If some of the comments my students have made in class lately are any indication on how they are performing on this week’s IA Assessments… well…shit.
Reason for Concern #1: After reading the directions to the Reading Part 1 test, including a painfully detailed description on how to properly fill in a bubble on an answer sheet, I had students look at their own answer sheet and put their finger on the answer section for this test. I walked up and down rows saying, “Put your finger on your bubble sheet. Point to where your answers for this section will go.” Once we were in the clear, the test began. Two minutes later, a hand goes up. I whisper to the student, “Are you confused? What can I help you with?” He looks at me and whispers, “so, do you want us to…like…do we mark our answers on this sheet?”
Reason for Concern #2: In class, I had a student take a nap rather than do his work. As everyone else was finishing up with only minutes of class to spare, I instructed them to sit quietly. I told them, “You have a couple of minutes. You can read your book, just sit quietly, or even study the insides of your eyelids for a bit.” To which a student asked, “How can you study the insides of your eyelids?” I pointed to the sleeping student and said, “Ask him. He’s mastered it.” A class was dismissed, my sleeping student approached my desk.
Student: “Miss Lewis, I couldn’t do any work today. Do you want to know why I couldn’t do any work today?”
Me: “Sure, friend. Regale me.”
Student: “Well. I hurt my hand”. (blah, blah, blah, I wasn’t listening 100%)… “And I can’t even feel my hand.” (He holds up his left hand.) “I’m pretty sure I broke my hand.”
Me: “Oh. Are you left-handed?”
Student: “No.” (Proceeds to stare at me for a minute then holds up both hands.) “I think I broke both of my hands.” (I found out later he started his next class by telling his teacher he couldn’t do any work today, because he had broken both of his thumbs.)
Reason for Concern #3: Today we practiced evaluating arguments. The article was titled
Are Zoos Ethical? Before we started reading, we looked at the source for each article and talked about why that person would be for or against zoos. One source was the director of a zoo. For the second source, I told the kids, “Find the source for the NO side at the bottom of the article. I see the name Marta Holmberg. What does it say under her name? What is her background? What word do you recognize?” 3 students out of the entire class actually look at their paper. After a second a student shouts out. “PETA. She works for PETA.” I ask the kids, “And what is PETA?” Two students simultaneously shout, “Peeta Mellark!” “Light-skinned!” W.T.F?
At that point, one of my most outspoken students who excels at not being aware that she has no clue what is going on ever, jumps up and walks across the room. She slaps the Hunger Games poster on the wall and yells, “This is a Peeta! And yes, he’s white!”
Me: “Children! Put your eyeballs on your paper. What is PETA? Read it out loud to me.” They all mumble, “People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals” and the room is filled with giggles, and “ohs.” Except for the student who is now making her way back to her desk. She plops down, still completely oblivious and shouts, “So take that, President Snow White!” (After reading Catching Fire it its entirety, she still thinks the character’s name was President Snow White…She also still does not know what PETA is.)
I’m still working on how the other student got, “light-skinned.” She seemed pretty convinced it was a thing.