Saturday, March 14, 2009

Last Minute WonderNots

4.5 weeks ago

Spent four hours of a weekend prepping a research project for my students.

Which included:

  • Guidelines for each part of the project

  • Timeline

  • Rubrics

4 weeks ago

Classes spent the week in the library, where they had three class periods to gather their research notes and sources.

Walked around and helped The Lost Ones.

3 weeks ago

Went over guidelines, timeline, and rubrics in class.

Asked the students if they had questions.

Gave them class time to work on writing up research.

2 weeks ago

Put students in groups.

Students had to:

Consolidate research, then go through and select research for group project.

Write a teacher lesson plan that included:

  • a way to present research that used teaching methods they wished teachers used more often.

  • a fun activity for students to use the information.

Consolidate research into one of three final products:

  • A brochure

  • An annotated bibliography

  • A traditional research paper

1.5 weeks ago

Announced after school tutorials would be everyday for students/groups that needed help.

1 week ago:

Students were given 50 minutes of three class periods to work on project.

Friday, March 13th

Group research report (brochure, annotated bib or research paper) due by 3 PM

School ends at 1:45 PM

Out of 150 students, 16 last minute wondernots show up after school and ask

Is something due today?

Can you explain it?

Can you help us?

Do they really think I am going to say,

Sure, I can help you pull a four week project out of your ass in one hour.

Since it is not PC to reply that or,

I think I should give you an “F” just for being stupid enough to ask me that.

I just go in my office and catch up on paperwork for an hour.

The fun part comes at 3 PM, when I go out to clear the inboxes and the 15 or so students working frantically on the computers create a cacophony of ear splitting cries.

You can’t buy this kind of fun. But you can watch it...

41 comments:

only a movie said...

Wow, you're like a real teacher, Pseudo. I just hang out w/ the Lost Ones all day...

Other half just said he looked like the Sean Penn character when he was in jr. high. (I don't remember any of that movie...)

Good for you for offering 3 different products. I don't envy you the correcting HW... and, oh shit, I forgot to start my report cards this weekend...

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Hi Movie - my school has a focus on project based curriculum. Differentiation is the keynote word these days. Most of them did the brochure. They're more interesting to grade than the other two...

Sean Penn is a hottie. Aren't you lucky?

Janie at Sounding Forth said...

Still, I bet you want to help those late ones...

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Hi Janie - Actually, I don't want to help them write a research paper in one hour. Because not even I can do that, and I'm not a bad writer. I'd rather they learn the value of producing a quality product, of managing their time. If I become an enabler to their worst habits I only encourage them.

They can redo the research and turn it in late for a 10% grade reduction. Which they need to because those kids who whipped it out in an hour all turned in crap.

If no one gives them consequences they will never learn to work through their shortcomings.

Jocelyn said...

Came to you through Midlife Jobhunter, and so glad I did. Oh. My. God.

The important part is this: I teach college, and they still haven't learned. Regularly, I have students disappear for two weeks, only to reappear, asking, "Did I miss anything?"

It IS hard to sit on the swear words right about then.

Smart Mouth Broad said...

That was a blast from the past! But seriously, what do you expect. You live in paradise. Your students must just sit there looking out the window all day and wish they were surfing. I would. *sigh*
Now, would someone teach me to surf?

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Jocelyn- I am so sorry to hear that. I regale my students with stories of college rigor and expectations. My favorite one is that when I was an undergrad, the professors coud give us an "F" on a paper if it had five errors.

SMB - Gotta love Spicoli, yes?

mo.stoneskin said...

You know what I would suggest don't you?

Lines...

starrlife said...

God that was funny! I was always the quiet one in class. You sound like an awesome teacher. 15 or so lost ones isn't too bad an average it seems...

Sotorrific Twins said...

Too funny! No matter what you do, there will always be those few. Its like a law of nature, I think. Or physics, maybe.

lisa said...

I'm chuckling here.....

From a parent standpoint, I'm feeling the pain for the students although you are very generous with your help and time permited to work on the project at school.

