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Simply Seeking Syllabus for 5th-8th Grade Squeaking

 
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2003 1:19 pm    Post subject: Simply Seeking Syllabus for 5th-8th Grade Squeaking Reply with quote

I talked to the director of the public library in Glen Ellyn, IL about
using their computer lab to host some Squeaking sessions. After I explained
a bit about Squeak, the director suggested that I develop an outline for a
Squeak course to be offered this summer at the library for 5th-8th graders.

Can anyone suggest suitable lessons and activities in Squeak for such a course?

It appears there are 6 PCs in the lab. Do others think I should I aim for 6
or 12 students per session? I was wondering if anyone has experience with
solo vs. pair programming at this level.

I appreciate your insights!

-Mark Schwenk
WellThot Inc.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2003 1:19 pm    Post subject: Simply Seeking Syllabus for 5th-8th Grade Squeaking Reply with quote

Mark:

In thinking about the concepts that I needed to present my children
with, prior to teaching them a new idea or concept in Squeak, I think about
my math standards. In the case of the car scenario, I used what they had
learned about mean, mode, median and range, and how I could incorporate this
concept into what I wanted them to create in Squeak. I needed them to
understand the concept of random and random numbers and what a "variable"
was. This is some pretty sofisticated stuff and Squeak gave the children a
means to use some abstract concepts in a meaningful way.. I would be happy to
send you the lessons that I used with the kids if you want. Of course they
are only the Squeak lessons. The math concepts were simply part of my math
curriculum.

Best,
B.J. Conn
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2003 1:19 pm    Post subject: Simply Seeking Syllabus for 5th-8th Grade Squeaking Reply with quote

Hi, Mark,

I've been observing BJ Conn's class. She'll be able to give you specifics,
but I have a couple of general thoughts.

Think about what you want the kids to get. Squeak can be an introduction to
programming, or a way to explore another subject such as math, or a way to
have fun making cool things, or a way to explore and experiment. Some of
each of these things can happen, but you and the kids will probably be
happier, and your activities will be more effective, if you know what you
want to accomplish and what you want the kids to accomplish.

One way of teaching that has worked well: at the beginning of a session do
a short demonstration for all the kids, showing them the activity before
you turn them loose to do it. That way if there are any unfamiliar skills
or concepts needed for success, you can introduce them while giving
everybody a feel for the activity.

Don't be shy about having them try something off the computer in order to
understand a concept. For example, kids were trying to figure out how to
get an object to move so it would draw a square. They had a surprising
amount of trouble with this until BJ asked everybody to watch while one kid
stood and walked a square on the floor. Then everybody had to think about
what instructions to give that kid if he didn't know how to walk a square.
They wrote the instructions on slips of paper and handed them to the walker
one by one. It was easy to see right away when there was a bug (as long as
the walker only followed the instructions and didn't use intuition!) This
activity seemed to help the kids immensely. Sometimes seemingly small leaps
of understanding--especially about abstractions like heading--are actually
quite large leaps for kids. Putting it into their bodies really helps.

Iit's good to have plenty of help available for the kids--especially at the
beginning. So that means you should have a small group or some assistants.
Any computer activity involves confusions and missteps, and Squeak is a
research system so there are even more possible confusions and blind alleys.

Working in pairs is very fruitful. Conversation and collaboration help to
make the learning more explicit, and of course the kids can help each other.

Good luck!

John


Quote:
I talked to the director of the public library in Glen Ellyn, IL about
using their computer lab to host some Squeaking sessions. After I explained
a bit about Squeak, the director suggested that I develop an outline for a
Squeak course to be offered this summer at the library for 5th-8th graders.

Can anyone suggest suitable lessons and activities in Squeak for such a
course?

It appears there are 6 PCs in the lab. Do others think I should I aim for 6
or 12 students per session? I was wondering if anyone has experience with
solo vs. pair programming at this level.

I appreciate your insights!

-Mark Schwenk
WellThot Inc.
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Guest






PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2003 1:19 pm    Post subject: Simply Seeking Syllabus for 5th-8th Grade Squeaking Reply with quote

Hi Mark,

Quote:
By the way, I'd like to explore the guided tour of the
experience at the Open Charter School at
http://squeakland.org/learn/elementary.html. Will
this be available soon? Although many project links are
active on that page, the guided tour is not yet active.

Unfortunately we still have a bit of trouble related to all those server
issues. Just today we tried to make the tour available and run into some
deeper issues. But we're working on it, so stay tuned!

Cheers,
- Andreas
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2003 1:19 pm    Post subject: Simply Seeking Syllabus for 5th-8th Grade Squeaking Reply with quote

At 4/19/2001 08:55 PM, Origbj@aol.com wrote:
Quote:
My name is BJ Conn and I teach 4th and 5th grade at the Open Charter School.
I have had 2 years experience using Squeak in my class of 62 kids.

It sounds like I found the right person who could help me start my teaching
career with Squeak!

Quote:
I would
suggest that you work with the kids in pairs as it is great when they can
problem solve together.

That feels right to me, based on my experience programming with others.

Quote:
I have some activities you might be interested in,
but one in particular that involves creating a car and programing the car to
drive itself along a road, leads to the kids creating their own race car and
racing against each other. It is really motivating for the kids and could be
great for your age group as well.

I saw Alan demo Chyan & Janae's RoboCars during his recent keynote talk at
Smalltalk Solutions. It looked like a fun project for the kids.

In addition to the activities, I was wondering what related concepts to
present and how to best present them to children.

I'm trying to get a feel for what format would work well for a course
offered in the summer, where kids have more time to spend thinking about
new ideas but where people might be coming and going on vacation. Should I
do a more intensive series over a two week period or perhaps once a week
for four weeks? My wife, Susan, suggests that sessions should be no more
than two hours in length.

How long are your Squeak sessions in your classes? Do single activities
take more than one session to complete?

By the way, I'd like to explore the guided tour of the experience at the
Open Charter School at http://squeakland.org/learn/elementary.html. Will
this be available soon? Although many project links are active on that
page, the guided tour is not yet active.

