What can I do to get students to not pass up opportunities?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Peregrin5, Nov 24, 2015.

  1. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Nov 24, 2015

    I provide a lot of opportunities for success in my class. I allow test corrections (with rationale for why they got each question wrong), the ability to turn in homework or projects late for (reduced) credit, and a lot of structures are in place to help students be prepared for tests and classwork, like pre-group tests, binder organization methods, study strategies, vocab strategies, and weekly quizzes to inform students of the depth of their current understanding.

    However, I STILL get a lot of students who fail because they simply don't correct their tests, don't create notecards to use on the test, don't study using the study strategies I teach them, don't do their homework or classwork, or even complete it late for credit to improve their practice and their grade.

    I am aware of the "you can lead a horse to water" adage, and believe me, I'm leading them! I nearly have them on a conveyer belt to the water! But they still won't drink. What more can I do to make sure these students are taking the opportunities they can to succeed?

    My guess is one of the problems is that they forget to do the make-ups, corrections, etc. They have enough trouble trying to remember to do their homework, or they just don't want to do it. The corrections are more work than the original test, and if they don't do their homework they don't get full credit, and it piles up. This might discourage them from even trying, but I don't know what else to do. I post grades. Email grades to parents, I used to force kids to come in at lunch to do their missing assignments, but it's pulling teeth, and the headaches and the babysitting weren't really worth it anymore. What can I do? It feels like so many of our kids are failing or not trying this year. I had such a hard working group last year. The difference is stark.
     
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  3. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Nov 24, 2015

    It all depends how much more you want to try. You keep doing what you're doing, and then let them fall on their butt, sort of speak, when they see that they failed. It will be too late then as grades will be final, but they might learn a valuable lesson.

    When I was student teaching my master teacher was pretty strict. I remember at one point he called home and let parents know their kid has to come in early before school or during lunch (so essentially he assigned detention) to bring up their grade. He only did this with a few, obviously you can't quite do this with 15 kids, but maybe those who don't even try to make up assignments could do something like that.

    The following could work at my school, not sure about yours though: last 10 minutes of class twice a week students get free time, except those who are failing or are in danger of failing. During those 10 minutes they are to sit there and work on make up assignments, and bring it back the next day if they don't finish. I don't know if you want to go through this length, or if you're even allowed but it could work. At my school I can just pass out deck of cards (admin is ok with that) and the kids will entertain themselves, I won't have to babysit them and can focus on the ones who are making up work.
    I might do this, as this last quarter I have the highest number of failing students in the past 2.5 years at this school. Some is due to poor attendance, but the numbers are still way too high. I made phone calls home, and received some positive response and results, but that was only a few students.
     
  4. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Nov 24, 2015

    Yeah. Our admin is pretty strict about bell-to-bell teaching. I have done the "detention" thing in the past. It's a lot harder for me to do lunch detentions this year because we have fewer campus supervisors to escort kids (who won't come unless they're escorted) to my classroom, and the period I have right before lunch is in a different room that I have to vacate and make my way up to my classroom to let the kids in (they usually knock for a second and then disappear when they see I'm not there or still making my way up the stairs).

    I might have to find a way to make that work though. There are far too many Fs in my classes too. Part of it is that our population is just very different this year. In the past, I had a list of students I wanted escorted to my classroom, they would come in, sign in, and they could only leave if they've finished one of their major assignments. Then I would sign them out. If they didn't finish it all lunch, I kept them in the next time we had this as well.
     
  5. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    Nov 24, 2015

    I did a student survery recently on a similar topic. Two students said that they would do more 'if they got paid."
     
  6. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Lol. So paying them off is the answer... I always thought so.
     
  7. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Are you sure that your students know how to make the test corrections? Are their errors careless mistakes, or are they getting the answers wrong because they really don't understand the concept/know the material. If it's the latter, could you find a way, either during class or before/after/lunch, where you support those students who want to make corrections but really don't understand how to correct it? Although I'm coming from an elementary perspective, I find this is often the case when I ask students to go back and make corrections. They just keep getting the answers wrong over and over again until I take the time to go over it with them.
     
  8. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I have it posted in my classroom that I reset all failed quizzes and send an email with a help document in the hopes that a little scaffolding will give my kiddos a second chance. So few of them take advantage of the retake, and only a portion of them check their email to find the document. It is frustrating. We do what we can do, but we cannot force them to accept and use our help. My thinking is they will probably start to catch on and make the best of their opportunities as the school year progresses. Remember, it's just hitting Thanksgiving!
     
  9. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Nov 25, 2015

    I agree with a lot of what bella said. Your strategies work well with two types of students: those highly motivated because that is who they are and those who have just a little struggle because of mistakes or just needing a little extra to be successful. Your methods don't work with those who have some rather large deficits in understanding or other academic skills. It also won't work with those students who have been behind so long they are emotionally shut down to learning. Both of these types of students take a different type of leading the horse.

    See, I see the statement "you can lead a horse" a statement that is often inaccurate because it often means this is what I decided to do and it isn't working so there must be a problem with the horse. A horse with too tight of a bit won't drink the water, but if you never check that bit it is assumed that the problem is with the horse. A horse that sees a predator close to the water won't drink either no matter if you led that horse there.

    While the "you can lead the horse" statement sounds great and makes people feel better, it usually means that we want to make us feel better when we have run out of ideas. You don't seem to run out of ideas easily, but some use this as their first defense. Thank goodness you do not. I know you help lots of kids.

    So, check out were these kids are academically. Have a "test correction session" where you have your lunch study hall (mandatory) and walk the kids through how to find the answers for the tests. Try to make it interesting for them finding the information in their resources. You might have to do it a few times. Require they make flascards if that is what you want them to use. Find a way to check them and to use the in class. Some may not be able to get them either because of affordability or lack of supplies from home.

    Good luck. I'm always impressed how you keep trying to figure these students out each year whenever you run into issues.
     
  10. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Well for my test corrections, I give them the answers, so it's not that they don't know how to correct them. I've even gone through as a whole class and taught them how to do it. The main issue is that they don't sit down to actually do the work on their own. But I think the idea of a mandatory lunch session where they sit with me to do test corrections would be effective.

    The flashcard is a single half-sheet of binder paper, so it's not lack of resources. I give it as an option to write down whatever notes they want to use on the test. Only the really motivated kids use it, as you said. The unmotivated ones don't bother to make one. Again I can make it mandatory and force their success.

    I just wish kids would be self-starters and do these things on their own without our having to drag them across the finish line like this. I have seen cases though where forced success leads them to enjoy their success and it sometimes motivates them to succeed a little bit on their own. It doesn't always last, but we'll see.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2015
  11. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    I've tried making it mandatory and the kids who didn't do it before still didn't do it--they just took the 55%. Kids love the 55%. They know that they can put forth the effort to pass one quarter and then they pass for the year just by being on the class roster and getting their 55%.
     
  12. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    You are right. It doesn't always last. It doesn't always work. Just think though if every teacher did the types of things you do. There might be much better success, and by the time they got to you more would need less.
     
    bella84 likes this.
  13. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    The hope is that they will LEARN to be self-starters. As I've told my students, they can do the work now, they can do it in summer school, or they can do it all over again next year. It's a matter of when that life lesson kicks in.
     
  14. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Nov 26, 2015

    Unfortunately for Middle School, there is no real consequence for failing. They just get passed onto the next grade.
     

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