have most of the assignments back from the deadline from two weeks ago.  The rest will get several notes from me saying that the assignment is due.  I will also go through the list and tell the laggards in class (and out-loud) that they need to get this in.  I also tell everyone that got it done well and in "Thanks" and "Good Job."  I don't mention scores,  you and I both know that can cause problems and I am staying positive with the people that are late... "you need to get this in."  That's a message the student can do something about.
I think this is an important enough project for our program that I am seriously thinking about having any missing SmartMusic assignments as a reason for an incomplete grade, not just "points off."  I do end up taking late work (at no penalty.)  I like to think my assignments are important for the kids to learn and really the only deadlines are imposed by mark reporting for the office.  This way of working may not work for you.
This fall, I have been getting back great work. The mic wizard is really working well.  The do-it-over-because-I can't-tell-what-that-is assignment has been very rare.  There were a few last fall that hurt to listen to because the mic was set too loud.
I also think that students that login are going all the way and really, really working hard.  I have seen 17 takes on one kid's assignment.  A positive video game mentality creeps in and they "play" SmartMusic until they have it.
Keep the kids focused and insist they enroll and remind them frequently to get installed, enrolled, practiced, recorded and submitted.  I think the results are worth it.

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