12 marzo 2010

grading amusements

i'm grading some essays my students wrote for state mandated english assessments of ESL students. (called TELPAS, for those who care to know.) it's work for everybody involved, but very interesting.

for instance, had i never given the science prompt to "describe 3 animals and explain how they interact with other living and nonliving things," i would never have had several of my students inform me some variation on the theme that "vampires are some of the animals that go in the night. They kill people and sleep on a tree with his feet. The vampires live in a cave because they don't like the day. Some of the vampire drink some bloods of the humans." (i had mercy and edited the above excerpt for spelling.)

see? language is all about connotation... and their little neurons can't think of the concept of BATS without getting the easier accessed word VAMPIRE as well. what blows my mind is that the original excerpt included the silent "e" on vampire... what a world.

from a prompt requiring them to write about their favorite character from Narnia and what they would do did they have a day with that person:

*"If I was in Narnia I was go with Aslan because I want to see the beautiful hair of Aslan."
*"My favorite character was Aslan because he is strong and I want to be like him. And play in the snow."
*"My favorite character is Aslan becasue he was a lion and 'osoom' [sic]. That's why if I was in Narnia I play with Aslan in snowfight and snowman and play the monster."
*"If I was in Narnia, I will take the wand of the witch and make a rock."

from the good ol' "when I grow up..." prompt... less edited:

"When I grow up i wanna be a Presedent. Because I will have alot of money but i don't care how many money I have. The only thing is my career of presedent i care. I can give money to stores so they can pay more two the workers. I can even low down teh price of the gas station for one dollar. If I were presendent I will do everything for people so they can live better in the whole world. Like Barack Obama, but more better than him. ...I will be good and if they say that we don't sell beers we will not sell beers or we will put army where they pass a state to another state so they can't pass drugs or weapons to Texas...."

[personally quite entertaining:] "I would like to be a teacher because I can take my class to recess and be nice to them. And give them a little bit of homework and so I can print stuff. I would give them a assignment in the morning. And if they don't do their homework I do not let them go to P.E. If they do it I will let them go to recess for a extra 10 minutes. If they are really good, I will make a pizza party. [that child, brilliant boy, TOTALLY PUT THE COMMA AFTER THE INTRODUCTORY CLAUSE ALL BY HIMSELF. wow. i'm seriously impressed. in case the all caps didn't give that away...] When they are bad I give them soem work to do. If they are normal I will give them fun stuff to do and some work. And in Fridays I will not give them any work or homework. I will be good teacher. [Unlike which bad-giver-of-homework-on-weekends, dear?] I will never be mean unless they are bad. And I will give them rewards for being good. Like some designed pencil. And in the end of school I will give them something."

... one assignment was for them to write about their P.E. class last Friday. What a fascinating thing it is to read 16 children's portrayals of one 45 minute period. How different they all think! How telling is their description of others... wow...

verbal thought: 15 chimes in again

today, during a movie, #15 would/could not stop commenting. now, normally, i'm a big movie-talker myself and thusly have a high tolerance for it. today was different and some of the more silent of my students were perturbed. "miss h, can you move the ppl. who are talking?!"

so i did. he talked less, but still he continued. i periodically sent withering stares his way. sometimes he'd trail off into a "sorry" and return his attention to the movie. one time, he totally destroyed my ferocious glare by excitedly finishing his train of thought and then punctuating it with a matter-of-fact, "i'm done now," and turning back to the movie. so much for "the look." i think i need a spring break to polish it up...