Wednesday, March 2, 2011
I find myself frequently despairing at the low level of my 7th graders writing ability and even their thinking ability some days. So many times it feels like I am beating my head against a wall. Or perhaps a better metaphor is trying to move a donkey. They just don't want to put out any effort to do better. After grading a stack of papers that were barely a paragraph in length, many not even on topic, when they were supposed to be at least a page in length, it was such a relief to read C's paper that was a well structured, clearly defined opinion, three paragraphs in length. Ahh. Thank you!
It's those little things I need to look for to help keep my sanity and remember that I really do love these kids. I need those things to keep me from wanting to beat them with a noodle or give them a firm shaking. And as I thought about how frustrating they can be, I remembered the moment in grammar this morning when we were reviewing active and passive voice. The exercise required that we make the sentence passive by placing the receiver in the subject position. One sentence read: "My mother washed the windows." I walked them through the sentence:
"What is the verb?"
"Who is doing the washing?"
"What is being washed?"
"Okay, now if we put the receiver in the subject position, how does the sentence read?"
"The windows washed my mother." replied one boy.
We burst out laughing. "Wow, D." I said. "Those are some pretty incredible windows at your house!"