Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Day 55: Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V

I'm glad that I'm not an English teacher.

I like History and would have liked to have been a History teacher.  I like the stories and have had some wonderful teacher who brought the subject to life for me.  The primary reason that I didn't go into history (other than the fact that it's almost impossible for a history teacher to get a job in this area) is the fact that I didn't want to grade essays and papers.

That still holds true.  I hate grading essays and papers.  I forgot about how badly I do when I gave "write a 2 page research paper" as an option for the chapter assessment.

While the sun models, for the most part, showed dedication, creativity, the majority of the papers demonstrated my students' abilities to copy and paste from Wikipedia.

As I went through the paper that were turned in, I came to two very important conclusions which I don't think will be a shock to anyone:
1. Students don't read directions.
2. Students don't check their work.

As with the projects yesterday, a large number of students lost point simply because they neglected to follow the rubric.  They forgot title pages, they didn't type their papers, they didn't write to the designated length and they didn't write introductions or conclusions.

Several students didn't even turn in research papers, but printed out Powerpoint slides.

Most egregious, however, were those students who copied whole paragraphs from Wikipedia or Nasa.gov. I'm not going to really talk about plagiarism here except to say that those students received 0's and, if they want to make up the assignment, they need to get a parent signature to acknowledge why they earned the 0.

But two students who were out yesterday brought me models of the sun made out of cake today, so I don't care about anything else.

Yesterday in physics, we began by discussing elements of experimental design.  I challenged them to design an experiment that would verify the value of acceleration due to gravity that we've been using.

Today, they put those experiments into practice.  Each group had slightly different ways to verify the data.  One group used spheres of different sizes and density.  Another tried to minimize air resistance by constructing paper cones and loading them with different masses.  A third used fruit.

Seriously, they dropped fruit down the stairs.

I'm incredibly proud of the work they did today.  Debrief tomorrow followed by gorging on turkey!


  1. Yeah, I went into Math because I'm not fond of essays and papers either... but now every test is effectively a paper I have to grade, because there's no points any more. It's all qualitative and expectations and rubrics. I swear it's killing me slowly. (Is it bad that I think the job would be easier if I could simply spot plagiarism, as opposed to knowing the student is trying to show me some original math here, if only I could figure out what the heck it is? So that I can then finally grade accordingly?)

    At any rate, pat yourself on the back, as it seems like you were able to go through and grade a bunch of things in what seems like a day! It still takes me about a week. You can have your cake and eat it too! Or fruit, I suppose.

    1. This job would TOTALLY be easier if we could do it all with Scantron! I long for the days when I thought that was an indicator of good teaching.

      Ignorance truly is bliss.

      I still have a giant stack of stuff to grade and I may just ...not.

    2. Scantron is at least an indicator of fast teaching, which is a necessity with insane semester turnarounds. But I hear you.

      Not works. Enjoy your Thanksgiving!


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