Saturday, October 27, 2007

These things bug the ever-living $#!% out of me!

Make a mental picture: I am teaching my class (or trying to anyway), and I keep hearing this loud clicking and whirring noise. I look around the room, and I see it:

These itty-bitty skateboards - called Tech Decks - are becoming the bane of my existence in the classroom. Many of the 7th and 8th grade boys I teach are constantly fiddling with these things in the middle of class; doing little finger tricks which make the skateboard do jumps and 180s right onto the hard surface of their desk... all while I am trying to give instruction. I know more than a few fellow teachers check this blog - are any of you having to put up with these annoying little objects in your classroom?

When I see them out, I don't even say a word anymore; I just walk over and take them. This particular Tech Deck that my three year old son is holding for the camera was confiscated, stuffed in my pocket, and then forgotten about by both teacher and student. I found it in my pocket when I got home.

Have I given it back to its owner? I'll give you a hint: he hasn't asked for it, and my son is having a lot of fun playing with it.

Good Day to You, Sir

30 comments:

Mrs. Bluebird said...

Ah, the infamous tech decks. I've been confiscating these things for the past three years. At the end of last year I had a collection of about a dozen in my desk. I haven't seen as many this year so either my 7th graders aren't playing with them as much, I don't have a lot of skaters this year, or they've heard I'm a meanie who takes away their toys. I pretty much tell them at the beginning of the year that if I catch them with one, I'll take it away. Then I show them my collection from previous years. It might have worked.

Matthew K. Tabor said...

I remember first coming across these maybe... 7 years ago in Northern CA. The kids called them "fingerboards," I don't think there was a specific company making them famous like with Tech Decks.

I was fascinated with them. Why? Because it blew my mind that kids could be into something so lame, especially when there are plenty of cooler things out there.

bluejay said...

Wow! Do I live in another universe, in the absolute boonies, are my students waaay out of touch, or what?? I have never seen or heard of these things, and no student has ever had one in the classroom. Like, what planet are they on?

Matthew K. Tabor said...

Consider yourself blessed.

I don't even have kids or a classroom and these things still manage to annoy the piss out of me on occasion.

Darren said...

I came here to see if anyone was going to be screaming at you about theft!

Mrs. Bluebird said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks these are some of the dumbest toys ever invented. I actually asked some of my students what the point of them were...I mean how stupid is it to have a miniature skateboard to do tricks? It's not like it's a real skateboard. Boring.

Chanman said...

Don't think of it as theft. Think of it as me holding this object for the student until he is good and ready to claim it.

loonyhiker said...

I must live on another universe too because I've never seen or heard of these things either. But if the kids are buying them I sure wish I invented them and had the market on them!

MasonPiper said...

As an AP the only ones I get to deal with are those that parents want back, why, I do not know. That involves me getting it from the teacher, holding it in my office and then telling the parent that if it, or one like it, is taken from lil bobby again, they can pick it up at the end of the year. I also have to listen to their convition that bobby is special and rules do not apply to him, so he can have and play with whatever he needs as it helps his: ADD/ADHD/Stress/karma/whatever and I will be discriminating if I do not allow him to do as he pleases. I DO resent the hour or so it takes me to do this. Once upon a time when I was a woodshop teacher, I used to make those students that carried them, design and build a lil skate park in addition to the regular requirements. I figured if they needed to play with one they needed to build the park. Oh yeah, it had to be to scale, every piece needed to be diagramed and planed out with materials list etc. I also required a written description of the use of each area of the park and how it was used. This was graded just like an English project. I figured if I had Math, Language Arts, Science(physics of the sport), and my curriculum, I would be fine. The only problem was, I had 5-10 students each semester make one, not because they were caught playing in class, but it was the cool project.

Oh well, I know they had to learn something
Peace
Piper

The Vegas Art Guy said...

Nobody in my classes has been that dumb...

yet...

But now that I just cursed myself...

