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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

This was NOT the assignment

Every day I have all my students journal. because of the nature of these student and the fact that they LOVE to provide "too much information" about their personal lives, I try to pick journal topics that are non-personal. As a matter of fact, I bought this amazing book from Amazon for this purpose: Unjournaling: Daily Writing Exercises that Are NOT Personal, NOT Introspective, NOT Boring! It's a great book.

I write the journal topic on the board, with the date and the journal number. The students are just requite to date it, number it and do it,. They don't have to copy the assignment down and then do it. I just want"the answer". Some times it's listing, sometimes it's a paragraph, sometimes dialogue--- there are LOTS of wonderful options. It's not hard. Each journal is worth 5 points so at the end of the week, journals are worth 25 points. They do it, they get the points, they don't then the entry is a -5. Not tough at all. And I don't read every single entry. I skim. Sometimes I think it "looks" long enough and give them credit for that day. I might decide I'm going to read journal numbers 7 and 11 for period three and then give them credit for the others if it looks like they did it. Teacher prerogative and discretion and all that rot.

All of my classes do the same journal topic. It's not brain surgery. Their journals stay in the room. This is the way I start class. They write while I take attendance, record it in the computer, and then notify the office over my missing kids. It's a great way to kill 10 minutes of class for I can to that nonsense paperwork crap.

More importantly it's a good way to kick their brains into gear. I think it's important for students to write every single day, even if it is for 10 minutes. It will make them better writers, for them to think creatively, use some critical thinking skills in some cases, and it will improve their vocabs and hand writing.

Of course, 80% of the students hate this assignment.

Remember the student I wrote about last week and I named him Asshole? He really hates the journal assignments. He only attempted 2 of last week's 5 topics. Here is what he wrote for one of them:

I assure you, this had nothing to do with the topic at hand. I also have no idea what the last word is or mean: naugh. WTF?

Here's his other journal for the week:

Again, I can assure you, this was not the correct answer, by any stretch of the imagination, for the assigned topic of the day.

I wanted to write "fuck you, Asshole. Enjoy your big fat F in my class. The judge is going to love to see copies of this journal, and I plan on sending it to him." What I did instead was simply write "0/25 F" and moved on.

I also copied it and shared it with our Assistant Principal. The student was not in my class on Friday. Nor do I think he's going to be in my class again. Ever. If there is a God....

Mags

4 comments:

Curley said...

I do remember these assignments in high school. I don't remember if they were every day but I do remember the teacher writing comments on most of them. Wrote about how much I hated rain one day because it was raining. Got back half page on that one. (steno book page). Was it easy? NO. Did I ever think about not doing it? NO.

Lilith said...

I'm sorry but this kid is just an utter douchebag! He's the kind of kid who thinks he's getting the wrong end of the stick and that he is above everything.

I'll keep my fingers crossed that he never returns to your class.

Jimmie Earl said...

If this wasn't so pathetic, it would be funny! Obviously, being at "reform school" is weighing heavily on this student and he's taking it out on you. Maybe he needs a reality check on just why he ended up there in the first place. It sure wasn't you who put him there!
It's about those cattle prods you wrote about.
JE

Lilith said...

Ok, I've been thinking about it and I think they "hell's naugh" is supposed to be hell no, but he's trying to put an accent on the speech? Just a thought!