I just realized: I teach 3 classes of freshmen. I’ve never had even one class before that was majority freshmen. (Previously the class I had with the youngest students was Geometry, and the few freshmen in that course were definitely different than the mainstream.) Today I’m reminded that these kids are pretty young. The ways they want to play and get distracted are very childlike, as opposed to the more devious and rebellious moves pulled by juniors and seniors. The ways to get them back on track are simpler and more direct. It feels good to realize why some of my recent lessons have been missing the mark. I’m not providing enough support. I’ve been going too fast.
Today, I’m teaching a lesson about “Efficient Computing” where students list their top annoyances and best tricks for doing things quickly. (Thanks to Orange for the suggestion in a previous comment!) Then they share these annoyances and tips with each other, and hopefully learn something useful. In these classes I have some students who are just learning control-c / control-v, and other students who can rattle off the list of alt-tab, alt-f4, etc. so there’s some real information being shared.