One of today's periods involved four different stations where students would gather data. At least 10-15 minutes of the time was shot trying to:
-Get calculators that actually worked with the CBL probe and CBR ranger, because the ones I'd initially selected had linking errors, and some of the other ones in the bin didn't have the appropriate program (it wouldn't load last month when I'd tried). Also one of the calculators that finally worked had trouble with the display.
-Doubling back to the equipment room for tape measures and linking cables, which I'd neglected to bring with me initially.
-Dealing with a few low battery warnings.
Part of that's on me for not taking (even more) time setting some things up. Still, part of this is the fact that the equipment is getting old. Even my SmartBoard has orientation issues, so getting students to come up and use it is problematic... they press in one place, and the dot appears 2 cm to the left. (Or to the right, depending on if I recently tried to reorient. Myself, I've adapted.) None of this tech is can be replaced either, because we're spending so much money on photocopying, since textbooks do not always have the best questions.
Tech is a problem. I dislike the headaches of dealing with tech.
The other activity period involved rolling link-a-cubes to model an exponential function. (Can't take credit for this, learned it at a conference.) No tech here, but I got especially worried at one point when the cubes were tossed more than rolled, thinking someone was going to step on one, fall and hurt themselves. Did it happen? No. Still, that doesn't stop me from worrying irrationally about stuff.
I also worry about setting groups where people end up working with those they don't get along with, or are at a level too high or low... I can lose 20 minutes just to figuring this stuff out, so between the time and the stress, end result is I now don't bother, and let them choose. (Which worked out just as well today, when half my afternoon class was absent, so the effort would have been for nothing. Ooooh, we had 20 cm of snow fall, ooooh, means no classes, right?)
Anyway, my ability to overanalyze scenarios is a problem. (Of course, worrying about the tech breaking might be a justified fear, given what I said earlier.)
Since I don't do this sort of thing much, there's a general sense of confusion on the days when I do. To the credit of my students, they adapt well, but little things like where the CBR Ranger is pointed and use of the Trigger is something that I guess comes with practice. (And perhaps constant use, because they've used it in previous grades, but that was probably sometime last year...)
Also, I'm not so familiar with the format. I tend to misjudge how long certain things will take, even when I've run an activity before. And some groups invariably finish before others, and I always feel like things are at a bit of a loose end there (though not all students are tempted to play with the materials while waiting). I guess this is the sort of thing that can be cleared up with time, but I'm not feeling a huge desire to invest the time at this point.
Okay. So what it comes down to, in a way, is that I never feel like I can just sit back and let them have at it. (I help out in drama, I know what that can be like... no, no, there I go worrying again.) Maybe this is something that will come with time? Still, I feel ten times more comfortable when they're working in their seats.
Oh well. On the bright side for tech, our 10 year old computers are supposed to be replaced at some point before the end of the school year. So that's something.