Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Manilla Folders Help 7th Graders Prepare for Chromebooks

Guest Post by Charly Baker

7th Grade Math Teacher

(Charly didn't mean for me to publish this first part, but it was too good to leave out . . . --Amy)

My class began using Chromebooks this week, and the past few days have been PACKED full! We have been doing warm ups through Google Forms, using Google Docs for math projects and looking up grocery prices -- even calling Walmart when dairy prices weren't listed online! 

Needless to say we're LOVING the chromebooks.... one of my questions to my students on their 'warm up form' was... "How are you liking the Chromebooks?" and I got SO many awesome responses!!!

Who Knew Manilla Folders Could Teach So Much?


A few weeks ago, I was preparing my class to be involved in a grant with Google Chromebooks. I didn't tell them what was going to happen, I just told them that "great things were coming!" I went on and on about how I couldn't tell them because it was 'top-secret' information. Just before I drove them absolutely crazy with anticipation, I handed out a manilla folder to each student. I explained that because of the 'special things' that were going to be happening in class, I needed to know that I could trust them. Each student wrote their name on their folder in pen so no other student could claim it as theirs. (Not that my little darlings would do a thing like that! haha). I stamped each folder with a special stamp to make sure that the folder I saw 2 days later wasn't just one that they bought off the Walmart shelf when they lost their original. They were SO confused. They couldn't understand what a folder had to do with anything...

The next day in class, I told them to get out their folders for a 'folder check'. Each student was so proud that they still had their folder and that most were in perfect condition. I told them how proud I was of them, and that I expected them to look exactly this way at the end of the week. They needed to be ready to show me their folder at ANY time! I even had students messaging me over Cel.ly that they 'tucked their folder into bed' at night! They really were taking this seriously! Each day I'd check folders... I'd walk around  my classroom as students waited for me to check their folders. I would squeal or gasp with any sight of a tiny crinkle. We talked about trust. We talked about responsibility. We talked about value. I told them that if they showed me that I could trust them with a simple manilla folder, I could probably trust them with much much more! 

After about 2 weeks, I had them get out their folders one last time. Do you know what the crazy thing was? EVERY single one of my students... All 74 of them - still had their folder. Not one student had lost or misplaced it. When I told them how proud I was, I told them that we would be getting Chromebooks for class, and that some of them would have the opportunity to take them home for school work. They were speechless. I asked them if they understood why I made them carry around a silly manilla folder for 2 weeks, and across the board, they got it. They understood... and they had earned my trust. They had showed me that they are ready for more responsibility. Who knew that a 3 cent manilla folder could teach a 7th grader so much?

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