Wednesday, December 06, 2006

On a more positive note . . .

Now, I may have come across as "slightly" negative in my last blog, so I want to point out that, actually, a lot of students did more than the required amount of blogs. I guess my problem is that I always focus on the negative stuff. I have decided to focus a bit on the positive stuff from last semester:

I learned a lot about different cultures.
I met some really nice people, and I will always remember them.
Some of the students improved quite a lot! It was amazing to watch their English growing over the semester.
The students gained some valuable skills that are going to help them in their future studies.
The students made some new friends in the class.

See, there are lots of positive things from last semester . . .

From now on, I am going to try and focus on the positive things.

When life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Concerned . . .

So once again it is the end of the semester and I find myself tabulating marks. It always astounds me how some students just seem to give up, or not complete activities as required by the course. Blogs would be the perfect example of this. Here is a quote from the handout all the students received on how the blogs would be evaulated:

You will write approximately one entry per week (minimum 12 entries) with a minimum of 200 words for each entry. Students are encouraged to write more.

You are also required to read and make comments on two other student or teacher blogs every week for a total of at least 24 comments. Students are encouraged to make more comments.

The final due date for the blog project is Friday December 1 when you should have a total of at least 12 blogs and 24 comments. You need to do at least 12 blogs and 24 comments in order to get full marks. Your blog contributes to your final participation mark.

Please note that you are only allowed to write one blog entry per day. Multiple entries made on the same day will be counted as one entry.

I went over these parameters with the students in class. They all had the handout, so they could have read the requiements. However, many students didn't write the requisite 200 words per blog! It was right there in black and white! Also, many students missed the requirement that they only write one blog per day. How depressing. I think some people are going to be shocked by their blog marks. 12 blogs x 200 words per blog = 2400 words. That means if you only wrote 1200 words over the course of the semester, you only received 50%. That mark is then calculated as part of the final participation mark.

The most interesting aspect of all of this is that many of the students who received low marks on their blogs, also are receiving low marks in class. There seems to be a direct correlation between the amount of effort students put into their blogs and the grade they receive on their essays and exams. The irony of all of this is that students come to me a week or two before the final exams, and they ask me "what can I do to get a better mark". Well, you could have blogged at least 200 words every week like you were supposed to.

I'm so curious . . . don't the students see a connection between doing homework and getting a high mark on the final exam? I guess not. That is why they end up failing. My job is to try and get them to see the connection. You can't expect to be a great pianist if you never practice. You can't expect to be a great writer if you never practice.


Friday, December 01, 2006

Who had fun at the pizza party last Friday???? I know I did! I ate so much pizza, it was amazing. After classes had started again, we found out that there was lots of pizza left over, so naturally I had to eat more. I think I must have eaten six pieces of pizza . . . and I wonder why I have been gaining weight. I think the best pizza was the Greek Pizza. It was the perfect mix of feta and mozzarella cheese. I do love pizza . . . . anyway, enough about pizza!

Today is the last day of classes before the final exams. I brought in madarin oranges, chips and juice so that we could have a snack while we were studying. It was fun. I got the mandarin oranges because they were from China, and I thought it would be nice for the student to have something from home. I tried to find things from Iran and Romania . . . but there was nothing from those counties in Safeway. Sorry Salia and Adelheid!

Anyway, I hope all the students get lots of studying done this weekend. My biggest piece of advice for them was to read ALL of the articles in their reading textbook, and their writing textbook. They should even read the articles that their teachers hadn't talked about in class. I hope everyone does this. I also suggested picking 10 new words from each chapter and memorizing them. I hope it helps . . . it can't hurt :-)

Good luck everyone!