Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A-Z Undefined

Today's assignment: A-Z definitions. What is that? I had no idea. I had to ask the students.

The idea: they were to take a dictionary and find one word for each letter. Then they were to define that word. So, they found a word that started with A, defined it, and then moved on to B, C, and so on. Pretty simple. They should easily finish that.

But I had middle school special ed. And the assignment was "too hard" or "boring". Therefore, they weren't going to have any of it.

First, I had to force the dictionaries on them. Then, I had to stand over them as they got out paper and a pencil. A couple times I even had to open the dictionaries to the A section (I even picked a word at random and told them to write it down).

They argued. They whined. They wrote down as little as possible.

I had one student claim to have done this assignment yesterday (he was lying). I told him to do it again. He could pick a whole new set of words. It was only after I threatened to leave his name as being uncooperative that he finally got out paper and wrote something on it (I left his name anyway).

If they had spent even half the energy working that they put into complaining and avoiding, they'd have finished in next to no time. But that would have been too easy.

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