it's been a while, yes, i know.

here we are, wrapping up the 2nd marking period, and i can safely say that at least 50%, if not more, of my students will fail this semester. two assignments comprised the grade, classwork weighing it at 60% and homework at 40. at my insistence, the classwork was completed by at least 98% of my students. the homework, an independent research project on the topic of their own choice, excluding celebrities, bands, and video games, was completed by somewhere in the vicinity of 35-40% of students. and of that, only about 30% actually met the requirements. the learning i'm taking away from this is that 8th graders do not know how to research a topic. they do not understand the consequences of plagiarism, they did not pay attention when i taught them to validate their information online and cross check their facts. they did not listen when i taught them to document their resources. they reverted back to their copy and paste methods, and i caught them, and they will fail. my favorite thing to do is print up the wikipedia or ehow or yahoo answers or howstuffworks article they used and staple it to their report, highlighting the identical paragraphs in coordinating colors. and they just don't get it. they think this is ok. next up, a lesson on the consequences of plagiarism at the high school and college level.

i'm attempting to make the upcoming 3rd marking period more fun for my students, which, much to their dismay does not include turning my classroom into an arcade hall, but giving them some options about what to learn next. one class seems particularly bent on making their own web pages, while another wants to make podcasts to play for each other. the web page thing should be easy, i'm actually going to lead them through blogs first, then get them into google sites probably, or knol, unless anyone has any alternative suggestions or recommendations. as for the podcasting, we'll do that in garage band, which they've got some minimal exposure to, and i need some brushing up on myself.

there's much to do in the upcoming days and weeks to get ready for this, but i think it may actually make my experience and my students' more meaningful and engaging.

speaking of which, my sister got engaged over christmas and i'm going to boston the weekend after next to meet the machatunim. ok, they're not really my machatunim but i couldn't resist using the word.