So BJ, how is the Elementary Squeaking textbook coming along? You are
working on one, I hope! Can I see your rough draft? :-)

-Mark Schwenk
WellThot Inc.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2003 1:19 pm    Post subject: Simply Seeking Syllabus for 5th-8th Grade Squeaking Reply with quote

At 4/19/2001 12:46 PM, John.Maloney@disney.com wrote:
Quote:
B.J. Conn, a teacher at the Open Charter School in Los Angeles (a public
magnet school) has been using Squeak in her classroom for the past two
years. She has enough computers to have one kid per computer, and it
works very well.

On May 1st, I'm going to try teaching a 40 minute introduction to Squeak to
several classes of fifth graders. We don't have enough comptuers to go around,
so I'm planning to have kids work in pairs and take turns. I can let you know
how that works out. (It will be my first time teaching Squeak, and I'm a
programmer, not a teacher, so I think I will make many mistakes.)

I'd like to hear how it goes. I'm curious to know what you plan to cover in
your session.

I would like to be able to come up with something that opens kids minds to
some of the possibilities of Squeak and helps them accomplish something
with it.


Quote:
My suggestion is to start with 6 kids and see how it goes. If you are the
only person teaching, this also gives a better student/teacher ratio.

In a follow up post after yours, BJ suggests pairing up, which was my
inclination. I really enjoy pair programming but wasn't sure about the
benefits or drawbacks in an educational setting. Although the following
remark by Brad Appleton that I read today on the chicago-agile-dev list
suggests that programming in general can be looked at as a learning experience:

It has to do with
rejection of the whole "software as manufacturing" model and
acknowledging that it is more about exploration/experimentation
(software is executable "knowledge" so the software development
process itself is more about learning and knowledge acquisition
than it is about codifying stagnant, passive (and out-of-date)
instructions that some architect threw over a wall as a bunch
of lines and circles :-)

Quote:
I think B.J. may be able to help you with the course outline.

That would be great!

Quote:
How many
class meetings will you have, and how long per session?

I'm not sure at this point--I'd like it to be in-depth enough so that the
kids have the inspiration, confidence, and knowledge to do some more
exploration on their own after the course is over. But then I'm an
optimist--aren't all programmers?

Quote:
-- John

P.S. B.J. I cc-ed you in case you are not yet on the Squeakland mailing list.

At 8:26 AM -0500 4/19/01, Mark A. Schwenk wrote:
Quote:
I talked to the director of the public library in Glen Ellyn, IL about
using their computer lab to host some Squeaking sessions. After I explained
a bit about Squeak, the director suggested that I develop an outline for a
Squeak course to be offered this summer at the library for 5th-8th graders.

Can anyone suggest suitable lessons and activities in Squeak for such a
course?
Quote:

It appears there are 6 PCs in the lab. Do others think I should I aim for 6
or 12 students per session? I was wondering if anyone has experience with
solo vs. pair programming at this level.

I appreciate your insights!

-Mark Schwenk
WellThot Inc.
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Guest






PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2003 1:19 pm    Post subject: Simply Seeking Syllabus for 5th-8th Grade Squeaking Reply with quote

My name is BJ Conn and I teach 4th and 5th grade at the Open Charter School.
I have had 2 years experience using Squeak in my class of 62 kids. I would
suggest that you work with the kids in pairs as it is great when they can
problem solve together. I have some activities you might be interested in,
but one in particular that involves creating a car and programing the car to
drive itself along a road, leads to the kids creating their own race car and
racing against each other. It is really motivating for the kids and could be
great for your age group as well.
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Guest






PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2003 1:19 pm    Post subject: Simply Seeking Syllabus for 5th-8th Grade Squeaking Reply with quote

B.J. Conn, a teacher at the Open Charter School in Los Angeles (a public
magnet school) has been using Squeak in her classroom for the past two
years. She has enough computers to have one kid per computer, and it
works very well.

On May 1st, I'm going to try teaching a 40 minute introduction to Squeak to
several classes of fifth graders. We don't have enough comptuers to go around,
so I'm planning to have kids work in pairs and take turns. I can let you know
how that works out. (It will be my first time teaching Squeak, and I'm a
programmer, not a teacher, so I think I will make many mistakes.)

My suggestion is to start with 6 kids and see how it goes. If you are the
only person teaching, this also gives a better student/teacher ratio.

I think B.J. may be able to help you with the course outline. How many
class meetings will you have, and how long per session?

-- John

P.S. B.J. I cc-ed you in case you are not yet on the Squeakland mailing list.

At 8:26 AM -0500 4/19/01, Mark A. Schwenk wrote:
Quote:
I talked to the director of the public library in Glen Ellyn, IL about
using their computer lab to host some Squeaking sessions. After I explained
a bit about Squeak, the director suggested that I develop an outline for a
Squeak course to be offered this summer at the library for 5th-8th graders.

Can anyone suggest suitable lessons and activities in Squeak for such a course?

It appears there are 6 PCs in the lab. Do others think I should I aim for 6
or 12 students per session? I was wondering if anyone has experience with
solo vs. pair programming at this level.

I appreciate your insights!

-Mark Schwenk
WellThot Inc.
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Guest






PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2003 1:53 pm    Post subject: Simply Seeking Syllabus for 5th-8th Grade Squeaking Reply with quote

Mark,

Scott Wallace and I recently taught 3 classes of 33 kids at a local elemantary
school's "Discovery Day". The first two classes were fifth graders, the last
class was sixth graders. We worked throught the "Drive-a-car" example.
Our experiences strongly supports John Steinmetz's observations of the
Open School classes. In particular:

Re:
Quote:
One way of teaching that has worked well: at the beginning of a session do
a short demonstration for all the kids, showing them the activity before
you turn them loose to do it. That way if there are any unfamiliar skills
or concepts needed for success, you can introduce them while giving
everybody a feel for the activity.

We actually taught one of the first two classes with an up-front demonstration
and one without it. Even though the up-front demo takes an extra five minutes
(out of 40 minutes), the class with the demo got further. We decided to
teach the final group with the demo and that class also got further. One
practical thing about an up-front lecture/demo: that's the only time you really
have the full attention of everyone in the class. After they start their projects,
some of them will always be distracted when you ask for their attention.
In fact, we asked them to not even start up Squeak until we'd finished the
initial demo and introduction, and that was a good idea.


