Sunday, October 01, 2006

Potpourri

I do have to say things have been interesting in the Wonderful World of Constructivism (roll sound byte). Listening to the podcasts of my regular ninth graders' "This I Believe" essays has changed my view on some of their written pieces. It really speaks of how difficult it is to teach voice in writing, when hearing their actual voice of their essays comes through so easily. Some still need more polishing as well as them learning to plan ahead.

I guess that is a frustration I am feeling now. Here is this really interesting assignment, something they created, and then so many wait till the last moment to go out and complete it, rushing through it as though they do not really care that it is their best work. So it makes me wonder, why do another cool, challenging reflective assignment? Am I going to get the same results? The same lackadaisical last minute work ethic? Why challenge them to be better when they could care less themselves? I am trying to be better and challenge myself to break out of the assembly line production of kids to help them realize their true potential, but I feel right now that I am busting my derrière for nothing. Pardon my French (for those of you that kow me this is my kind of humor). I am frustrated! Do they see how good they can be? DO they see the moments of brillance I see? Am I not getting them? Is there something I am missing? I think I am going through a Karl moment-the glass is feeling close to half empty.

On the brighter side, I encourage you to listen to their podcasts on their English Nine class blog and give them constructive feedback. It was unbelievable that after the first day it was up, they already had a messsage from New Zealand (go Kiwi).

Additionally on an even brighter side, I do have to say that I am not giving up hope. I am starting Digital Storytelling with my regular ninth graders this week. Throughout this entire semester we are examining this idea of "What Matters" and realting each piece of literatture back to ourselves as well as the world around us. Everything connects to "What Matters." You can check out the full assignment on the AHS homepage-teacher web pages-Mrs. Smith-English 9-What matters. I would love to know what you think.

Thanks for listening.

12 comments:

Michelle S said...

I'm not sure all of your students realize the potential creativity they could put into this project. Also keep in mind: there will always be people who do this last-minute. It's not because they don't care--some of them simply don't have large blocks of time open. That's where time-planning strategies come in, and some people are better at it than others. Another thing: your students will put time into the assignment if they are motivated. Each student has their own reason for liking or not liking this project--perhaps some are hitting a roadblock and can't figure out a good way to approach it. Nevertheless, I still think you'll get some pretty awesome results.

paigen said...

I agree with Michelle. I just think that there are always going to be some procrastinators, that leave everything for the last minute. I just don't think that they realize the power that they have! I think that they just think (if that makes any sense) that you are just giving them more assignments, but they don't know who is out there reading their work. For all they know, Donald Trump could be doing a junior apprentice and he is reading these essays, I think that they just need time to understand that.

chelseah said...

I agree with Paige when she says that there will always be some procrastinators. That I think is true, or at least it has been in my past experiences. I do hope that those students will recognize that being a procrastinator isn’t beneficial in any way, and that it is hurting them. I hope that they will change their ways. I think that those people have less or no motivation, and that they need that extra push to get them going. Once these people get going, with thought and planning, they do great work. I like Paige’s point about how you never know who is reading these essays, like some guy from New Zealand read some of them. This to me is very powerful, and it gives me more motivation to do my best. These people that procrastinate just need to stop, and think about what they have, what they can do, and what is the best way the accomplish it.

AnnaD said...

I agree with all that has been said. Basically, I don't think you should be concerned about it. I believe that, as high schoolers, we should be able to manage ourselves on our own. The procrastinators choose to do so, and they suffer for it, or, in some cases, they benefit from it. I believe that it is just not something that is necessary for you to worry about, because I'm sure there are many other things that would be more benefitial and worth your time to worry about.

Zachf said...

I also agree with what has been said. Even now I still have to rush at the last minute to get things done because I'm to worried about the deadline and not the quality of the work. Sometimes the energy people need to do a project like this, where they can place are their creativity into it, is lost working on other things in other classes.
Motivation is also key. Maybe you just haven't struck the right chord with all of them yet, different people are motivated in different ways. Don't give up on this.

Hikingout said...

TIME OUT! TIME OUT! TIME OUT! TIME OUT! TIME OUT! TIME OUT!

Hope I got your attention, this is very IMPORTANT.

I have an URGENT message. Today in AP Gov, Meyer brought up a very interesting bill called the DELETING ONLINE PREDATORS BILL, despite the nice title, the bill will destroy what we and the Arapahoe High School staff have attempted to create. Please research this bill. The gist of the bill is that all access to chat rooms, BLOGS, myspace,and perhaps even simpler pages that might allow students to display any kind of personal information will be denied to students.

