So it came to pass that in the 3rd week of September, I had a group that went completely differently than what I had expected. I knew two of the boys, and the two others had not come to me with any particular "be aware ofs..." One showed up late, missing the review of the agenda, and things went south from there. Words were crashing like a Comic Strip Conversation bumper-car ride that would have made Carol Gray plaintively question, in orange word balloons, "Why? Why?" Eventually, insults flew. At this point, gentle, accommodating Sean went into full stern mode, but in my barely concealed panic, I also realized I had something that could be so novel, so motivating (since, at this point, intrinsic motivation had left the building), that I may just have a way to salvage session #1.
These kids didn't know I had an iPad.
Quickly, I showed them. Silence and rapt interest ensued. I seized this likely brief opportunity to lay out expectations for the next activity: snack and a little art thingy. I kept that list of "expected behaviors" brief and terse: basically, sit, eat, talk nicely, draw something remotely related to what I asked, and clean up, and you get 5 minutes with the iPad, in a game of my choice.
Huge improvements noted, iPad deployed, group ended on a positive note.
So that was a reactive use of the iPad. I'm not exactly proud of it, but it happened. Stay tuned tomorrow for the proactive iPad plan that, though we still have our challenges, is making this group work quite well!
Thanks, Mr. Jobs.