Re:
Quote:
Iit's good to have plenty of help available for the kids--especially at the
beginning. So that means you should have a small group or some assistants.
Any computer activity involves confusions and missteps, and Squeak is a
research system so there are even more possible confusions and blind alleys.

Scott and I were only two "teachers" for 33 kids who had never seen Squeak.
I thought it would be a chaos. Actually, it worked better than I expected, in
part because we only had 18 computers, so kids worked in pairs. That
meant you could help two kids at once, and often one of the two would
understand your suggestions quickly. In contrast, we recently taught 14
kids who had never seen Squeak at Disney's "Bring your child to work day"
and we had about seven teachers. In that situation progress was very fast,
because kids who were stuck got immediate attention. However, I don't
believe that many teachers is necessary. I thank that if Scott and I had just
one more assistant, it would have been optimal: one teacher for every six pairs.
(Actually, one might say it is the computer/teacher ratio that matters! You
want that ratio to be under six for maximum progress.)

Your original posting said there were six PC's in the lab. I think that's
about the max for a single teacher, but there should be no problem
with pairing up two kids per computer. If you do this, I'd limit it
to 10 kids on 5 computers, at least for your first time. That would
also leave one machine available as your "demo" machine. You also
said it would be open to kids from 5th-8th grade. We had
that same span for the "Bring your child to work day". In that case,
the eighth grader was noticably faster and more self-sufficient than
the youngest kid. If that happens in your class, you could recruit the
fastest kids as teachers.

Good luck!

-- John
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2003 1:53 pm    Post subject: Simply Seeking Syllabus for 5th-8th Grade Squeaking Reply with quote

Squeakland.org

As all of you know, Squeakland.org is currently "under construction"
and due to open "any week now". Our plans have been to have at least
three sites, one for each of the authoring environments in Squeak
that we've been working on. So:

* Squeakland.org is primarily for children, parents and teachers
who use "etoys"

* SqueakOmni.org is for "Omniuser Squeakers" -- sort of from
Hypercard to Lingo and beyond

* Squeak.org is for "Expert Level" Squeakers -- the bolts, nuts and
guts of the system

The middle site and the middle authoring environment are quite a few
months away from birth.

The first goals for Squeakland.org are to make sure that the plugin
can be downloaded and run everywhere with as little difficulties as
possible. We enlist your aid to help do these tests.

The mailing list -- squeakland@squeakland.org -- is hoping to attract
people who are interested in elementary education and play and how
computing might enhance them. Specifically, we are looking for enough
day to day users of the site to create a forum for our next stages,
which include a sample curriculum, and the next round of etoys. It
would be nice to generate about10-50 emails a day about these issues.
We at SqC plan to develop a trial curriculum this summer with several
teachers that we've been working with, and we will do most
correspondance using squeakland@squeakland.org.

Though an important part of this mailing list is to get bug reports,
we plan to copy all technical emails to the regular Squeak mailing
list. Squeakers, please don't scare off the parents and teachers --
after the children, they are our main intended users.

We will send out quite a bit more information about how to use the
site as it gets closer to completion. For now, please try downloading
the plugins and then try navigating around, both at the top HTML
level of the site, and the entirely within Squeak levels below.

Cheers,

Alan
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2003 1:53 pm    Post subject: Simply Seeking Syllabus for 5th-8th Grade Squeaking Reply with quote

This issue you've uncovered and focused on, I think,
is one of the most central issues in education,
curriculum design and teaching. I've struggled, and
continue to struggle, with this delicate balance and
"dance" of exploration and instruction every day. I
don't have any pat answers, nor do I think there are
any;but I'll share my experience struggling with
it...here 'goes...
I have scaffolded this issue from a number of
directions over the years...I personally don't feel it
is an "either/or" proposition; at least from my
experience. I agree that if students whom are
introduced to a demo may "get farther", if "farther"
is defined in a certain manner and, if "farther" is
our goal. But, first we should determine what
"farther" is and if it is always desirable.
I've found that a steady diet of direction at
the outset of activities cripples students in other
ways later on...in ways that traditional schools fail
to measure, or seem to care about. Having the students
try to apprehend something initially, and trying to
comprehend it for themselves, constructing their own
initial conceptualization to test in demonstration
first to their friends and trusted peers...being
allowed to look over one another's shoulder and
"cheat" in this second stage of development is some of
the best scaffolded learning I've ever seen in my
classes.And all of it happened with little or no
direction on my part.
I found that after a period of individual, "joyous
exploration" and apprehension (in every sense of that
word!); and a period of peripheral and peer-scaffolded
"testing"; my students felt that their personal "take"
on the challenge was honored (as divergent as it may
have been) and, that they then had more confidence in
their ability to explicitly exhibit that
understanding with a "public" performance of
their"take" to the class.In fact, many of my students
would crack into the operating systems of the
computers when they needed to; and I'm at a loss to
even begin to explain to them how to accomplish THAT
feat.(Alan usually came in and hired THOSE kids from
my class! ha ha)
Over the last two decades, hundreds of my
students have gone on into professions in the arts,
animation, media and software and hardware design.
And, the ones that moved into the creative aspects of
these fields all have credited this initial period of
"messin' about" with a concept or a "tool", with their
professional confidence in muddling thru frustrating
challenges. (Martha Stone Wiske and David Perkins
write about this process in their book, TEACHING FOR
UNDERSTANDING; as does Alfred North Whitehead in his
book THE AIMS OF EDUCATION, he calls this "the stage
of romance").
I am not so "Pollyanna" as to think that every
child must muddle thru every process from the
get-go...but, I think we should be careful not to
excise some healthy anxiety from the learning equation
too quickly and too often. Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi
writes quite convincingly and eloquently about the
delicate balance between anxiety and the growth of
ability and self-efficacy (his books FLOW; CREATIVITY;
and TALENTED TEENAGERS are quite provocative on this
matter).
The teacher's timely interventions and
scaffolding of each students journey into
understanding of more complex challenges is the
musicianship and artistry of teaching; when to "teach"
and when to question, challenge and support. I've
tried for my entire career to design ME (the teacher)
out of as much of this process as is possible. To
design experiences that engage students at an access
point they feel comfortable with almost
immediately...but, not a dumbed down curricular
task...but, a challenge that quickly leads them into
self-empowerment and complexity appropriate to their
interest and ability level at any given point. This is
the never-ending challenge that drives me every day.
I presently co-direct a Virtual Distance Animation
program called ACME that utilizes this approach with
H.S. and University students across the nation...it is
a derlicate balance every telecast...AND, we've added
to the mix bi-weekly interventions and critique and
challenges from professionals in the field...when a
student, a teacher and a class think that they've "got
it" they can "up the ante" and show it to a
professional in the field. We call this "who
sez?".This "social validation process" exists in the
real world; and I believe it is crucial for the
development of not only the students, but quite
possibly more enlightenening for we teachers, to
engage in this "dance" of reconciliation and
critque.(Again, Csikszentmihalyi's book CREATIVITY
really gets into this delicate, but real, social
"dance").
If I hadn't opened my classroom doors and my
curriculum to field professional critque my strategies
and personal understanding would have grown at a
snails pace. Frank Thomas, Chuck Jones and Bill Scott
helped me become a bridge to the future for my
students. But, professional intervention can become
mere training in technique if we don't watch out for
balance between personal expression and principled
instruction...a question of insightful design,timely
intervention and teacher "musicianship" and ongoing
reflection about our own practice, focused on student
evidence and performance...and, finally a dash, or
whatever you can get, of "who sez?"
I think one of the many great experiments that
"Squeak" may launch many of us into is just such
reflections, observations, dialogue and collections of
anecdotal evidence...hopefully some patterns may
emerge...what a great journey it will be!
Thanks Jim and John for stimulating me so
much this morning...now, back to it! Dave Master
<dave_master_edu@yahoo.com>

