Saturday, February 10, 2007

One week left. Oh, man.

Mid-winter break and the London trip are only a week away! We leave next Saturday, in the early evening. Whee! Must get out the suitcase and begin getting prepared. Very exciting indeed!

That also means only one more week of school. At least a part of every day leaves me feeling irritable, impatient, grumpy, old and tired. That one class continues to be a problem, and they continue to do well when it's time to do a simple, structured but boring task like exercises in the grammar book. At this point, I need to do whatever works for all of us.

My last class is in the process of getting smaller: one kid I've had issues with (him and his mother do absolutely nothing) has been switched to another class, and that horrible other kid I mentioned recently will be having a hearing soon. When I heard that, I was excited and relieved, but also a little nervous, because now what's stopping him from truly hurting someone or distracting the class every minute? Surprisingly, he's been fairly calm, for him anyway.

And last week I submitted a list of students I have concerns about, both academically and behaviorally. Thursday, the guidance counselor gave me some pre-referral reports to fill out. And I diligently got them all finished and turned in by lunch Friday. I hope things move ahead, because one kid in particular from my middle class is just out there. He can't focus, he has random outbursts of noise and/or movement, and his comprehension is little to none. I didn't realize what a distraction he is until the other day, when he was not there for half an hour--so much quieter and calmer. Then he walked in, and the rest of the class was touch-and-go, because he'll set the others off with his noise.

Yesterday I gave a big quiz, really two. All last week and a bit the week before? we worked on media stuff, and they had definitions for a lot of things. I've kept a list going on the side board so they can see exactly what they should be knowing. Starting last Friday, I let them know there would be a quiz on the vocabulary soon, and to study. All week that was written by the homework--Media Quiz Coming Soon--Study At Home! And yet, sure enough, all of the students failed. Even the high-level class. Damn. It sucks, but I wasn't too shocked, unfortunately. I hope they learn a lesson and change something, or else they'll keep racking up failing test grades.

The other quiz was on the grammar stuff that we had been doing for warm ups all week--capitalizing, some commas, and type of sentence. And I only graded one full class so far, but I'm really pleased. They all did very well on that. It was exactly like the warm up activities, so they were comfortable, and I think they all felt good about that part.

So I graded them as separate quizzes, and this way, though they failed one, they most likely did very well on the other.

I will be continuing to do the language activities, because they're actually learning, and it's a better way to get them settled in than the more abstract writing prompts that I sometimes use for warm-ups (though I hadn't actually been doing much of anything lately, what with test prep). And I will quiz them every Friday, and that should make them feel good about their abilities.

I'm thinking about giving them the media quiz again but with open notes. They won't get all the answers from there (I specifically wrote different types of questions, some easy and some requiring thinking and memorizing and analysis), and the grade won't be worth as much, but they need to know this information.

Next week I have to get off my ass. I need to cover the advertising types, but not all the classes can handle that kind of activity. I also want them to do a biographical project on a civil rights leader. I have a list of people already, but I need to narrow it down and figure out how to assign the students. Then I need to figure out how I'm going to teach these three different classes that need completely different things. And come up with diffferent homework assignments as well. And then, we're supposed to do a project as well, a public service announcement, to conclude this unit. Again, my high-level class will certainly be able to, but what kind of timeline, considering the biography project and the break coming up? The middle class certainly won't get to do that project, at least not with any class time. I think I am going to focus on essay writing and biography writing with them in class. Maybe I'll assign the PSA as homework only. The third class wavers back and forth about how much they can handle.

On Thursday I probably made a mistake by introducing actual ads with them. I began by explaining the questions one must ask when viewing an ad, and then I described an ad for them. The words of the ad were "Your lips look so lonely. May I keep them company?" Hoots and hollers.
The image? Close up of an unmade bed, with satin-looking sheets and pillow cases. All kinds of noise from the class.
What tone or lifestyle? Romance and love.
They tried to guess the product--most of their guesses were lipsticks or chapstick.

The real product? Can you guess?


They were just as shocked as you, except noisier. Then I tried to explain how this ad is telling you that cookies or food is and should be a replacement for love and companionship, etc etc. The students were howling and shouting all over the place!

I was exhausted and irritated. Maybe it's not such a good idea.

God, one week. I hope I can make it.


Fred said...

You are going to have such a great time in London. Be prepared to spend lots of money due to the exchange rate, but it's worth it.

Institutional Memory said...

In a few years, you'll run into one of your ex-students, and s/he will say, "Do you remember the time we looked at the ad for Oreos? That's one of the times I remember best from all my years in school."

You never know!