Ever graded a stack of papers...

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Mrs. Q, Sep 22, 2011.

  1. Mrs. Q

    Mrs. Q Cohort

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    Sep 22, 2011

    ... And then wanted to cry? I just graded a set of papers covering a fairly simple concept (lead writing for news) that we've been working on together for over a week. And every one of them deserved a failing grade. Normally, I write LOTS of comments so that students can see what they need to improve on, but I got so overwhelmed that I just had to stop.

    I know this is on me, and I'm going to have to rethink how I'm presenting the information..... Since tomorrow is Friday I think we will do some review of the previous topics so that I can take the weekend to re-work my plans and hopefully come up with something that will help them.

    Just feeling like a failure tonight! (Although now that I'm a 2nd year teacher and not a first, I know that I might at least get some sleep tonight, lol)
     
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  3. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Sep 23, 2011

    Yes.

    And most recently it was my newspaper kids too. They are awful writers. All of them. Lesson learned - get a writing sample.
     
  4. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Sep 23, 2011

    I actually sit here with two of those stacks. One is from my Freshman Writing Class and the other is from my senior AP Gov. class. My AP Gov. students had an announced quiz the other day on some Articles I had them read about Federalism and Anti-Federalism particularly in the Modern Context. The quiz question was easy "Explain the concept of Federalism as it applied to the founding on the New American Government. Also, does the concept of Federalism still apply today, please explain." I figured this would be an easy grade for them and it would give me a chance to see what their quick writing skills were like. Apparently, the students either did not do the reading or did not understand it. I'll probably drop this quiz, return it on Monday, and assign it as a small essay over the same topic.

    My Freshman Writing Seminar topic is Civil Liberties in the Modern World. Basically, I teach Writing using the Civil Rights Movement as Context. We begin with the US and then do a comparison to South Africa. Because this is a Writing Class I don't give tests or quizzes that are not writing of some kind. Anyways, they also had an announced Quiz covering a lecture and discussion, not reading, about the beginnings of the Jim Crow Laws. Apparently, I told the class that Jim Crow was a major civil rights leader of the time.

    I think these kids are used to fill-in the blank and multiple choice. They don't understand the reasoning process and rhetoric involved in good writing.
     
  5. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    Sep 23, 2011

    And then try to get them to write scientifically! They are so used to putting their "feelings" about the topic into everything they write, that I get sentences like, "This experiment was really cool! I liked the bubbles" when I'm looking for their analysis of the results. Even when I show them samples of good paragraphs, I still get a few who tell me how they felt about the experiment. Is this something they learn in English class? And why on earth do they think I care what they felt about the experiment?? (I do care, but not for an assignment like this!)
     
  6. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Sep 23, 2011

    Wow, KateL, you really nailed one of the BIG problems in writing in many school systems. Our elementary school probably assigned 1 or 2 non "feeling" writing assignments through the entire elementary years. The student's weren't taught to write for academics. Apparently being a "good writer" in our district is solely about writing the next fiction novel. Middle school writing projects weren't much better. They were frilly, feeling based writings where opinion backed up ideas instead of actual facts.

    We have a seperate GT program for gifted kids. They were taught to write scientifically. So, in HS you get the kids that know how to write (a small percentage of the class) and the rest. It is sometimes hard to look at the group and not say if some can do it they all should be able to do it. We can also track what elementary school kids came from by the quality of their work and the mistakes they made.

    Doesn't much mater if they are bright or not, if they were not given the foundation, most will not be successful in applying the writing skills needed in higher level classes.
     
  7. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Sep 23, 2011

    Same here for AP History courses :D I spend the first few weeks of school teaching how to write for a History course. I have made several Vistaprint stamps to help me correct their essays ~ "No Feelings," "Who's They?," and "No opinions". This is really one of the hardest things for my AP students to do ~ remove themselves from their essays.
     
  8. Ms.History

    Ms.History Rookie

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    Sep 23, 2011

    I had the exact same issue yesterday, and did the whole "Am I really that bad of a teacher that I can't convey these simple concepts to them?" thought process, etc. Today I simplified the information, turned the Six Prinicples of Government into a game (that just SOUNDS fun, right?) and they got it! So hopefully your experience will turn into a rewarding one as well! : )

    On a side note, I had to laugh at Brendan's astounding discovery of a new civil rights leader... and VistaPrint stamps for all the things you get tired of writing on papers is a brilliant idea!
     
  9. Mrs. Q

    Mrs. Q Cohort

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    Sep 23, 2011

    Ah, you have all nailed it for me! I think I need some of those stamps, INteacher.

    In journalism, there are no opinions (at least not in news), no flowery words, no "us" and "we." If I had a stamp instead of writing it, maybe I wouldn't get so dang frustrated, lol.

    I stayed after school today and made comments/corrections on every paper. But I didn't count the grade. I'll give them back on Monday and have them read some samples from my staff members and then maybe have them do some peer editing.
     

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