Kid Magnet

When elementary technology specialist Margie Coles begins working with students after school on website design, she is delighted to see them fully engaged in higher-order thinking. These successes lead her to reconsider her use of technology in the classroom. Should all students be using technology this way?

Margie is pleased with her mid-career move to technology specialist.

Margie works with students building technology skills.

Four neat rows of gleaming, white iMacs greet her in the lab each morning, like smiling faces waiting for directions, like carefully planted flowers turned toward the sun. All that potential gives Margie a shiver.

Switching to technology specialist from classroom teacher was a good move for Margie. She likes working with other teachers, helping them develop their technology skills, and seeing her support seep into their instructional practice and into the students’ lives. Like she always tells her husband, “Nothing beats the excitement of technology. It’s a kid magnet!”

Margie and Therese team teach a third-grade graphing lesson.

They had it all worked out; they’d work in Therese’s third-grade classroom. Therese would begin the lesson, focusing on getting the students organized and introducing the math concepts. When it came time to use the laptops to create the pie graphs, they’d pass the baton and Margie would take over. Margie liked this approach, since it let them both focus on their strengths, let them shine, so to speak.

Read the data collection lesson plan.

Review a sample data collection sheet, pie graph, and data interpretation sheets.

Margie learns exciting news about her after school chess club.

The post-dismissal quiet settled in like snow. Margie liked this time of day, and she used it to her advantage. She tied up loose ends, did some quality planning, got her ducks in a row for tomorrow’s lessons, and gave her email one last look before heading out for the evening. Usually, the emails were predictable. A few from colleagues, maybe one from her principal about an upcoming meeting.

Not today! Today, there was big news in Margie’s inbox: her after-school chess club team was listed as semifinalists in the City’s Internet Challenge!

Margie spent a little time poking around the chess site, remembering all the work she and the students had poured into it and all their great “ah-ha” moments. They’d done all kinds of thinking: working at higher levels, creating, evaluating, cooperating. This is how school should be! But—then—why was she reserving this kind of thinking for after school?