October 22, 2007

First report cards

Posted in grading at 3:11 am by mrsmauck

I post my first set of grades tomorrow, and I know I’ve got a bunch of kids who are going to be sorely disappointed. I hate that the grades aren’t so much representative of intelligence, but of good work habits. The kids who follow directions, ask questions and seek my help, and turn things in on time have an A or B. The kids who turn things in late and don’t follow directions have C’s or D’s. The kids with F’s either haven’t turned in at least one major assignment or have turned every assignment in so late that they haven’t gotten passing grades on them.

Every student who has an F in my class failed to read at least one of the two required library books. Next 9 weeks, I’m going to set a halfway point deadline, by which they must have their first book completed. So I feel like many of those zeroes are partly my fault, as my deadline for both books to be completed was the end of the nine weeks. BUT many of the kids who are failing did not read a library book at all! Tomorrow, I’m going to try to target these kids in the library, and help them find books on their reading level and in their range of interest.

Writing our own myths

Posted in lesson plans at 2:50 am by mrsmauck

I’ve had so few successes with my freshmen so far, but I think I can say that I had one for our end-of-nine-weeks project. After researching Greek mythology, learning the epic heroic cycle reading excerpts from The Odyssey, and watching O Brother, Where Art Thou, comparing and contrasting the two, we wrote our own myths. First, I modeled this by filling in the epic heroic cycle chart with my own story, and then I showed my myth on PowerPoint.

I enjoyed writing my myth so much, it made me think I’d like to turn this Pristina story into a children’s book. But as always, I have a great idea, and then all the little details come crashing over me, give me a scared feeling in my stomach, and I abandon all efforts in favor of everyday duties and pleasures.

 My students’ myths were SO good: the boys’ were invariably filled with gory battles, while the girls’ mostly ended with the main character getting married. Some were an amalgam of Disney movies and fairy tales, but others were completely original and genuinely entertaining to read. I hope it was a good writing experience for them. I tried to teach them to self-edit this time, which we’ll continue to work on throughout the year.