Have you ever wondered why your nails always look better when you get them done at the salon? How does the painter get the walls so smooth or the trim so neat? How does the presenter of a national conference get those Powerpoint slides to sync up just right with her talk? As I was hastily doing my nails the other day this thought came to mind. I have watched the pros do it countless number of times and every time they use a base coat and a top coat. I looked down at my nails with brush marks and an uneven appearance. It dawned on me...why did I think I could skip the base coat and still have them look the same? As I reflected on this thought a bit more I realized this could be applied to many things we do as teachers. If we aren't laying the foundation properly for the technology we plan to use in the classroom, is it any wonder when things don't go as smoothly as we had hoped? When was the last time you actually practiced giving a lesson with technology before giving it to the class? When I first starting teaching in my present school, I used to practice each lesson with whatever tool I was going to use. Powerpoint, the keyboard visualizer (Classroom Maestro) or even just the speaker for my playlist on my iPad. Looking back, even though I was inexperienced, many of these lessons went surprisingly well - because I didn't skip the base coat. I laid a solid foundation before trying to add the color. Of course, this doesn't guarantee a flawless presentation, but it does however up your odds! The other advantage of practicing is the model you set for your students. They might not see you practice, but when you encounter a glitch you will most likely be able to resolve it much more quickly. It might have even happened in practice, so you already know how to fix it. When you can say to your students, "oh, this happened in practice - here's all we have to do..." they will see a great example of how a little extra time on the front end can save time on the back end.
Oh, and as far as the trim being perfect and not running into the walls - they spread a little bead of caulk all around the trim so that the paint doesn't bleed over. Who knew?
If you have any thoughts on this subject, please send a comment!