Am I being too harsh?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by TulipsGirl, Dec 6, 2009.

  1. TulipsGirl

    TulipsGirl Cohort

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    Dec 6, 2009

    I've been going through all of my students' work, before sending them home at the end of the week... and I was pretty disappointed. Some of the work -(by students who are naturally diligent, neat workers) was pretty neat, presentable, pretty good handwriting. But as for the rest of it... I was embarrassed to send it home::eek:

    ~Names scrawled in huge letters, mostly off the line.
    ~Writing in marker, instead of pencil. And in huge letters.
    ~Doodles and scribbles all over the margins. :dizzy:

    (You may be wondering: where has this teacher been when they are doing their work?? I am usually in reading groups while they are doing this work, and my assisstant is checking work with them. I have since reminded my assistant what my standards are, and she'e happy to uphold them.)

    I KNOW that it can't be too demanding to expect a neat name, neat handwriting and in pencil. But am I asking too much of first graders not to doodle on their paper while they wait for help? A lot of homework is coming back this way, too. Isn't that what SCRAP PAPER is for?

    I drew two examples on the board of what I was seeing, and what I expected. (We had a lot of fun with the sloppy copy :) )Some were okay with it, others looked totally stressed out.

    What are your expectations? Thoughts? suggestions?
    Do you require students to redo work like this? I have so many students who would need to redo work. How do I even keep track?
     
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  3. Emma35

    Emma35 Connoisseur

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    Dec 6, 2009

    I DO expect my first graders to write their name neatly, use their personal best handwriting and use a pencil only. That is not expecting to much. I do not let my kids doodle on their work. A few have tried and I put a stop to it. There have been times when I know they have rushed through their work and it was really sloppy and they had to redo it. They weren't happy but they learned. It seems like this time of year the kids get kind of messy, often rushing through their work. I have to give out many reminders to give me their best!
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Dec 6, 2009

    I write on messy papers:

    Neater next time!

    Pencil Please!

    Print the child's name on the line to model what you want.

    Circle the scribbles and doodles, add a question mark???
     
  5. TulipsGirl

    TulipsGirl Cohort

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    Dec 6, 2009

    Thanks for the encouragement. I'm definitely going to stick with it, then! It's going to take a lot of reminders (and re-dos) to get them out if this rut...
     
  6. Emma35

    Emma35 Connoisseur

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    ..ya, but once they are out of the rut it will be worth it!
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    It's 3 weeks till Christmas. And it was a full moon.

    Six year olds, at least the one currently napping up stairs, are a million miles away. They're excited and exhuberant and exhausted.
     
  8. word girl

    word girl Rookie

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    Dec 6, 2009

    At the very least, I expect them to write their name neatly, and on the line. If it's sloppy, I have them redo their names. If the work is obviously rushed, I send them back to redo.

    Also, to combat rushing through work, I give the students 'challenge' problems to complete on the back of the paper if they finish too soon.

    Yes, even homework comes back sloppy. I will write "pencil please" or "write neatly please" if the goal is neatness or spelling. If the goal is creative writing, I will look more at content than neatness.

    As for the doodling, well... I don't get so worked up about that I guess. First graders are exploring; they're learning how to draw stars, and pretend cursive, and block lettering, and they seem to want to experiment everywhere.

    I try to tell kids that for fancy copies of things that I'm going to hang up, keep it neat. For random worksheets, I don't stress too much. If it bothers you, offer them scratch paper they can doodle on while they're waiting.
     
  9. cutelilram

    cutelilram Rookie

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    Dec 6, 2009

    OMG! I have been thinking the same about my students work. It is really frustrating that you catch these little things after it has been going on. This is only my third year of teaching so I figure I still have a lot to learn but it is upsetting when you see work that is not up to grade level when you know that the kids can do more or better.

    I am planning on keeping my students in at recess to complete work that they are too lazy to do during the morning or their homework. We eat lunch at 1 PM each day, so much of the work is done in the morning. I am tired of them not being held accountable and it is something that I need to work on.
     
  10. BB0211

    BB0211 Companion

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    Dec 6, 2009

    I think you should ask yourself what you are assessing? I neat handwriting is factored into their grade, then be harsh or reflect it in their grade. If it is not-then maybe just a gentle reminder.
     
  11. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    It definitely is NOT too much for a first grader. I expect my kindergartners to only use pencil for writing, crayons and markers are for drawing. I don't accept work with doodles and marks all over either. I do exactly what cza said when I receive such work from my kindees. If THEY are able to refrain from that in kindergarten, they most definitley are in first grade. I always remind them that neatness counts.
     
  12. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Dec 6, 2009

    Try reminding them. Try circling the "scribble-scrabble." Then start giving random rewards to the really neat ones... and wow, you'll see them all trying for those rewards. It doesn't have to be candy...a colorful pencils, a special sticker, or a bookmark, and they will all want to know why they didn't get one. Then tell them that the "Neat Elf" comes in every so often to leave surprises for those children who are doing their best to follow the "neat rules."
     
  13. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    I should have added...the Neat Elf knows when a child is doing his best -- so if a child's work isn't that neat looking, but it really is the best that child can do, then the Neat Elf can leave a reward for that child too. This way you don't leave out the ones who are truly having developmental issues that will resolve themselves with time. There is a big difference between a shaky hand (developmental) and a rushed scribble (lack of self discipline.) Somehow, the Neat Elf always knows the difference. ;)
     
  14. wrice

    wrice Habitué

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    Get at 'em! (The teachers in the grades above you will appreciate it!) haha
     

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