I miss the internet

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More precisely, I miss streaming video. I am allowed to find still shots across cyberspace to help me in my teaching efforts. What I can’t find — and what my students and I cannot access — is anything that moves across the screen. Streaming video has been shut off for over a week with more than a week to go. Because MAP and PARCC tests are computer-based exams, we have been struggling with bandwidth throughout the year. Apparently, after we put more than 80 or so people on, the system starts throwing people off, an obviously unacceptable problem during high-stakes testing. To conserve bandwidth, we have blocked streaming video. We have been MAP testing since the beginning of last week and are now in make-ups for the MAP test, but videos will not be restored soon. PARCC’s second session starts next week.

Eduhonesty: This led to at least one funny moment in my classroom. We were making paper pots for an Earth Day lab that ended with our planting seeds. The instructional video could not be played. Helpful teachers found paper instructions which were printed and distributed to various classrooms but, frankly, I could not make out the instructions. I bogged down at the point where I doubled up the brim of the pirate hat. After wasting about 10 class minutes folding and unfolding paper, I cut the class loose to invent their own pots. Well, the idea was no tape and staples because we want the newspaper to dissolve completely in the soil. After a few minutes watching students with packaging tape making nonbiodegradable cones, I went and borrowed a couple of special education students who knew how to make the pots. The special ed teacher had pots down cold. Her students taught my students.

We all have our talents. I hit the wall on paper pots. Fortunately, we had a few twelve-year-old experts across the hall.