--- John.Maloney@disney.com wrote:
Quote:
Mark,

Scott Wallace and I recently taught 3 classes of 33
kids at a local elemantary
school's "Discovery Day". The first two classes were
fifth graders, the last
class was sixth graders. We worked throught the
"Drive-a-car" example.
Our experiences strongly supports John Steinmetz's
observations of the
Open School classes. In particular:

Re:
Quote:
One way of teaching that has worked well: at the
beginning of a session do
Quote:
a short demonstration for all the kids, showing
them the activity before
Quote:
you turn them loose to do it. That way if there are
any unfamiliar skills
Quote:
or concepts needed for success, you can introduce
them while giving
Quote:
everybody a feel for the activity.

We actually taught one of the first two classes with
an up-front demonstration
and one without it. Even though the up-front demo
takes an extra five minutes
(out of 40 minutes), the class with the demo got
further. We decided to
teach the final group with the demo and that class
also got further. One
practical thing about an up-front lecture/demo:
that's the only time you really
have the full attention of everyone in the class.
After they start their projects,
some of them will always be distracted when you ask
for their attention.
In fact, we asked them to not even start up Squeak
until we'd finished the
initial demo and introduction, and that was a good
idea.


Re:
Quote:
Iit's good to have plenty of help available for the
kids--especially at the
Quote:
beginning. So that means you should have a small
group or some assistants.
Quote:
Any computer activity involves confusions and
missteps, and Squeak is a
Quote:
research system so there are even more possible
confusions and blind alleys.

Scott and I were only two "teachers" for 33 kids who
had never seen Squeak.
I thought it would be a chaos. Actually, it worked
better than I expected, in
part because we only had 18 computers, so kids
worked in pairs. That
meant you could help two kids at once, and often one
of the two would
understand your suggestions quickly. In contrast, we
recently taught 14
kids who had never seen Squeak at Disney's "Bring
your child to work day"
and we had about seven teachers. In that situation
progress was very fast,
because kids who were stuck got immediate attention.
However, I don't
believe that many teachers is necessary. I thank
that if Scott and I had just
one more assistant, it would have been optimal: one
teacher for every six pairs.
(Actually, one might say it is the computer/teacher
ratio that matters! You
want that ratio to be under six for maximum
progress.)

Your original posting said there were six PC's in
the lab. I think that's
about the max for a single teacher, but there should
be no problem
with pairing up two kids per computer. If you do
this, I'd limit it
to 10 kids on 5 computers, at least for your first
time. That would
also leave one machine available as your "demo"
machine. You also
said it would be open to kids from 5th-8th grade. We
had
that same span for the "Bring your child to work
day". In that case,
the eighth grader was noticably faster and more
self-sufficient than
the youngest kid. If that happens in your class, you
could recruit the
fastest kids as teachers.

Good luck!

-- John






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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2003 1:53 pm    Post subject: Simply Seeking Syllabus for 5th-8th Grade Squeaking Reply with quote

I just want to echo what Dave has said with the experiences I've had with
9th and 10th graders using Squeak this past school year. I've had to blend
in the Squeak experiences with the regular day to day classroom activities,
which means that most of the time I was not given the opportunity of showing
a demonstration first. What I've found is that there is great power in
ownership and then presentation to peers and professionals. Squeak gives
them ownership and squeakland.org will be one source of presentation.

The level of creativity, professionalism, and pride was astounding when the
students knew that they were going to be acknowledged and peer reviewed.
And as much as I'd like to take credit for this, I had very little to do
with it other than being a source of input and support when needed.

Congrats to Michael and all for getting Squeakland.org up and running!
Naala

Quote:
----------
From: Dave Master
Reply To: squeakland@squeakland.org
Sent: Thursday, May 3, 2001 11:28 AM
To: squeakland@squeakland.org
Cc: John.Maloney@disney.com
Subject: Re: Simply Seeking Syllabus for 5th-8th Grade Squeaking

