Monday, February 15, 2010

House plan projects are well underway, due tomorrow, despite our rocky start and litany of excuses....

I whittled away at their excuses:

I didn't have a measuring tape. (why didn't you borrow one?)
My great aunt's funeral was yesterday. (It was also Kristi's grandma and she managed to get hers done. The woman died last THURSDAY. (this was Tuesday....)You KNEW about the funeral ahead of time.)
My dad said it is too personal. (Ok, that one is just odd and I am going to call dad this evening.)
I didn't know when it was due. (We talked about it every day and it was written on the board.)
There is snow outside my house. (There is snow outside everyone's house. AND, you could have just measured the rooms inside.)
I didn't know whether to measure in inches or feet. (OK, well, no good answer for that one!)
I just didn't do it. I am gonna do it tonight, maybe. (FINE, WHATEVER...)

The most difficult was the "too personal" but finally today, I was able to get in touch with those parents, who were just as confused by that comment as I was. Apparently, that conversation was imaginary between Dad and son.

It's been a tough project this year, though, and I think, will be my last attempt at this. Too many parents drew them for kids or printed copies from originals. But I am working on a new scale project for next year that will tie social studies, language arts and math all together, drawing scale replicas of famous Eastern Hemisphere landmarks. It should be a cool project with more to it than math. Students can research not only the actual dimensions of their landmark, but its history and interesting background.

I am frustrated with the first few projects turned in as well. Several 'A' students have turned them in, happy to be done, ready to hand it over for a grade. When I sat down with them, however, it was obvious students had not looked over the check list I provided, leaving off the most obvious parts, such as the scale it was drawn to! Therein another struggle presents itself: give it back and make them do it correctly, or deduct the points as shown on the sheet they had from square one on the project and they can suffer the consequences of the low grade.

Part of me wants perfection from each and every one of them, wants to keep handing it back, over and over until it shines. Another part says wait... they KNEW they had 2 more days of classtime to work, as well as they had the checklist to look at, and models to compare theirs to, but made a conscious decision (is there such a thing as a conscious decision for a 7th grader??) to NOT get the 'A'.

Either way, most of the rest of my week will be spent digging through piles of blueprints, counting squares and measuring walls, assigning points of shame or grandeur.


Teresa said...

Hi Cossondra- I always struggled with the house project too. I'm very interested in your project for next year. You'll have to let me know how it goes... or... If I'm teaching Social Studies next year perhaps we could collaborate. Speaking of which, are you interested in Skyping this year? I'd like to fit it in to my SS class... maybe we could work collaboratively on a project. Let me know!

cossondra said...

I would love to Skype but our computers are so ancient, it would never work. We have a bond renewal next week. If it passes, we are getting NEW computers :) so then I would LOVE to!

The house projects are pretty good overall. Still collecting and assessing!

Anonymous said...

Hey Mrs. George, I'm an 8th grade student in Indiana and stumbled across your blog a couple days ago and I've found it funny and insightful. I guess I've never relized how much effort teachers put into us kids. Thanks for you're hard work!

When I was in 6th grade we did something similar to your house project, but we used our lockers instead. If your students did this during class time, there wouldn't be as many excuses, just a thought :)

-Corinn Mundy