Monday, February 26, 2007

Hall of Fame...or Shame

The book title is a little hard to read; it says: Lazy Students Guide to Motivation and the kid is asking the mom to hand it to him. This has been the frustration of all teachers, I'm certain, from the beginning of education. However, now that I am working with teachers across oceans, thousands of miles away, even time zones 12 and 16 hours ahead of me, I really feel angst for student apathy.

Students were to fill out basic info about themselves and post their tale, all within 2 1/2 weeks with varying due dates. They also needed to respond to their South Korean students' stories. I have 1/3 of my students that haven't completed this last step, 5 that haven't done anything, and over 1/2 that haven't revised their story. I am amazed. They have consequences in the gradebook, which motivates some students, but for others, what is the motivation? They are excited to chat with students from around the globe, but when it comes to the academic endeavors, they still aren't doing the work. Aaarrrgh and . What do you do? I'm thinking of a competition between my 2 classes where the winning team gets a party...or maybe they both should get a party if they can get everyone to do the work and meet the deadlines. Hmmm...I think this last idea will motivate them. Everyone has friends in the class that can help him/her. We'll see how it works.

In the meantime, my cajoles, my threats, and my disappointment hopefully will motivate...someone? I did have one student say, "Sorry, Mrs. Davis. I'll step it up, tonight." 9th graders are a funny breed.

What was so interesting though, was when I logged onto the 1001 Tales Wiki today and saw the Hall of Fame...and Shame. This is a place for students to name the stars (students who have given strong feedback), too nice (ones that gave feedback that was nice, but not specific or helpful), or even mean. This should be interesting. I hope it doesn't become a retaliation game between countries. This, too will be interesting to track. For now, I'm off to check on the wiki to see if the students who "promised" they'd have something up by today, did what they said they would.

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At 4:06 PM, Blogger Karl Fisch said...

Have you asked them why? Both individually and collectively? Have you shared the wiki address with their parents - and asked them to check out their writing, send it to the grandparents, etc.? (If not, consider doing that Thursday night . . .). Hopefully they'll also start giving each other grief (politely) in the Hall of Fame and Shame.

Personally, I'd stay away from the party idea. Focus on the learning, the personal growth, the relevance to them, etc. - if we keep falling back on parties we'll never convince them it's about the learning.

At 9:41 PM, Blogger Davis said...

Great point, Karl. Thanks for grounding me.

And today, I went from thinking about parties to throwing them out the door and having them figure out a way to "earn" back into the classroom. I haven't figured out what I'm going to do with them. I have talked with them heart to heart, talked about their visions, their learning, my vision, my embarrassment even and my wish for classroom behavior and assignment completion.

They talked about how they value the assignments, but that they are swamped in all their classes with so many outside school assignments ---blogs, wikis, PowerPoint, webquests, not to mention the "normal" tests, papers, and assignments. Others did admit that they were simply being lazy. I'm in such a bad mood, I just want to put a movie in and call it good.

I know learning is messy and certainly trying new things will be better the 2nd time, but good grief, they are driving me nuts!

At 11:51 PM, Blogger Clay Burell said...

Hi M,

Please, please, please open this up for more reflection for the whole 1001 group on the 1001 Reflections blog. Just link to your original blog and add [Cross-posted from Michele's CIT Blog].

What we all struggle with in this project will be struggled with by others down the road; so help them (and take advantage of "crowd wisdon" and help yourself) by cross-posting your tips and lessons learned!

We have to find a time that works to get you in the Skype talks!

Hang in there. I think the 3 strikes policy (and maybe a week's "time out" for the first two strikes, to avoid pairing the unmotivated with partners who then won't get feedback) is something we need to look at more.

Next time around, we can emphasize that at the outset.

Remember, the first iteration--ours--will be the "messiest."

But man, you have some good writers too! Mallory so far is my favorite of all the writers from any school.

At 10:41 AM, Blogger C. Makovsky said...

I feel your pain, Michele. I admire you for your courageous endeavors. Few teachers are willing to take such risks--and to expose their successes and failures to such a wide audience. You amaze and inspire me.

Students often lack motivation--even when their teachers are constructivists who have access to cutting edge technology. I try not to let that bother me too much. Continue your efforts. Even if they don't produce great work this year, they'll reflect back on the experience in years to come and realize that they were part of an exciting new trend in education. You are opening the way for the rest of us--and I know that you'll
eventually find your way. It takes time to refine a lesson. Try this again next year, and you'll know what mistakes to avoid. Be patient with yourself. Time will unfold the way. (Gads...I sound like Yoda....)


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