I was awakened this morning by the sound of C laughing in his sleep. When I told him this, once he awoke, he was very angry, and insisted that he hadn’t been laughing. I wonder why the idea of laughing in his sleep is so troubling to him.
With almost two hours before school begins, we then began the negotiation of screen time. He has become obsessed with the show “Grizzy and the Lemmings”, a very violent program similar to Looney Toons, with no voices but only sound effects and grunts. I told him that it wasn’t a good choice, and he repeated his argument that he still didn’t know “how to speak bear”. And when I then asked C why he liked it, he said “it makes me laugh”. I explained that I didn’t like how it made him behave, and he informed me that he would hide later today to watch it. Guess I’m going to have keep him busy and distracted!
He has amazing access to Netflix videos and many educational apps via his tablet. When I checked on him around 8:30 he was watching a show about counting by fives. And then he shifted to Dr. Panda’s Bus Driver game, where there is no violence, easy of play, and C has to warn birds on the road by honking his horn, has to help passengers to their seats, and has to fill up the tank when running low. It would be interesting to determine how children decide whether to passively watch a video, or to engage in a game. One of his favourites is in French: Tiny Trucks
By 8:50 C was dressed and looking at his class Virtual Classroom (Bitmoji). He chose to click on the volcano, and it took him to a great episode from SciShow Kids. Perhaps this choice was because he had driven past a volcano several times as the “bus driver”? As usual, he had a couple of suggested videos that took him from the protected ViewPure interface, into the full YouTube. Fortunately most of the suggested videos were also SciShow Kids, and so he chose to watch an episode about endangered animals, and then one on Earth Day.
It’s a “snow day”, and so when C logged in today there were only four online, and they were talking about “outages” that were keeping one of the teachers unable to connect. They finally decided to take attendance and proceed, with a plan to revert to asynchronous should the system crash. Again, since C is at the end of the alphabet, he has to hold up his name card for almost two minutes before being acknowledged, and permitted to put his card down. By the time his name was called, C was tumbling on the bed, and I was holding his name in front of the camera. (Perhaps they could just do a screen capture, and one of the two teachers could enter the data, while the other proceeded with the class activity?)
Following the opening exercises the teachers shared some of the student contributions to the Google Classroom. They shared their screen, clicked on the student images, and then invited the students to explain their creations. C chose, instead, to type names of all the people he knew, on my computer. When the teacher asked how an octopus moves, that inspired a YouTube search to see what it looks like while swimming. C told me that he needed four more arms in order to swim like an octopus! However, as with the asynchronous classroom, as soon as we exited the video, we were shown appealing “toy” videos, and C was upset when I would not permit him to watch them. The teacher shared a video of an octopus walking on land, and the choppy video, via Google Meet, was quite a bit less appealing than our direct YouTube connection had been. So, we headed down that “rabbit hole”, and spent the rest of the day exploring YouTube.
C also wanted to do some writing on my computer, and he keyed the names of all the members of his family. He is challenged by the need to use the shift key to make the characters match what he sees on the keyboard, but otherwise manages quite well to sound out the names, and type them in.
His choices this afternoon included video, outdoor play, and ongoing Lego and Transformer imaginative play. I asked him what appealed to him, in his video choices, and he could only say “it’s so cool!”. So, I think working on vocabulary, and critical consumption, will be our takeaway, instead of imposing my preferences.
Tomorrow we are going to try doing ONLY the asynchronous virtual classroom, and not stress C out by trying to connect in Google Meet.
I’ll let you know how it goes!