This bill will be extremely detrimental to the education, will destroy everything we have worked hard to establish, and eliminate the benefits to internet in the classroom that many of you enjoy. THIS BILL PASSED IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES BY A VOTE OF 410-15. Our time window is incredibly short to take any kind of action against this bill before it is passed by the Senate and it WILL be passed. We must take action now, IF THERE IS A WAY TO ORGANIZE A MEETING FOR CONCERNED STUDENTS I WOULD BE GRACIOUS FOR INFORMATION ON HOW TO GET A ROOM AND ANNOUNCEMENTS.

Any strategies on how not to get this bill passed would be greatly appreciated, I have a few, but I would prefer one in which I don't have to be suspended or expelled :).

briang said...

Smith, you do need to continue to do these types of assignments because there will always be procrastinators. Some don’t "have the time" but you should be able to manage your time well enough where you can do some of your work. School is first, other activities are second; at least that’s the rule in my family. And as far as motivation goes, I know for me the motivation is to get good grades, and for some people that’s just not there. I’m going to add to what Michelle said; some students don’t like a project because they literally don’t care. It’s a problem, but there are always people like that, and sometimes it takes threatening (in a nice way if that makes sense). I would recommend Chinese Water Torture...just kidding. But in all seriousness, despite the "we don’t care" people, you need to continue giving these types of assignments, and I think you will be surprised by some of the awesome work that will come out of students.

maria k said...

Ok, I admit it. I've DEFINITELY been a procrastinator and there have been times in all my classes when I haven't submitted my best work (especially in those last chapters of LOF-AHHH!). But I have to ask-don't we all do this sometimes? I've learned from every single one of my mistakes in this area, and each time, I'm energized to do it better, to do my absolute best.

As my Computer Apps teacher puts it, "Why go at all if you don't go all the way?" I know we get so bogged down with life, but I absolutely agree with this. If we don't push ourselves to our limit, then how can we ever expand that limit? I wish I could apologize to all my teachers for every time I submited work that wasn't my best and I want to assure you Smith that it will stop. I've definitely found myself doing it less in English because the class is so much fun and really isn't education as usual. I feel like I'm really learning stuff that will help me in real life and there is no way I will continue to only do an "ok" job in this class. Sorry Smith!

Mphair said...

Ms. Smith--

PLEASE...PRETTY PLEASE WITH A CHERRY ON TOP!!! Please continue these assignments. As has been said before, there will always be procrastionators. However, there are those who are not, and who really do enjoy those assignments. Remember, it is ultimately the students who procratinate whose grades are hurt, There are always those who really enjou these types of assignments, and who could possibly remember this (I am thinking spicifically of the "This I Believe" essay) assignment for the rest of your lives. Even those who didn't put forth all of their effort, well, I think I'm trying to say is that you made even them start questioning WHAT they believe and WHY they believe what they do. I say, well done Ms. Smith!

hannahs said...

I understand that it is hard to put time and effort into planning an assignment and watch as your students complete a mediocre version of your expectaions. Although, these assignments help students -who chose to rise above what is asked of them, instead of barely meeting- it to grow and learn in the most effective ways. Personally, I have really enjoyed the class and I am very excited for what is to come and I hope we continue to do intersting assignments.

kelleys said...

Ms. Smith I like this assignment and it great how people can read what we write about all around the world. At first I didn’t take this assignment real but the past few weeks the comments people left are amazing I never new people would be so interested about we have to say. Before the end of the year I think we should do another assignment like This I Believe and I would be more prepared.

danh said...

Yes, I am a procrastinator too. But who can resist the temptation of of recording your voice on a computer and posting it so that eveyone can literally voice your opinions on the web. No doubt, this assignment sounds at the very least more enjoyable than traditional go-home-and-do-this-worksheet assignments. I wish that we could do this in our class. I think that this assignment is a great way to determine if students are giving no heart, a half-heart, or a full heart to their homework assignments. By listening to someone speak, you can determine how much effort they put into it, whether or not they really care about what they get on an assignment, and the ways they use creativity to influence their school work. What an amazing idea! Like michelle said, this project could also help students to plan their time wisely and help with their writing skills. Sometimes when you think your paper is good, you read it aloud and it doesn't sound right. This could definitely help students to figure out their pros and cons in writing. I give this project idea five stars!