This issue you've uncovered and focused on, I think,
is one of the most central issues in education,
curriculum design and teaching. I've struggled, and
continue to struggle, with this delicate balance and
"dance" of exploration and instruction every day. I
don't have any pat answers, nor do I think there are
any;but I'll share my experience struggling with
it...here 'goes...
I have scaffolded this issue from a number of
directions over the years...I personally don't feel it
is an "either/or" proposition; at least from my
experience. I agree that if students whom are
introduced to a demo may "get farther", if "farther"
is defined in a certain manner and, if "farther" is
our goal. But, first we should determine what
"farther" is and if it is always desirable.
I've found that a steady diet of direction at
the outset of activities cripples students in other
ways later on...in ways that traditional schools fail
to measure, or seem to care about. Having the students
try to apprehend something initially, and trying to
comprehend it for themselves, constructing their own
initial conceptualization to test in demonstration
first to their friends and trusted peers...being
allowed to look over one another's shoulder and
"cheat" in this second stage of development is some of
the best scaffolded learning I've ever seen in my
classes.And all of it happened with little or no
direction on my part.
I found that after a period of individual, "joyous
exploration" and apprehension (in every sense of that
word!); and a period of peripheral and peer-scaffolded
"testing"; my students felt that their personal "take"
on the challenge was honored (as divergent as it may
have been) and, that they then had more confidence in
their ability to explicitly exhibit that
understanding with a "public" performance of
their"take" to the class.In fact, many of my students
would crack into the operating systems of the
computers when they needed to; and I'm at a loss to
even begin to explain to them how to accomplish THAT
feat.(Alan usually came in and hired THOSE kids from
my class! ha ha)
Over the last two decades, hundreds of my
students have gone on into professions in the arts,
animation, media and software and hardware design.
And, the ones that moved into the creative aspects of
these fields all have credited this initial period of
"messin' about" with a concept or a "tool", with their
professional confidence in muddling thru frustrating
challenges. (Martha Stone Wiske and David Perkins
write about this process in their book, TEACHING FOR
UNDERSTANDING; as does Alfred North Whitehead in his
book THE AIMS OF EDUCATION, he calls this "the stage
of romance").
I am not so "Pollyanna" as to think that every
child must muddle thru every process from the
get-go...but, I think we should be careful not to
excise some healthy anxiety from the learning equation
too quickly and too often. Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi
writes quite convincingly and eloquently about the
delicate balance between anxiety and the growth of
ability and self-efficacy (his books FLOW; CREATIVITY;
and TALENTED TEENAGERS are quite provocative on this
matter).
The teacher's timely interventions and
scaffolding of each students journey into
understanding of more complex challenges is the
musicianship and artistry of teaching; when to "teach"
and when to question, challenge and support. I've
tried for my entire career to design ME (the teacher)
out of as much of this process as is possible. To
design experiences that engage students at an access
point they feel comfortable with almost
immediately...but, not a dumbed down curricular
task...but, a challenge that quickly leads them into
self-empowerment and complexity appropriate to their
interest and ability level at any given point. This is
the never-ending challenge that drives me every day.
I presently co-direct a Virtual Distance Animation
program called ACME that utilizes this approach with
H.S. and University students across the nation...it is
a derlicate balance every telecast...AND, we've added
to the mix bi-weekly interventions and critique and
challenges from professionals in the field...when a
student, a teacher and a class think that they've "got
it" they can "up the ante" and show it to a
professional in the field. We call this "who
sez?".This "social validation process" exists in the
real world; and I believe it is crucial for the
development of not only the students, but quite
possibly more enlightenening for we teachers, to
engage in this "dance" of reconciliation and
critque.(Again, Csikszentmihalyi's book CREATIVITY
really gets into this delicate, but real, social
"dance").
If I hadn't opened my classroom doors and my
curriculum to field professional critque my strategies
and personal understanding would have grown at a
snails pace. Frank Thomas, Chuck Jones and Bill Scott
helped me become a bridge to the future for my
students. But, professional intervention can become
mere training in technique if we don't watch out for
balance between personal expression and principled
instruction...a question of insightful design,timely
intervention and teacher "musicianship" and ongoing
reflection about our own practice, focused on student
evidence and performance...and, finally a dash, or
whatever you can get, of "who sez?"
I think one of the many great experiments that
"Squeak" may launch many of us into is just such
reflections, observations, dialogue and collections of
anecdotal evidence...hopefully some patterns may
emerge...what a great journey it will be!
Thanks Jim and John for stimulating me so
much this morning...now, back to it! Dave Master
<dave_master_edu@yahoo.com>

--- John.Maloney@disney.com wrote:
Quote:
Mark,

Scott Wallace and I recently taught 3 classes of 33
kids at a local elemantary
school's "Discovery Day". The first two classes were
fifth graders, the last
class was sixth graders. We worked throught the
"Drive-a-car" example.
Our experiences strongly supports John Steinmetz's
observations of the
Open School classes. In particular:

Re:
Quote:
One way of teaching that has worked well: at the
beginning of a session do
Quote:
a short demonstration for all the kids, showing
them the activity before
Quote:
you turn them loose to do it. That way if there are
any unfamiliar skills
Quote:
or concepts needed for success, you can introduce
them while giving
Quote:
everybody a feel for the activity.

We actually taught one of the first two classes with
an up-front demonstration
and one without it. Even though the up-front demo
takes an extra five minutes
(out of 40 minutes), the class with the demo got
further. We decided to
teach the final group with the demo and that class
also got further. One
practical thing about an up-front lecture/demo:
that's the only time you really
have the full attention of everyone in the class.
After they start their projects,
some of them will always be distracted when you ask
for their attention.
In fact, we asked them to not even start up Squeak
until we'd finished the
initial demo and introduction, and that was a good
idea.


Re:
Quote:
Iit's good to have plenty of help available for the
kids--especially at the
Quote:
beginning. So that means you should have a small
group or some assistants.
Quote:
Any computer activity involves confusions and
missteps, and Squeak is a
Quote:
research system so there are even more possible
confusions and blind alleys.

Scott and I were only two "teachers" for 33 kids who
had never seen Squeak.
I thought it would be a chaos. Actually, it worked
better than I expected, in
part because we only had 18 computers, so kids
worked in pairs. That
meant you could help two kids at once, and often one
of the two would
understand your suggestions quickly. In contrast, we
recently taught 14
kids who had never seen Squeak at Disney's "Bring
your child to work day"
and we had about seven teachers. In that situation
progress was very fast,
because kids who were stuck got immediate attention.
However, I don't
believe that many teachers is necessary. I thank
that if Scott and I had just
one more assistant, it would have been optimal: one
teacher for every six pairs.
(Actually, one might say it is the computer/teacher
ratio that matters! You
want that ratio to be under six for maximum
progress.)

