Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Nine Questions

Today I covered an ELD class. They were to finish watching a movie they started last week called Smoke Signals, and then after they had a writing assignment. Standard stuff.

Each period I showed rest of the movie, and then I went about explaining the writing assignment. My instructions went something like this:

"You need to pick three characters from the movie. Then you will answer these three questions for each character. You will be answering a total of nine questions."

Then I repeated the instruction in a slightly different way. I wanted to be clear. But apparently, I wasn't clear enough.

I spent the rest of each period walking the room. And when a student would finish, I'd look at his/her work. Then I would point out that he/she hadn't finished as he/she had only answered the three questions for one character.

By my second class I was ready to scream.

I swear, they don't listen. You might argue that they are English learners, so I should cut them some slack. But this was an advanced ELD class. I've had many of them in other classes. They understand English just fine. They turn off their attention when a sub is in the room. That has to be it.

What I wonder is, how should I have phrased the instructions? Or was I doomed from the start?

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