I'm at my wit's end with my 9th graders on the issue of what's expected for any given assignment. No matter what the assignment is, they immediately start arguing with me about the nitty gritty. For example, if I assign them a one-page essay response on a test, I get: "Can I double space? Can I leave a space between paragraphs? How many spaces? Can I put my name and date on separate lines? What if I write small, does it still have to be a whole page? What if I'm completely done and I still have one empty line? If one empty line is ok, what about 2? etc etc etc" Then, as people are turning things in, they start with the "Hey! If his counts as a page, mine should. Mine is only one line shorter than his!" So, for a first person journal that they did, I decided to be SUPER specific about exactly how I wanted it. When I did this, though, they act like I'm being ridiculous and overly-strict. This goes on for every.single.assignment I give them. It's starting to drive me mad. We've spent upwards of 15 minutes going back and forth over what's expected! I've thought about assigning words (i.e. 100 words) but then they're just going to focus on counting words the whole time and not what they're doing. Plus, I don't want to do all that counting myself! Any tips/advice?