Your original posting said there were six PC's in
the lab. I think that's
about the max for a single teacher, but there should
be no problem
with pairing up two kids per computer. If you do
this, I'd limit it
to 10 kids on 5 computers, at least for your first
time. That would
also leave one machine available as your "demo"
machine. You also
said it would be open to kids from 5th-8th grade. We
had
that same span for the "Bring your child to work
day". In that case,
the eighth grader was noticably faster and more
self-sufficient than
the youngest kid. If that happens in your class, you
could recruit the
fastest kids as teachers.

Good luck!

-- John






__________________________________________________
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Yahoo! Auctions - buy the things you want at great prices
http://auctions.yahoo.com/

Back to top
Guest






PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2003 1:53 pm    Post subject: Simply Seeking Syllabus for 5th-8th Grade Squeaking Reply with quote

I know from personal experience in general problem-solving that trying first to
come up with my own solution while intentionally avoiding any "contamination"
with other (potentially much more advanced) pre-existing solutions, is the best
way for me to learn something new, come up with something original, have a
critical view (and appreciation) for other people's work. I am sure this should
work very well with college students, perhaps even with some of the high-school
ones.
An essential pre-condition for this approach to work is for the subjects to have
their motivational engines started. This is why I don't know if this could work
with small children. Although it is true that peer appreciation is a strong
motivational factor very early on. But for children it is also essential to
perceive it as a (competitive) game (this is from my other personal experience -
as a father)
Another difficulty with children is that they don't have other competing
(balancing) interests. How do you keep them interested but not addicted, so that
they don't over-specialize too early ?

Thank you all for the opportunity to learn and exchange ideas on so many
fascinating subjects,

Florin





dave_master_edu@yahoo.com on 05/03/2001 02:28:40 PM

Please respond to squeakland@squeakland.org

To: squeakland@squeakland.org
cc: John.Maloney@disney.com (bcc: Florin X Mateoc)
Subject: Re: Simply Seeking Syllabus for 5th-8th Grade Squeaking




This issue you've uncovered and focused on, I think,
is one of the most central issues in education,
curriculum design and teaching. I've struggled, and
continue to struggle, with this delicate balance and
"dance" of exploration and instruction every day. I
don't have any pat answers, nor do I think there are
any;but I'll share my experience struggling with
it...here 'goes...
I have scaffolded this issue from a number of
directions over the years...I personally don't feel it
is an "either/or" proposition; at least from my
experience. I agree that if students whom are
introduced to a demo may "get farther", if "farther"
is defined in a certain manner and, if "farther" is
our goal. But, first we should determine what
"farther" is and if it is always desirable.
I've found that a steady diet of direction at
the outset of activities cripples students in other
ways later on...in ways that traditional schools fail
to measure, or seem to care about. Having the students
try to apprehend something initially, and trying to
comprehend it for themselves, constructing their own
initial conceptualization to test in demonstration
first to their friends and trusted peers...being
allowed to look over one another's shoulder and
"cheat" in this second stage of development is some of
the best scaffolded learning I've ever seen in my
classes.And all of it happened with little or no
direction on my part.
I found that after a period of individual, "joyous
exploration" and apprehension (in every sense of that
word!); and a period of peripheral and peer-scaffolded
"testing"; my students felt that their personal "take"
on the challenge was honored (as divergent as it may
have been) and, that they then had more confidence in
their ability to explicitly exhibit that
understanding with a "public" performance of
their"take" to the class.In fact, many of my students
would crack into the operating systems of the
computers when they needed to; and I'm at a loss to
even begin to explain to them how to accomplish THAT
feat.(Alan usually came in and hired THOSE kids from
my class! ha ha)
Over the last two decades, hundreds of my
students have gone on into professions in the arts,
animation, media and software and hardware design.
And, the ones that moved into the creative aspects of
these fields all have credited this initial period of
"messin' about" with a concept or a "tool", with their
professional confidence in muddling thru frustrating
challenges. (Martha Stone Wiske and David Perkins
write about this process in their book, TEACHING FOR
UNDERSTANDING; as does Alfred North Whitehead in his
book THE AIMS OF EDUCATION, he calls this "the stage
of romance").
I am not so "Pollyanna" as to think that every
child must muddle thru every process from the
get-go...but, I think we should be careful not to
excise some healthy anxiety from the learning equation
too quickly and too often. Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi
writes quite convincingly and eloquently about the
delicate balance between anxiety and the growth of
ability and self-efficacy (his books FLOW; CREATIVITY;
and TALENTED TEENAGERS are quite provocative on this
matter).
The teacher's timely interventions and
scaffolding of each students journey into
understanding of more complex challenges is the
musicianship and artistry of teaching; when to "teach"
and when to question, challenge and support. I've
tried for my entire career to design ME (the teacher)
out of as much of this process as is possible. To
design experiences that engage students at an access
point they feel comfortable with almost
immediately...but, not a dumbed down curricular
task...but, a challenge that quickly leads them into
self-empowerment and complexity appropriate to their
interest and ability level at any given point. This is
the never-ending challenge that drives me every day.
I presently co-direct a Virtual Distance Animation
program called ACME that utilizes this approach with
H.S. and University students across the nation...it is
a derlicate balance every telecast...AND, we've added
to the mix bi-weekly interventions and critique and
challenges from professionals in the field...when a
student, a teacher and a class think that they've "got
it" they can "up the ante" and show it to a
professional in the field. We call this "who
sez?".This "social validation process" exists in the
real world; and I believe it is crucial for the
development of not only the students, but quite
possibly more enlightenening for we teachers, to
engage in this "dance" of reconciliation and
critque.(Again, Csikszentmihalyi's book CREATIVITY
really gets into this delicate, but real, social
"dance").
If I hadn't opened my classroom doors and my
curriculum to field professional critque my strategies
and personal understanding would have grown at a
snails pace. Frank Thomas, Chuck Jones and Bill Scott
helped me become a bridge to the future for my
students. But, professional intervention can become
mere training in technique if we don't watch out for
balance between personal expression and principled
instruction...a question of insightful design,timely
intervention and teacher "musicianship" and ongoing
reflection about our own practice, focused on student
evidence and performance...and, finally a dash, or
whatever you can get, of "who sez?"
I think one of the many great experiments that
"Squeak" may launch many of us into is just such
reflections, observations, dialogue and collections of
anecdotal evidence...hopefully some patterns may
emerge...what a great journey it will be!
Thanks Jim and John for stimulating me so
much this morning...now, back to it! Dave Master
<dave_master_edu@yahoo.com>

--- John.Maloney@disney.com wrote:
Quote:
Mark,

Scott Wallace and I recently taught 3 classes of 33
kids at a local elemantary
school's "Discovery Day". The first two classes were
fifth graders, the last
class was sixth graders. We worked throught the
"Drive-a-car" example.
Our experiences strongly supports John Steinmetz's
observations of the
Open School classes. In particular:

Re:
Quote:
One way of teaching that has worked well: at the
beginning of a session do
Quote:
a short demonstration for all the kids, showing
them the activity before
Quote:
you turn them loose to do it. That way if there are
any unfamiliar skills
Quote:
or concepts needed for success, you can introduce
them while giving
Quote:
everybody a feel for the activity.