McSwain said...

I teach 4th grade. I collected a whole drawer full of those things last year.

McSwain said...

Oh, and when I took them away? The kids made little skateboarding motions with their hands and pretended they were playing with them anyway.

Poor_Statue said...

I also have a whole drawer of them, but I haven't seen any kids playing with them for a few years now.

Poor_Statue said...

I also have a whole drawer of them, but I haven't seen any in a couple of years.

Polski3 said...

I've only gotten one of them this year. We take them away. I tell the student their parent can fetch it from me.

Austin said...

Tech decks are fucking sweet.

student said...

Teck Decks are fucking sweet.

Taylor said...

I have 8 tech decks. They don't bother me. Teachers don't have to take them. Stupid. They'll never never learn how to share.

Leigh said...

I only collected on this year. It was from a girl named Audra. I still have it. My son seen it. I'm not letting him get to it. Audra's mom and I had a talk. Her mom said at the next parent teacher conference to return it to her. Then she will give it to Audra.

Anonymous said...

I have about 5 in a half dozens of tech decks in my desk. I've been teaching for 15 years. I show the boys I teach who bring tech decks to school the collection of tech decks I've confiscated. They think I don't take toys or tech decks because I have 7 children. Or they think I'm too beautiful and look like a nice person. Or maybe too young to do something like that.I am 34 years old. For the boys I teach I tell them just because I have blonde hair, or because I have 7 children doesn't mean that I won't take there toys.

chucha said...

Who is the best teacher you remember? Was it someone who honed in on YOUR interests and taught you things that were meaningful to YOU or was it the teacher who taught from the texts, by the texts, for every subject? Think about it. We confiscate things from our students all of the time. Is it so hard to teach with things that are meaningful to the kids? Tech Deckers - draw a map plan for a skatepark (social studies); build one large one with with cardboard as a group (social skills,science); practice your finger board skills in this park (fine motor to support writing); write out a schedule or competition to take place in the classroom (math); get my idea?! Tamogatchi's - write out what the icon features mean and do; draw or write the instructions on how to play all 4 games; graph out the daily activities of your tamogatchi - it can go on and on!

Making the lessons meaningful for your students will leave them inspired and you may learn a thing or two along the way.

Just a friendly thought!

Matthew K. Tabor said...

chucha,

I liked those teachers until I was 16, took a college course and recognized the fact that I was woefully unprepared for the coursework compared to my classmates. I lagged behind very badly in part because I didn't have teachers who gave me much knowledge to work with.

Developing those "fine motor" skills to support writing doesn't much matter when you aren't able to write worth a damn.

Buckhorn Road said...

Thank you for your suggestions Chucha. Unfortunately, I just checked my 7th grade world history and 8th grade U.S. history standards, and there is nothing in either of those standards about tech decks or skateboard parks.

Let me guess, you must teach preschool?

Good luck to you,
Chanman

Anonymous said...

Chanman,
You have a good point when you talk about a student with a tech deck, play with it during class, and it disrupts your class. iF i had a student who did that I totally agree with you. Students should leave their property (toys, cell phones, walkmans, other disruptive items)at home. Or else they will get confiscated. That was a good lesson about not bringing toys to school.

Anonymous said...

Tech Decks are awesome it teaches hand coordination and they occupy the kids and teaches laws of physics they are sweet.

Taylor said...

Well, it's theft alright for you to do that. Tech Decks are good to you so you don'tg scrape of your as* on a real board. And Tech Decks make good practice on how your legs are supposed to look when doing those tricks on a real board.

Zach said...

doing tricks on fingerboards is not stupid at all. the motions on your fingers with a fingerboard are almost exactly the same as the manuevers with your feet on a skateboard. so don't say it's stupid. also u teachers need to be more tolerant, cause if it the toy is made of wood instead of plastic, you're taking away a valuable. wooden fingerboards go for 10's of dollars

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