Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Swamped, but Saved

I am swamped, overwhelmed in the midst of dealing with a massive deluge of email (pictures) and database entries (reports) for The Earth Day Groceries Project. Now, this kind of thing happens every year, this huge spike in activity, but this year seems different. Here's what's happening:
  • there are way more people sending in pictures to be put on the web site
  • people are sending in multiple, huge image files - like emails with three - 2MB images. I had several of those today - a total of 75 MB (so far) of images via email, yikes
  • there are currently 81 reports waiting to be individually edited and approved for addition to the website database
  • this all happened in one day. Way more than this has come in already. MUCH more will come in in the next few days...
  • I'm looking at 15 hours of work that landed in my lap today - hard, intense, coding...
  • Tomorrow that total will be added to... more the next, etc. It is that time of year.

Swamped, I am.

On the other hand, today there was a first in my third grade classroom. I gave a writing assignment this morning (Earth Day), and by the end of the day, every single student had posted an article to his/her blog, and they were all approved. To the non-teacher, this may not seem like any big whoops, but for the teacher who understands the differences in ability and individual motivation in each and every child in today's classrooms, well....

I'm saved.

Maybe part of their sucess in writing had to do with the fact that they saw themselves on a video on the Internet for the first time. If so, I'm getting a new video camera and filming every day!

Anyway, they ALL wrote, and many wrote very well. They had like 15 minutes, and they wrote off the tops of their heads. Check their posts on 4/22 on the left side of roomtwelve.com. One more time I say thank goodness for the kids.


Paul said...


I've been following you for a while now, but this is my first comment.

Nice job! all around, the video, the project, the stick-with-it during the spike in project activity (I can relate). Having made a few mini-videos and posted them on our class website, I can attest to what you're saying. The kids love seeing themselves, and the parents love it, too! I've noticed an interesting by-product of doing this has been the positive PR (public relations) among my class families, including the extended family -- grandparents, aunts, uncles, and even friends. Since we're a parochial school and depend on positive word-of-mouth, this is not a trivial thing.

I like the idea of posting on YouTube for two reasons:

1) It uses their bandwidth!
2) It's a high-profile way to get your message out there. Not everyone will see our work on our website, but more may visit via a YouTube account.

You've convinced me to start posting via YouTube, at least in addition to what I'm already doing.

Thanks for what you're doing, Mark! As a fifth grade teacher I'm enjoying your class progress.

Paul Schwan

Anonymous said...

Thanks SO much Mark for all you do and for grounding it in teaching Third Grade. There is hope for all of us using technology in schools.

Our school did the Grocery Bag project and we have some images to send to you. How can we make it the easiest for you?