We actually taught one of the first two classes with
an up-front demonstration
and one without it. Even though the up-front demo
takes an extra five minutes
(out of 40 minutes), the class with the demo got
further. We decided to
teach the final group with the demo and that class
also got further. One
practical thing about an up-front lecture/demo:
that's the only time you really
have the full attention of everyone in the class.
After they start their projects,
some of them will always be distracted when you ask
for their attention.
In fact, we asked them to not even start up Squeak
until we'd finished the
initial demo and introduction, and that was a good
idea.


Re:
Quote:
Iit's good to have plenty of help available for the
kids--especially at the
Quote:
beginning. So that means you should have a small
group or some assistants.
Quote:
Any computer activity involves confusions and
missteps, and Squeak is a
Quote:
research system so there are even more possible
confusions and blind alleys.

Scott and I were only two "teachers" for 33 kids who
had never seen Squeak.
I thought it would be a chaos. Actually, it worked
better than I expected, in
part because we only had 18 computers, so kids
worked in pairs. That
meant you could help two kids at once, and often one
of the two would
understand your suggestions quickly. In contrast, we
recently taught 14
kids who had never seen Squeak at Disney's "Bring
your child to work day"
and we had about seven teachers. In that situation
progress was very fast,
because kids who were stuck got immediate attention.
However, I don't
believe that many teachers is necessary. I thank
that if Scott and I had just
one more assistant, it would have been optimal: one
teacher for every six pairs.
(Actually, one might say it is the computer/teacher
ratio that matters! You
want that ratio to be under six for maximum
progress.)

Your original posting said there were six PC's in
the lab. I think that's
about the max for a single teacher, but there should
be no problem
with pairing up two kids per computer. If you do
this, I'd limit it
to 10 kids on 5 computers, at least for your first
time. That would
also leave one machine available as your "demo"
machine. You also
said it would be open to kids from 5th-8th grade. We
had
that same span for the "Bring your child to work
day". In that case,
the eighth grader was noticably faster and more
self-sufficient than
the youngest kid. If that happens in your class, you
could recruit the
fastest kids as teachers.

Good luck!

-- John






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http://auctions.yahoo.com/







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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2003 1:53 pm    Post subject: Simply Seeking Syllabus for 5th-8th Grade Squeaking Reply with quote

My experience working with first, second, and third graders in my class
tells me that we won't need to worry about students needing very much, if
any, demonstration time. At a table with rubber bands, toilet paper rolls,
paper clips, masking tape and the challenge to make a rocket, 5-9 year olds
operated in the same way Dave Master describes his students working. The
designs varied, the "messing around" was intense and productive, and
apprenticeship rather than competition was inherent. The conditions that
Dave Master creates for his students are those that Dewey said (How We
Think) were necessary for all students, regardless of age. In fact, he
asserts that prior to any formal schooling, young children problem solve
and move toward inquiry naturally through experience. Teaching comes in
only to help students make connections between and among the experiences,
and later to set up the conditions so that consecutive experiences suggest
connections themselves.

Sidnie Myrick

Quote:
I know from personal experience in general problem-solving that trying
first to
come up with my own solution while intentionally avoiding any "contamination"
with other (potentially much more advanced) pre-existing solutions, is the
best
way for me to learn something new, come up with something original, have a
critical view (and appreciation) for other people's work. I am sure this
should
work very well with college students, perhaps even with some of the
high-school
ones.
An essential pre-condition for this approach to work is for the subjects
to have
their motivational engines started. This is why I don't know if this could
work
with small children. Although it is true that peer appreciation is a strong
motivational factor very early on. But for children it is also essential to
perceive it as a (competitive) game (this is from my other personal
experience -
as a father)
Another difficulty with children is that they don't have other competing
(balancing) interests. How do you keep them interested but not addicted,
so that
they don't over-specialize too early ?

Thank you all for the opportunity to learn and exchange ideas on so many
fascinating subjects,

Florin





dave_master_edu@yahoo.com on 05/03/2001 02:28:40 PM

Please respond to squeakland@squeakland.org

To: squeakland@squeakland.org
cc: John.Maloney@disney.com (bcc: Florin X Mateoc)
Subject: Re: Simply Seeking Syllabus for 5th-8th Grade Squeaking




