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Monday, March 3, 2014

My first vocabulary collection assignment

It is very frustrating to get excited about a lesson that does not turn out as planned. I spent two days explicitly teaching the vocabulary collection assignment. We went over step-by-step instructions. I provided examples of my own, and we went through a gradual release of responsibility set of examples together. 

For starters, only about half of my students turned the first student assignment in. I understand that this is because I gave it as homework, and homework is a disaster in today's classroom. Secondly, out of those who did turn the work in, most did not follow the instructions. Labels were missing. Similes were analogies. Haiku had too many syllables. Rhyming poems did not. Thirdly, some work was so sloppy (meaning it was done the class period before) I could not even read it. And this is with two days, tutoring time, and instant messenger access to me. 

I do have some gems like the following, but these are few and far between:

So what to do? I am not ready to give up on this assignment, but there are clearly issues with understanding. And using it for homework is not going to work.

We are missing today due to weather, and Tuesday and Wednesday, we are in district testing shutdowns. That means I will not even see my students for class until Thursday and Friday, and then we go on spring break. Doing the assignment this week will not work. 

After spring break, I am out of my class for three days for state ESL testing. I will only be in the classroom on Monday and Friday, leaving me with these thoughts: Every Friday, we have enrichment day. That means shortened classes to add an extra period to the day. After spring break, I am going to try this assignment on Fridays in class where I can monitor the work and students can ask questions. We are very close to testing season, and once exams start passing by, kids think school is over. I want to continue focusing on academic vocabulary to help them understand we are still doing academic work. 

Right now, I need to grade what is left without feeling beat down (sigh). 


  1. I hate when I feel that I've prepared my student for what I view as a "cut and dry" assignment, to find it blow up at me. It's refreshing to see that your students are just like others. Sometimes blogger's students seem impervious to the things that plague the rest of our students. :)

    Homework. It's frustrating. While I feel that the extra practice is necessary, the kids who do it aren't the ones who need it.

  2. You give me too much credit. I am just another teacher who happens to write a blog. My students are knuckleheads. I work hard for them, though, because I know in the next year or so they will begin making big decisions.