Thursday, January 19, 2017

Referee


It was a clever assignment. One I hadn't seen before.

7th grade life science. They were learning about photosynthesis. And how it related to cellular respiration. The project was relating the two by making a "poster".

The "poster" had two halves. One half showed photosynthesis. The other, cellular respiration.

The class was broken up into partners. Each partner did one half (either photosynthesis or cellular respiration), and then they put the halves together to make a whole.

Cordelia came over to me. She wanted to do the photosynthesis part of the poster. Um, okay. But not my call. This was between her and her partner, Jessica.

But, Jessica wanted to do photosynthesis, too.

Nope, I was not making that decision. I informed the girls that they needed to work it out themselves. I suggested flipping a coin or rock-paper-scissors. They went back to their seats. For a time.

Jessica returned. She told me that they had done rock-paper-scissors, best two out of three (and she even told me what they'd thrown), and Jessica had won. Okay, great. Jessica would to photosynthesis.

But then Cordelia came back. She claimed she had won rock-paper-scissors, best two out of three...

I am terrible at spotting liars. Students lie to me with straight faces all the time, and I can't be sure if they're lying or not. But this time...

Jessica was a very sweet, very quiet girl. I get the impression that if she lost the tiebreaker, she would have accepted the outcome. Reluctantly, but she would have. Cordelia, on the other hand, was the type of girl who was going to get her way no matter what. A louder personality. She was going to bludgeon her way into doing photosynthesis.

(I set up the partners, so these two would not have chosen to work together.)

Cordelia had already titled her paper "Photosynthesis", and she insisted that that was what she was going to do.

I think she expected me to make Jessica do cellular respiration. But I'm not built that way. I felt the need to stick up for Jessica. I'd give Cordelia a new paper. Cordelia was going to do cellular respiration.

Yeah, well, Cordelia wasn't built that way...

After a day (they had two and a half days to work on the project) of Cordelia running to me to complain, I had had enough. Fine. They could both do photosynthesis. They were no longer partners.

(The assignment was set up so each half of the assignment could be graded separately. So, unfortunately, that wouldn't penalize Cordelia. But, luckily, it wouldn't penalize Jessica, either.)

7th graders...

22 comments:

  1. And I'm sure you left a note :)

    betty

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  2. She sounds like a few people I've come across in my life. I'm sure Jessica was glad to get rid of her "partner".

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  3. Some people just won't back down. Glad it got sorted, to an extent.

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  4. I have always said it takes a certain type of person to be a teacher or a day care worker...I am not that person! haha....thanks for stopping by my blog.

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  5. And unfortunately that is how they learn to whine! The one who whines loudest wins! That is the lesson Cordelia learned from this! Very sad!

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    1. Yup. Although, she wasn't going to back down no matter how many times I told her she was on the cellular respiration half. Bright side: she did whine about the points she lost on the assignment, but those she wasn't getting back (she missed a few required items...).

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  6. Sure glad I'm past Jr High and my son got though middle school.
    Coffee is on

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    1. A bunch that age together in a room...

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  7. Oh crumbs Liz ... the ordeals of life ... I hope Cordelia learns to adapt sometime soon?! Cheers Hilary

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  8. If I were Jessica, I might have considered doing both parts myself.

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  9. I'm glad I wasn't in your shoes. I wouldn't have had the patience to deal with that.

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  10. Cordelia reminds me of one of my daughters. At school, she is well-behaved and wouldn't act like that, but at home? Oh boy. If she doesn't get her way then things get very, very loud. I think you did the best you could in that situation. Better to have Cordelia work on something that just sit and fuss. Sooner or later, she will hit a wall with that type of behavior.

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  11. Argh. Hopefully the teacher will penalize Cordelia for giving you a hard time. I know this is weird, but maybe you should have had them flip a coin in front of you … or do rock, paper, scissors in front of you? But I'm sure Cordelia still would have found a way. Idk. Sounds complicated and frustrating. Glad I'm not you having to deal with that.

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    1. If the class hadn't been so... Well... Any other day I probably would have stood there as they did it. But I was dealing with the crazy from the rest of the class, too, and I didn't have the time to babysit the tiebreaker.

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  12. Cordelia needs some private lessons on compromise. How will she ever exist in the workforce? Flexibility is one thing employers look for. Poor you.

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    1. Yeah. I hope that one day she learns the lesson. And I wouldn't so much mind if it hit her hard when it happens.

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  13. I am shuddering at remembrance of partnerships. I always got the most difficult students because I quietly did my best. I wish I had you as a teacher. Most of mine were jerks to me with few exceptions.

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    1. I'm sorry to hear that. It's hard to assign partners as you don't want to penalize the good students, but you don't want the knuckleheads to be together as neither will so anything. I'm glad this isn't something I normally have to consider.

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