Thursday, September 24, 2009

Knocking on Wood with a Rabbit's Foot

I'm a bit frustrated. I have allowed my seniors to keep their literature books in a tray under the desk. And then today, all of a sudden, I hear from three of them, "somebody took my book!"

I only have one literature class. They are the only students I have who use those books – or who would have the least need of them. They don't fetch a lot at any of the used bookstores around here, so it's really not worth the effort of lugging them out the door for the money.

What can I do about this? I'm not organized enough to do a book-check every day before the bell rings. My solution was to assign new books to those who had missing ones and say, "You guys are responsible for these. I'd suggest carrying them, because if you leave them here and they go missing, it's on you. Get a locker."

All in all, as far as problems go, it's a pretty minor one to have.

We needed the lit books because I gave the class a 20-question open-book test today. It is taking them ALL PERIOD to do it! In fairness, I asked for their answers plus the number of the line(s) where they found the information, but sheesh!

I made study guide questions for the Prologue. They were pretty detailed – not in the sense that they were asking students to find many many small details, but more that as I read, if I sensed that there was a part that was confusing and/or important, I'd ask a question about it so that their attention would be drawn to it and they'd have to think about it and make connections and stuff.

I'm explaining this poorly.

ANYWAY, I took it up, but not for a grade; mostly I wanted to see where the trouble spots were. And that went pretty well! Of course I had some of them who didn't bother with it, but I repeatedly emphasized that the test would be THE SAME THING, so (a) if they didn't do it, they'd have much more trouble on the test, and (b) copying answers was a complete waste of time.

Then when I told them that the test would NOT be over the prologue, I initially heard some griping – "you mean we did all that for nothing?!" – but after I explained that no, you were practicing skills that would allow you to do well on the test, they calmed down. Someone asked, "so we shouldn't study from that study guide?" and I said not the way you usually do. Look over the study guide and see where you had difficulty; that will give you an idea of where you're strong and where you're struggling. Also? You know that there are only two other stories in the literature book: the Wife of Bath's Tale and the Pardoner's Tale. You are welcome to take your literature book home and look over them. Or you can look them up online (just keep in mind that the online version probably won't be exactly the same as the one in the lit book).

Mostly they seem to have done okay. So far.

Actually, I'm feeling pretty good in general, just because I'm getting tests graded right away and we're getting photos uploaded for the yearbook and the newspaper is almost done and even though the administrator we usually work with isn't here today to proof, I caught her yesterday & she said it'd be ok to give a proof copy to another admin and I got another AP to agree to look it over and… I just feel like for once I'm staying on top of things.

Fingers crossed…


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