Wednesday, January 29, 2014

7X6= Peanut M&M's

Let's revisit the genius of our schools handing out technology to our kids.

We can just brush by the part where we wonder if the alarming rise in kids with distraction based special needs directly correlates to the alarming rise in the amount of distractions in our daily lives, let alone the amount introduced into classrooms based on the fact that technology is better.

And yes, I speak sarcasm as a primary language.

I've been through all the fun and joy of having a high school kid with an iPad this first semester. All it's twitches and glitches and misuses. I've refrained or restrained myself when it came to the shock parents and educators and other adults registered when said iPads were being used less than properly, even during school hours.

Second semester is upon us. It would have started Monday, but we had more polar Arctic vortex freeze or whatever it's called. It was cold. Too damn cold to go to school or anyplace else. Second semester means iPads for middle schoolers.

It's the same routine as the high school iPad roll out. Come on your assigned day and time. Have all the forms signed and fees payed. Make sure you've set up all your accounts before you get to school and get handed your iPad.

I'm not going to lie. I couldn't figure it out the first time. I had to have help. I highly doubt I'll be able to do it this time without help, even though I've done it before.

There is a new glitch this time though, already.

You're going to love this one.

I did.

Middle school kids are too young to have Apple ID accounts.

Yup, the accounts we are required to set up before the roll out meetings, for the iPads that our kids are going to misuse in class, that we are giving to them because of course new and electronic has to be better.

Honestly people. Now I have an email "suggesting" ways to set up an account for my child in spite of his age.

As I sit here and type this, I think about the trip I made to the store this morning.

My mission, you ask? A giant size bag of peanut M&M's.


Ah, this is rich in light of iPads and kids being raised on electronic learning.

Peanut M&M's are rewards.

Rewards for math facts.

2 of the 5 in school here are still struggling with math facts that should have been second nature by the end of 4th grade.

They each have their issues. Reasons could easily be given for the lack of fact mastery. Real issues and reasons, not just mama reasons.

But I have to tell you, both of them have done more than their fair share of time on a whole slew of the "great" math sites to hone their skill and improve their math.

You know what's working?

It isn't glitzy or electronic.

It's a grown up asking math questions and handing out prizes for each correct answer. Skittles. Coins. Peanut M&M's.

They sit and "play" for 5-15 minutes after dinner. It's pretty painless. They all laugh. The other kids join in a bit. They earn their prizes. They smile. They feel good about themselves. They realize they are learning those math facts. They are coming to realize they aren't stupid, they just needed a little practice.

They just needed a little practice.

In spite of all the hours logged practicing on web sites.

The whole thing leaves me wondering more by the day. What are we teaching our kids? What are we telling ourselves? How much life are we messing up because of technology?

Two side notes: 1) yes, I am fully aware of home schooling, that I can pick to do that at any point with my children if I want something different for them, etc. I have home schooled some of my kids in the past and harbor nothing against it. Nor am I bashing public schools here. I'm thinking. (2) I am also not saying purge our lives of technology. Hello? I'm blogging to you right now using it. Because of technology I am far less isolated than I would be if left to myself.

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