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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

TEACHER TUESDAY: When all else fails. . .

. . .what does today's teacher do when the technology tanks?  When the Powerpoints, laptops, Mobi slates, and Smartboards go down and you are left with thirty expectant faces looking to you for the alternative plan? Do you have one?

This is one area where a little experience is definitely a plus.  When the younger teachers were pulling their hair out waiting for the technology to reboot, I pulled a few tricks out of my vast memory banks of the days when the classroom actually utilized books, paper, and pencils.

Here are some ideas for those days when the best laid techie plans go awry:  (Sorry, elementary teachers, I am wired for secondary!)


  • If you have textbooks in the room, you can have students pass those out.  Your job will be to find a place in the book that corresponds to what your lesson is supposed to be about.  Then you can have them take turns reading aloud right out of the book! Isn't that a novel idea?  ; )
  • Have students open their notebooks or journals and divide the room into teams.  Let the teams take turns asking each other questions from their vocabulary notes.  You can keep score if you want.
  • Ask a student in the classroom a question from the material they have been learning. They then ask a student of their choice another question.  Continue until everyone has had a chance to ask and answer a question.
  • Choose a writing topic pertaining to your lesson material.  Have students write an opinion essay or an instruction letter to a younger student.  Then have volunteers share their essays and letters.
  • Play "Hangman" with vocabulary words.  Divide students into teams.  When someone guesses the word, the team has to come up with the definition to score.
  • Have students illustrate something from the previous lesson.
  • Divide students into groups.  Have them use their textbook or notes to create mini lessons which they will then present to the rest of the class.
  • Have students answer the questions at the end of the chapter?  It worked for us!
These are just a few of the ideas that I used in my own classroom.  You can probably think of many others.  Technology is a wonderful thing, but you must be prepared for the inevitable breakdown.  When it happens you will amaze yourself and your students by having a Plan B!  And hopefully the system will be up and running in no time. . .

XOXO