Thursday, February 22, 2007

Grouse, grouse, bitch

Today I let it out. I asked the students why their teachers (namely, me, social studies, and math) have been cranky lately. After a stone silence (phenomenal in and of itself) this is what they all came up with:

1. Because we aren't doing our work.
2. The trimester is almost done and we're failing.
3. The STAR test is coming and we haven't learned anything.
4. It's almost March and we still aren't doing anything.

Not bad. I would've added:
5. Because we can't do math. And I mean it. I've seen some really bad math skills today. A student divided 68.6N by 7kg and got....wait for it....68.6!!! How the fuck do you do that? I kid you not. And this is a sweet girl who tries very hard. She even worked it out, long division and everything. Man, how totally fucked up do your math skills have to be to get an answer like that? And, she had mistakes like that throughout the entire test! 1,250kg X 4m/s = 10250!!??!!

6. We don't answer the entire question in an assignment. This bugs me to no end. Question: What was your best combination of water and Alka Seltzer? Compare with two other groups. Did they have the same best combination? Answer: Our best was 1/2canister of water and 1/2 Alka Seltzer tablet. And then they wonder why they aren't doing well.

Lately I've been pushing the whole standards-based grading in my own classroom. The good thing about it is it makes grading more objective. The sad thing is how many students are lacking the skills that would allow them to be proficient in science.

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