From a teacher standpoint, I'd be frustrated and angry.

But, we've been at our kitchen table trying to crank out a big project the night before many, many times. Yuck!

Fragrant Liar said...

So many times, I remember my own four being part of the Last-Minute WonderNots, or maybe that should be WonderSnots. But I can't imagine them having almost 4 weeks to prep for something, during class time, and not come up with a gradable project. I'd have their hides!

smiles4u said...

It is incredibly maddening to say the least, not just for you but many of their parents as well. By not enabling your students you are teaching them a valuable lesson for life. The sad thing is, many of these kids will not learn and go off to college and work...out in the world in general and expect people to make special allowances for them....always expecting that they can push the rules or limits and being okay with putting out mediocere work but yet expecting great results with such poor effort.

When my oldest son was in high school he had a paper he was suppose to be working on for like 6 weeks but this kid of mine rarely brought home homework, yet he got all A's. School came easy for him and yes, he used his time wisely in school to get his work done. Anyways, he kept putting off this paper that he was suppose to be researching and writing. Finally, the evening before he started working on it. He did it in like 4 hours. I knew that this paper was probally satisfactory and that it was probally even better then some that had worked weeks on theirs. But I knew he had not learned the point of the teachers lesson and the bottom line was, I knew it could/should have been a lot better. The next morning I called the teacher (to be fair, he, along with the rest of my children knew ahead of time that I would do things such as this) and talked to him about my son and his paper. That I wanted him to expect more out of him since he was capable of so much more. The teacher did call me back after seeing the paper and said without knowing, he would have given him a B+. In the end, my son ended up doing the paper over again, this time the right way and got a B instead of an A, because of turning it in late, otherwise would have been an A. Yes, at first my son was angry with me but he knew himself that he was not working to his potential. I wanted my son to learn a life lesson about mediocracy and work ethics. Now my son is 26 and a very hard worker. Now he is a position at work of being over people and dealing with people that don't really want to work so do the bare minimum and doing mediocre work. Now he gets it.

Keep up the great work! What your doing now with your students will affect them even if they don't realize it. Once again thank you for all that you do.

I enjoyed the blast to the past with that video!

Amy said...

I had classmates that would do that when I was in school. When I knew something was due I went to work and got it done early. Then they would do it within a day and get a great grade sometimes.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Teaching the lesson of striving for excellence and not acceptig mediocrity is one of the most difficult. My husband works in the hotel industry as a supervisor. He did not go to college and worked very hard to get where he is. He is often frustrated with the workers and having to push to get them to work at capacity....

Sarah's Blogtastic Adventures said...

Great clip I love Sean Penn!!

Christine said...

Even though I haven't taught the research paper or assigned a project in a few years, I feel your pain and frustration. I love the way you write about it though! Thank you, thank you for that clip! I've always told my husband if we get a dog, it's name will be Spicoli.

Debbie said...

Thank you for not helping them. We need to be raising a generation of people who know who to set goals and achieve results.

Beth said...

Hilarious! It is so typical of a few kids.

Do you hear from their parents? That is what I usually get.

Pancake said...

Wasnt that guy from My Fav Martian??? I love it that you hold them accountable. You are preparing them for college, WELL DONE! and THANK YOU from a parent that wishes YOU were there teacher!

mrsbear said...

Oh no! I suppose 10% of your students isn't too bad. I'm embarrassed to admit my daughter falls in to this category. She thinks she's got more time than she actually does. Although I think the weeks of reminders and work you did with them makes it impossible to use ignorance as a valid excuse. Where were they for the past 4.5 weeks? Do you have a Spicoli in your classes by any chance?

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

For the 4.5 weeks, these kids were making up excuses and pretending to do work whenever I went by their tables.

I will proabably hear from a couple of parents, but the research is just 70% of the total project grade. If they pull themselves up by their bootstraps, they could still get a C+ on the total package.

And sometimes, some of them need the total lesson of getting a bad grade to understand consequences and to improve their work habits.

It's a learning curve....

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Oops. I meant the reseach is 30% of their grade. 70% is still to come.

