Friday, December 7, 2012

Copying the Word Search

It was another Friday at the continuation high school. The assignment was a word search.

(It was an ordinary word search, much like the one the math class did. It had a bunch of letters from which the students were to find the words that were listed at the bottom. I'm sure you've seen them before, but in case you're unsure, they look like this.)

The continuation high school students aren't the type to voluntarily work on anything, so the word search was worth a lot so long as they finished it and turned it in by the end of the period. Easy enough, right?

For the first two classes it was easy. They finished fairly quickly. But the next group...

I passed out the word search. I called the roll. Then I went about straightening up from the last period (gathering all the collected work and paperclipping it together). As I settled in to observe the group, a couple of the students nearby noticed that something was missing.

"Where did the papers go?"

Turns out they were going to copy the previous period's finished word searches. Because, you know, it would be too hard for them to do on their own. (The papers were stashed in a pile under other piles because I know this trick, so I hide previous periods' work as a matter of course.)

Shortly thereafter, another student approached. He wanted to know where his word search from the previous day was (the teacher gave some students the assignment a day ahead). I didn't know. I wasn't going to look. When I questioned him, he admitted that he just wanted his assignment so he could let others copy it.

Several students congregated in a group in a corner. One finished. The others pounced. Oooh, a finished one; one they could copy.

(Until I took that paper from them.)

If they only put in as much effort into doing the work as they do in trying to find a way around the work...

Oh, by the way, does anyone know of any good YouTube videos that would be school appropriate? I had access, and putting a video on in the background might have helped things. I think it's about time I complied a list for days like this one.  


  1. Put on the movie "Stand and Deliver." That's a great show about one teacher who made a difference in troubled high school students by teaching them calculus.

  2. You are so right, if they put the same kind of energy and creativity into their actual work...

    There are a lot of great TED Talks. I don't know if you get them through You Tube. I know they're on the TED sight.


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