Thursday, September 4, 2014

Twelfth Period

Back in June we were given our tentative teaching programs, and I was intrigued to see that I was assigned a Robotics class. Although I've played with Lego Mindstorms, I've never received any formal training in robotics. But I thought with a little support I could do this.

Through discussions with my Assistant Principal, and some outside help from a fellow who has helped set up similar programs in schools, we initially thought of using Mindstorm EV3. The weakness with the Lego is that students associate it with younger kids, and some of them tune out.

So, during the summer I wasn't too surprised to find that they had switched platforms to something called BoeBot sold by Parallax. I was sent a sample curriculum, and some ideas for working with the kits, and I began doing research, but also confirming that I would receive training.

The next day I was told that they had switched platforms again. This time it would be something called Vex with a curriculum from Intellitek. Fine. I don't care. I don't know anything about any of them, so as long as I receive training I will do whatever they buy.

Today was the first day of school. They still haven't decided for sure just what platform I'm to base this Robotics class on. I am still not scheduled for training in anything. But to keep things really interesting, my class has been split. I have half of the students during 8th period, as my fifth teaching period of the day.

The other half, it appears, have been scheduled to meet with me 12th period. Twelfth! We don't even have a 12th period. I have no idea what time it would meet if I were to try to show up for it. I'm told that some of the 12th period students came to the classroom during 9th period, but I wasn't there. I only teach 1-8, and was taking care of paperwork during 9th period.

(I've also heard that administrators at my school have scheduled a meeting next week with some people to decide what platform I should be using in my class. Which started already. In case I didn't emphasize that already. That it's really late to be making these decisions. And why not just use that last one I heard about in the summer.)