Tuesday, October 10, 2006

So When You Say "Study," You Mean. . .?

I gave my first test of the year last Thursday. The test was what I refer to as a big-ass test. Not a quiz, not a test, but a BIG-ASS test. You know, the kind you should study for. We spent most of the preceding week preparing for the big-ass test. We talked about study techniques and test-taking strategies until I was bored out of my mind and the kids assured me they were golden on the whole big-ass test thing.

Then we made a collage.

The tests scores were decent, but not great. I gave the tests back today and had the kids do a reflection on their approach to the big-ass test. I'm big on reflection. In fact, inability to reflect on and learn from experience is on my list of dealbreakers. It's right up there with dishonesty, bigotry, and living in some cold-ass state like, I don't know, maybe Michigan.

Anyway, this little reflection activity revealed a shocking truth: Most kids did not study!

I know, I know, it's hard to believe. I mean, I TOLD them to study, right? I even told them HOW they should study and devoted three or four class periods to helping them do said studying. But kids these days have their own ideas about test preparation.

Check it out:

Describe in detail what you did to prepare yourself for the big-ass test.

On Wednesday night I was semi-aware of the test. I downloaded a few songs and listened to them. I then looked at a videogame I wanted. I then talked on AIM for a little while. (grade = 82%)

There is no "detail" in describing how I "prepared" for the test, because technically I didn't. (grade = 67%)

I came to class with a pencil. (grade = 82%)

I did Zen meditation. I lit scented candles in my room. Then I turned my room into a geography shrine. I had to do 500 push ups for every time I answered a question wrong. (grade = 95%. Little bastard.)

To be fair, many of my kids did what passes for studying in some circles.

I read over my notes and read over the vocabulary sheet. Like you TOLD us NOT TO.

I opened my notebook and looked through all the papers that had terms on them.

I looked over all my reading quizzes.

I made little notecards of all the vocab but I spent more time making them than studying them.

Went to sleep early, woke up and ate a good breakfast.
And then there's this guy.

I don't remember. (grade = 62%)
And speaking of not remembering, I also had a kid who stared blankly at the reflection assignment and finally announced, "I honestly don't remember a thing about this test." "That's because you didn't take it," I said drily while standing under my National Sarcasm Society poster. " Oh shit," he said.

And my classroom may be free of hats, caps, do-rags, coats, cell phones, iPods and all other electronic devices, but I draw the line at profanity. Really. Because you can't give a big-ass test and not allow kids to say "oh shit" when they realize they missed it.


lulu said...

We had a test? Really?

I need that poster by the way.

Megan said...

Why do you think I linked to it?

lulu said...

just for me? thanks man.

Chris said...

It actualls says "A Cold-Ass State" on our license plates. I think they meant it in a different way, though. Like you know when people use the word "cold" to mean "really outstanding" - like "That shit is COLD!"

In defense of Michigan, at least we didn't elect George Allen. Zing!

Phil said...

Study schmudy. I'm gonna be a rockstar anyway.

Megan said...

Chris: That must be some crazy-ass Michigan lingo. And as far as Allen goes, I like to think that's a mistake we won't make twice (although he used to be our governor so I guess technically we've already made it twice). I'd like to state for the record that I have never voted for George Allen. Have you checked to make sure your dad is voting for Webb? Do I need to have a chat with him about VA politics?

Phil: It's always good to have a back-up plan. Otherwise you might end up being like a teacher or something.

Chris said...

My dad is most definitely voting for Webb. Like me, he views George Allen as nothing more than "Dubya, Part Deux". He has become surprisingly astute politically in his later years, especially considering his conservative upbringing.

Melissa said...

I love your students. They kill me every time you write about them. Plus, I think if I had had you for a teacher, you would have been my all-time favaorite. And that's saying a lot, because I really dug some of my teachers.

Maritza said...

You're students are great. I want to be a kid again and take big ass tests and really not take them and say, Oh shit.

Coaster Punchman said...

I get sad when I think about how devoted to school I was. I used to study for vocab & spelling quizzes by saying the words aloud on a tape recorder, after which I would use the recorder to test myself. Geek extraordinaire. How did such a geek turn into the laziest person on earth? Did I use up all my motivation at a young age?


Megan said...

Chris: We just had a discussion at happy hour tonight about who will win. I think Allen's done, but apparently I'm the only one. The Dems just threw a bunch of money behind Webb though, so we'll see.

Melissa: I love my students too. And thanks. . .you're sweet.

Maritza: I could email you the big-ass test and then you could not take it.

CP: Wow. You really WERE a geek. Were you the kind of geek who cried if he didn't get an A?

IAMRONIN said...

How was the In-Service? Exciting? Did anyone mention the wonderful grading system? Hit me back. Ya Know, Holla!

Coaster Punchman said...

No. I never grade grubbed. If I got less than an A, I would just try harder the next time. (I did in fact listen to my mom's advice sometimes.) But I was very indignant with teachers if I ever felt wronged. E.g., in 7th grade my grades qualfied me for the "Honor Roll" instead of the "Merit Roll." When my teacher miscalculated and then filled out my name on a "Merit Roll" certificate by mistake, I got all official sounding with her, to the tune of "this is not appropriate! I worked hard to get on the Honor Roll and I would very much appreciate being recognized with the correct certificate!" etc.

Now THAT, my friend, is a GEEK. I'm still like that, unfortunately.

Love your blog - which is why I stop in with my comments daily.