Wednesday, March 3, 2021

A Random Comment

Last week I took over an English class for a teacher who is out on maternity leave. I don't have to figure out lesson plans on my own as all the English classes in each grade are doing the same thing together. This makes lesson planning really easy. 

The eleventh graders are getting ready to read The Great Gatsby. The prior sub (who had done his 30 days so could continue no longer--our subbing credential won't allow us to work any longer than 30 days in one class) had started some of the prelim stuff, and as of Monday they were still getting ready to read the book.

Monday's assignment was to watch a video on the Roaring '20s: 

Because distance learning and the way kiddos watch videos, I naturally assigned "notes" to go along with the video. And because I detest the listing of facts (which the students half-ass anyway), I decided to create some questions for them.

I made the questions pretty general. They were like, name something that was new in the '20s, name something that started in the '20s that we still have today, etc. I came up with four rather general questions. 

But I decided that I wanted the assignment to be worth five points, so I needed another question.

That's when the influence of too many years of blogging kicked in. I realized what the fifth question had to be.

I had them write a random comment. 

Most did well with that. Some tried to be cerebral and told me a fact from the video. Some said they liked or did not like the video. Some said something they found to be interesting.

And some didn't answer that question at all. And... I...

I mean, that was the easiest question of all. A gimme point. They wrote something, they got the point.

Yet, of the 10% of students who did not get the full credit for the assignment, it was because of that question. 

(And, seriously? Before we started the video, I went over the questions, and I told them number five was a write anything question.)

I may have to assign random comments more frequently. Just because I'm contrary like that.

21 comments:

  1. Sheesh! It does make me wonder about some people. At the least, they could've done something like:

    Here is my comment: random.

    *sigh*

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  2. I used to do that with my students—include the occasional gimme point into an assignment. It was always interesting to see how many of them didn't do it. Or, how many of them thought it was some kind of trick. I think I asked what their favorite color was once, and one student looked at me and asked, "What's the catch?" I was like, "No catch. Just write down a color. Any color at all. It doesn't even have to be your favorite. I won't know."

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  3. Too bad that some students didn't take advantage of an easy way to get another point and express their opinion about something related to the topic. Glad blogging helped with the assignment.

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  4. I'm terrible at open ended questions. If I was given something like that, I wouldn't have been able to answer either.

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  5. My random thought on the film and the roaring 20's, seems to be a lot of issues and bad things that were brought to the world in the 20s.

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  6. Freedom to write what they want is unusal in school, so it probably freaked them out. Assigning them more is probably a wonderful learning tool :)

    And in Oz, subs get offered contracts to take over a class, so they can take it for as long as necessary.

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  7. Really makes you wonder doesn't it!

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  8. They could've said anything. HI! Dummies.

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  9. I would have been one of those rare kids who would have loved watching this. I always liked reading about the 20s. The coming of sound film with the Jazz Singer and Jazz at the famous Cotton Club. All those cars! I wonder if kids are just getting more lazy. All they had to say is they would rather dance whatever they dance now than the Charleston

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    1. I wonder if some of them did enjoy it. It's hard to tell via the distance thing.

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  10. I dig the 20's and everything about them so this would've been a cool assignment for me. I would've probably shown up as a flapper. :) I just really don't get the kids man. Lazy is definitely the word that comes to mind.

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    1. Most did do it. I was just amazed that they skipped that one question.

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  11. I'm still amazed that The Great Gatsby's part of the high school curriculum. Tell me, Liz, in your opinion, does this book have anything the kids can relate to? I'm serious. I know it's a classic, and one I admire. In fact, I'm a Fitzgerald fan. I guess I'm thinking there are other books that would be more relevant to kids these days and ones they actually might read and respond to. Would love to hear what you think since you're in the classroom--well, virtually in the classroom.

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    1. I haven't really given it much thought. I'm personally not a fan. In 11th grade, they hit American lit pretty hard. They do U.S. history that year, too.

      If the full curriculum was dead white guys, I think I'd be more critical. However, they actually delve more deeply into some diverse writers. And they do lots and lots of writing.

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  12. I totally agree with AJ, most of the time kids learn to do things as we told them to do, not to be creative.
    In France, a sub is assign to a class as long as necessary (maternity leave or whatever)

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  13. Great assignment, Liz. And it’s a great book.

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    1. I didn't pick it. I'm just going along with the 11th grade teachers.

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  14. Good for you, Liz! How about having them come up with a question?

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