Main thing before I come to class is to figure out the duplicating objects across pages problem. Once I’m in a quiet place takes all of five minutes to figure it out. Key is to move or resize the object immediately after drawing it and clicking Keep, to “set” it on the page. Absolutely critical to know, we probably lost a day on this problem. Also another interesting thing that only happens in book mode. Moving an object temporarily “lifts” it off the page. Ramifications in scripting, because if you were to move an object by hand (instead of say with the joystick) and interact it with something to cause it to fire a script to go to the next page, the object itself will stay above the book, and end up on the next the page.

Lesson plan is basically every thing that can go wrong in book mode, as well the technique for duplicating objects and moving them from page to page. As an example, I create a story of a shark coming after a barracuda, where I’m duplicating the shark and barracuda and changing their sizes and angles on each page to make it look like the shark is coming after then eating the barracuda.

When moving duplicates between pages, key thing is to move the object you’ve duplicated far enough off the page so that it is floating above the page instead of getting clipped by it. Can be tricky, but more often than not, the secret is to move the sketch so that its midpoint is off the page. If you see it clipped instead, try again.

For the last page, with the shark eating the cuda, we review the repaint command to paint in the open mouth and blood, which most of the kids have no problem remembering how to do.

Lesson goes well, but once the kids start in on it themselves, discipline quickly becomes an issue. Mary is not here today, leaving me and LaReesa, neither of whom is trained for this kind of madness. It’s a damn tricky thing, as some of the really creative kids are also the most problematic, and the challenge is to run the tightrope between nurturing the kids’ creativity, which is by definition a messy thing, and then to also keeping them from flying off the walls.

Problem multiplied by trying to shoot video at the same time. Makes it nearly impossible to answer technical questions and maintain discipline at the same time. Absolutely critical to have Mary here – or at least someone who can yell at these kids to get them settled down.

Fascinating though how some of the kids, like Liana, Elvis and A’Feyah, are able to retain this almost monk like calm in the midst of the chaos and totally concentrate on working on their storybooks. Elvis is doing a neat story on driving the Barge with his dad, A’Feyah on her dog and Liana on the adventures of a pinkish looking bear. Other kids are trying, but many end up not being satisfied and are continually starting over with new stories.

Another issue that comes up is page size. Originally the kids were taught to spread the page across the screen, but this becomes a problem when kids try and move objects from one page to another – as there’s not enough room “off the page” to do it easily. Easy fix, but best to just create the page in beginning with adequate space to the side of it.

As before some of the kids don’t want to keep going with their stories – when they think they’re done and class is nearly over – they are done, period. As class is almost finished, I help them explore some of the hidden toys in Etoys. In showing them the camera object, I find out that incredibly, Tracy has already discovered it on her own earlier. I asked her why she never told me about it and she said that she had forgot. Figured it must have been the thing that she was trying to think of when she said she had discovered something cool when she was exploring etoys for the weekend challenge, but she couldn’t remember it. Oh well, there went her candy bar.

By the end of class we’ve been severely taxed with major discipline issues. Whole thing pretty frustrating, especially when you add the fact that they already been through a long day of school already.

Despite that, this class seems a turning point, as it’s the first time in the entire pilot where for the most part everything works. The new mice have fixed most of the trackpad issues, the new XO system build, even more problems, and we have Etoys humming along now, with everything in it working pretty much as expected. Were we at this stage at say class three, instead of class thirteen, stunning to think how much progress we could have made by now.

Feel we’ve been a bit like the first soldiers on the beach a D-Day, getting shot to hell and taking terrible losses, but by the grace of God, hopefully making things better for those who will follow us.

It for now.

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