Wednesday, February 20, 2013


I was away at a conference for two days, so I needed something the kids could do in the presence of a sub. Researching for Kindergarten, I found a site that I thought my middle schoolers could replicate.  I wrote up crystal clear instructions. The project was just hard enough they would need to struggle a bit, but  not so much they would lose sleep.

Or so I thought...

  • On Monday I got an email from a student begging to have a new partner.  
  • Somehow, students missed that they needed two words per letter.
  • They didn't realize that it had to be posted online, not on a PowerPoint or Keynote.
  • I saw kids taking pictures off of Google Images, which not only was against the instructions but also violate the creative commons talks we've recently had.
  • Throughout the week, I had a few more instances of partners not working well together.
  • I gave the kids three due date extensions to give them time to finish without penalty.

What went wrong? I have to be honest and admit that I wrote up a bigger project than I thought it was.  Sometimes you just don't know till you see it in real life.  My frustration is that numerous students did not read the directions closely enough.  I've watched this group of kids push through smaller obstacles than this, but there seemed to be no motivation from the students to learn something new. I kept hearing things like...
  • Wait! It can't be on PowerPoint?
  • I put the Keynote in your Dropbox.
  • We need two words per letter?
  • Oh, I couldn't figure out how to put the pictures on the document, so I didn't.
  • What kind of grade will this be? 
  • What's the point of this assignment? It doesn't have anything to do with what we're doing in class.
I was hoping to have nine really good web sites for you to look at.  I was excited!  Now, I have fodder for the "How Could It Have Been Better?" File.  

In the meantime, what do you think of my revised version

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