This issue you've uncovered and focused on, I think,
is one of the most central issues in education,
curriculum design and teaching. I've struggled, and
continue to struggle, with this delicate balance and
"dance" of exploration and instruction every day. I
don't have any pat answers, nor do I think there are
any;but I'll share my experience struggling with
it...here 'goes...
I have scaffolded this issue from a number of
directions over the years...I personally don't feel it
is an "either/or" proposition; at least from my
experience. I agree that if students whom are
introduced to a demo may "get farther", if "farther"
is defined in a certain manner and, if "farther" is
our goal. But, first we should determine what
"farther" is and if it is always desirable.
I've found that a steady diet of direction at
the outset of activities cripples students in other
ways later on...in ways that traditional schools fail
to measure, or seem to care about. Having the students
try to apprehend something initially, and trying to
comprehend it for themselves, constructing their own
initial conceptualization to test in demonstration
first to their friends and trusted peers...being
allowed to look over one another's shoulder and
"cheat" in this second stage of development is some of
the best scaffolded learning I've ever seen in my
classes.And all of it happened with little or no
direction on my part.
I found that after a period of individual, "joyous
exploration" and apprehension (in every sense of that
word!); and a period of peripheral and peer-scaffolded
"testing"; my students felt that their personal "take"
on the challenge was honored (as divergent as it may
have been) and, that they then had more confidence in
their ability to explicitly exhibit that
understanding with a "public" performance of
their"take" to the class.In fact, many of my students
would crack into the operating systems of the
computers when they needed to; and I'm at a loss to
even begin to explain to them how to accomplish THAT
feat.(Alan usually came in and hired THOSE kids from
my class! ha ha)
Over the last two decades, hundreds of my
students have gone on into professions in the arts,
animation, media and software and hardware design.
And, the ones that moved into the creative aspects of
these fields all have credited this initial period of
"messin' about" with a concept or a "tool", with their
professional confidence in muddling thru frustrating
challenges. (Martha Stone Wiske and David Perkins
write about this process in their book, TEACHING FOR
UNDERSTANDING; as does Alfred North Whitehead in his
book THE AIMS OF EDUCATION, he calls this "the stage
of romance").
I am not so "Pollyanna" as to think that every
child must muddle thru every process from the
get-go...but, I think we should be careful not to
excise some healthy anxiety from the learning equation
too quickly and too often. Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi
writes quite convincingly and eloquently about the
delicate balance between anxiety and the growth of
ability and self-efficacy (his books FLOW; CREATIVITY;
and TALENTED TEENAGERS are quite provocative on this
matter).
The teacher's timely interventions and
scaffolding of each students journey into
understanding of more complex challenges is the
musicianship and artistry of teaching; when to "teach"
and when to question, challenge and support. I've
tried for my entire career to design ME (the teacher)
out of as much of this process as is possible. To
design experiences that engage students at an access
point they feel comfortable with almost
immediately...but, not a dumbed down curricular
task...but, a challenge that quickly leads them into
self-empowerment and complexity appropriate to their
interest and ability level at any given point. This is
the never-ending challenge that drives me every day.
I presently co-direct a Virtual Distance Animation
program called ACME that utilizes this approach with
H.S. and University students across the nation...it is
a derlicate balance every telecast...AND, we've added
to the mix bi-weekly interventions and critique and
challenges from professionals in the field...when a
student, a teacher and a class think that they've "got
it" they can "up the ante" and show it to a
professional in the field. We call this "who
sez?".This "social validation process" exists in the
real world; and I believe it is crucial for the
development of not only the students, but quite
possibly more enlightenening for we teachers, to
engage in this "dance" of reconciliation and
critque.(Again, Csikszentmihalyi's book CREATIVITY
really gets into this delicate, but real, social
"dance").
If I hadn't opened my classroom doors and my
curriculum to field professional critque my strategies
and personal understanding would have grown at a
snails pace. Frank Thomas, Chuck Jones and Bill Scott
helped me become a bridge to the future for my
students. But, professional intervention can become
mere training in technique if we don't watch out for
balance between personal expression and principled
instruction...a question of insightful design,timely
intervention and teacher "musicianship" and ongoing
reflection about our own practice, focused on student
evidence and performance...and, finally a dash, or
whatever you can get, of "who sez?"
I think one of the many great experiments that
"Squeak" may launch many of us into is just such
reflections, observations, dialogue and collections of
anecdotal evidence...hopefully some patterns may
emerge...what a great journey it will be!
Thanks Jim and John for stimulating me so
much this morning...now, back to it! Dave Master
<dave_master_edu@yahoo.com>

--- John.Maloney@disney.com wrote:
Quote:
Mark,

Scott Wallace and I recently taught 3 classes of 33
kids at a local elemantary
school's "Discovery Day". The first two classes were
fifth graders, the last
class was sixth graders. We worked throught the
"Drive-a-car" example.
Our experiences strongly supports John Steinmetz's
observations of the
Open School classes. In particular:

Re:
Quote:
One way of teaching that has worked well: at the
beginning of a session do
Quote:
a short demonstration for all the kids, showing
them the activity before
Quote:
you turn them loose to do it. That way if there are
any unfamiliar skills
Quote:
or concepts needed for success, you can introduce
them while giving
Quote:
everybody a feel for the activity.

We actually taught one of the first two classes with
an up-front demonstration
and one without it. Even though the up-front demo
takes an extra five minutes
(out of 40 minutes), the class with the demo got
further. We decided to
teach the final group with the demo and that class
also got further. One
practical thing about an up-front lecture/demo:
that's the only time you really
have the full attention of everyone in the class.
After they start their projects,
some of them will always be distracted when you ask
for their attention.
In fact, we asked them to not even start up Squeak
until we'd finished the
initial demo and introduction, and that was a good
idea.


Re:
Quote:
Iit's good to have plenty of help available for the
kids--especially at the
Quote:
beginning. So that means you should have a small
group or some assistants.
Quote:
Any computer activity involves confusions and
missteps, and Squeak is a
Quote:
research system so there are even more possible
confusions and blind alleys.

Scott and I were only two "teachers" for 33 kids who
had never seen Squeak.
I thought it would be a chaos. Actually, it worked
better than I expected, in
part because we only had 18 computers, so kids
worked in pairs. That
meant you could help two kids at once, and often one
of the two would
understand your suggestions quickly. In contrast, we
recently taught 14
kids who had never seen Squeak at Disney's "Bring
your child to work day"
and we had about seven teachers. In that situation
progress was very fast,
because kids who were stuck got immediate attention.
However, I don't
believe that many teachers is necessary. I thank
that if Scott and I had just
one more assistant, it would have been optimal: one
teacher for every six pairs.
(Actually, one might say it is the computer/teacher
ratio that matters! You
want that ratio to be under six for maximum
progress.)

Your original posting said there were six PC's in
the lab. I think that's
about the max for a single teacher, but there should
be no problem
with pairing up two kids per computer. If you do
this, I'd limit it
to 10 kids on 5 computers, at least for your first
time. That would
also leave one machine available as your "demo"
machine. You also
said it would be open to kids from 5th-8th grade. We
had
that same span for the "Bring your child to work
day". In that case,
the eighth grader was noticably faster and more
self-sufficient than
the youngest kid. If that happens in your class, you
could recruit the
fastest kids as teachers.

Good luck!

-- John






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