BlackenedBoy said...

I hope you flunked them for the project. It would have taught them a valuable lesson.

Then again, they can't see all the effort that you put into it, either. To them it's just something you mentioned a few times a while back.

Jan said...

Oh, you get many, many props for not helping the slackers.

And you are SO underpaid. Yes, you are.

Kristan said...

LOL woooow... I'm a procrastinator, and was always that kid who stayed up and did her long-term projects the night before, but at least I did them THE NIGHT BEFORE! Not 2 hours before they were due!

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

I know I've got procrastinators out there who can do a decent job, maybe not their best, but a decent job, the night before. I was like that myself. But I would never have shown up the day it ws due and ask the teacher for help and hour before it was due...

Casey said...

Thanks for the clip, I haven't seen that movie in ages. Greatest movie of all time (well, one of them)!

I love how lost those kids are even though you practically spoon fed them every step of the way. Those were the kids who always annoyed me and tried to cheat off of my work. I was in the middle between the kiss asses and the slackers but I always got my work done. It's too bad you can't pull a stunt like Mr Hand did...

Melissa B. said...

These are the cherubs who cry great big alligator tears as seniors when they don't get into a "selective" college. The ones who, well into middle age, still won't be able to find their como-se-llamas if you give them an A and the first S.

Rikki said...

Dude, it totally takes me three hours to write a research paper.

*snort*

I'm a little glad to know that wondernots can exist even in Hawaii!

Mariah said...

My kids tried this crap ONCE and I said "Gow in the world do you think your teacher feels when you have known about this project for weeks?" I laid the guilt on my kids. And it worked b/c they love their teachers and felt bad.

HeatherPride said...

Wow, I just got a horrible flashback! Although I was always the kid who turned in her stuff on time, projects like these were hugely stressful!

Sheryl said...

I think it's great you held to your guns. When they get on the job site their employer is not going to put up with it.

My oldest is always turning in late work and we just can't seem to get it through her head that she has to stay caught up and get things in on time.

Have a great week.

Brigit said...

I'm so glad my daughter has finished school. Those times of procrastination were sooo infuriating. No, she didn't do well in her final couple of years, and is now remorseful. I don't need to say "I told you so," to her, she knows, and actually advised another younger girl in her final year to 'pull her finger out.'

If only she'd realised a couple of years ago. Would have made life so much more pleasant for her and for her teachers.

flurrious said...

I'm going to have to watch that movie again. I'd forgotten how realistic it is, right down to the stoner who somehow thinks it's relevant or interesting that he "knows that guy." I also now have the urge to smell a mimeograph, but sadly those days are gone forever.

Columbia Lily said...

Do you teach at my school??????? I think we have the SAME KIDS.

My favorite line is when they come back from being absent and ask, "did we do anything yesterday?" I have taken to responding with, "no, we lit candle and waited for you to come back."

Midlife Jobhunter said...

"Is something due today?"

OMG! Is my son in your class?

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

I'm just glad my son is not in my class. Or my school. I like to keep my worlds separate.

But a teacher this year called me that my son missed a test and so got an "F." I said OK. She called me two more times to tell me. I said, I'm totally OK with you giving him an "F." He'll have to figure out how to raise his grade. That's more important than his havign straight A's...

Jack said...

I remember having lots of classmates who would always wait 'till the last min. to work on projects or who would get extensions, oh that would burn my ass! I was always the keener who worked my butt off to finish a day or two early and the slackers would get extra day or two... gah! Still makes me mad ;)

thistle said...

hmmm...i am a notorious procrastinator myself who managed to get thru pulling a few all-nighters...why do we do such things when we are kids...i can't do it anymore, really physically can't...

And i love that you found a clip of Mr Hand...it's PERFECT!

Laura said...

All I can say is I commiserate. What is with these kids? At what point do many of them people responsible for their actions and their work? I also did a big research paper with mucho time in the library. One student had the gall to present three sentences in answer to such questions as: How did World War I end? FOCUS on the GOOD students! The responsible ones who don't need hearing aids.