Monday, April 4, 2016

Droning On

They saw me coming.

The retailers at that discount store knew what they were doing when they set up the "pre" checkout line as a kind of a chute stocked with all sorts of appealing little doodads. As shoppers file through in an orderly queue waiting for the next available register, there are hundreds more things to look at, pick up, and perhaps even buy.

That's how I got my drone. Never even in the market for such a gadget, I got one glimpse of the flashy black and red quadcopter just as I rounded the last bend or that materialistic gauntlet and grabbed the box as I went by. It was paid for and in my bag before I even gave it a second thought, a bargain at $19.99.

That was Wednesday, and I held off even buying batteries for it until the weekend, thinking maybe, just maybe, I would come to my senses and return it. I'm so glad I didn't though, because once I got the thing operational, it was extremely entertaining. Oh, I terrified the cat and dog and crashed it all over the house, running its tiny battery down several times before I could even begin to control it. It gave me hours of Sunday fun.

And while I did improve a bit, there was still so much room for growth that I slipped it into my lunch bag this morning, so that I might practice a little at school. As I unpacked my food for the day, I set the tiny flyer and its controller on my desk and when my homeroom arrived they spotted it immediately and asked to see it fly. Only too happy to oblige, I maneuvered my drone like a big clumsy mosquito all over the classroom.

"Can I try it?" they all were desperate to know.

And here's where that teacher's motivational instinct kicked in automatically. "Maybe" I answered, "What would you do to earn a turn?"

"What do you mean?" they asked.

"Submit a proposal," I suggested, pointing to a stack of 4x6 index cards on my desk. "Think of something that would be good for you to do. It should be kind of hard, too. AND, we have to know whether you did it or not by a specific time."

"I'm going to get better grades in math and science!" one student said right away.

"Better than what?" I asked him, "And by when?"

They gave me a collective frown.

"I'm going to do my reading log tonight," another promised.

"You would do that anyway," I told her. "Think of something a little more challenging.

And in this way, I made contracts with about half of the kids to read more, write more, organize more, and be on time more.

The drone is standing by.


  1. Ha! Love this - both the image of you terrorizing your family members...and the "learning opp" you created.

  2. Keep us posted. We should all have such motivating objects on our desks!