oxymoron67: (reading)
I finished all my grading!

For all the fun I've had with this class's questionable grasp on things, I have to admit a few things:

When they were on, they were spot on. When they weren't... they weren't even close. It was strange: they either got what I was talking about or were so totally lost it was scary.

Also, I think the sentence "The dinosaurs died after the renaissance of Jesus Christ in 400 AD" has to be in my top five of favorite student wtf? moments.

I'll miss this class's wackiness. They were fun.

Meantime, I was talking with my boss tonight. (I was helping him with the final speeches for an on-line course: this class meets face to face twice: once at the beginning of the term and once at the end.)

After the speeches we were talking while I shutting stuff down, and he asked me the following two questions:

1) Can I teach a speech and language disorders class?

2) How about Normal Language Development?

I can't do the first. I just don't have the background.

The second one? I can do that. I had to study this sort of thing for linguistic classes as well as for foreign language pedagogy courses. I;d have to brush up, but I cold do it.

Now, I only get to teach one class a term, and, frankly, this isn't my choice. I'd rather do a more performance based class, rather than a theory based one.

But he may have no one else. And honestly, it would look goo don the CV to say that I did it.
oxymoron67: (Default)
Re: Virginia

"Jamestown was named after John Smith."

The thing is... outside of this, the student did a great job.
oxymoron67: (Default)
The States Project is due on Thursday. Using Windows MovieMaker (or iMovie, of they work at home with a Mac), my students have to put together a two to three minute presentation on their state with photographs they find online and their narration.

Since it *IS* a research project, they have to put their sources in their end credits.

The first time I did this I tried to require MLA style citations for this.

DISASTER.

So, I just require the list of websites where they got their info. It's something.

This is not a difficult project (from a technical standpoint. I am surprised at the results of their "research."). It can be time consuming, though.

As a result, they had last night to put it together.

Of my 25 students, three finished. Another ten or so are well on their way and will be fine. The rest? You know, there is only so much I can do.

My students DID seem to get offended when, after noticing that over half of them were not working on their projects, I said, "You realize that this is due at the start of class on Thursday. Why are you all just sitting here with your thumbs up your asses*?"

Don't care.

Tomorrow;s class, wherein we see the States Projects, should be interesting.
oxymoron67: (Default)
I videotaped my students giving their last readings. They had a selection of twelve excerpts from famous speeches of the 20th Century:

The Children's Hour by Margaret Sanger (4)
RFK's Remarks on the Assassination of MLKjr (4)
Plea for Mercy for Leopold and Loeb by Clearance Darrow (3)
The Marshall Plan by Gen. George C. Marshall
A Whisper of AIDS by Mary Fisher (3)
The Challenger Disaster Speech by Ronald Reagan
JFK's Ich bin ein Berliner speech
The Perils of Indifference by Elie Weisel
The Oklahoma City Bombing Speech by Bill Clinton (5)
The Struggle for Human Rights by Eleanor Roosevelt (4)
Mr. Joseph Welch at the McCarthy Hearings (1)
Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points

The parentheses mark how many students chose that speech. I am amazed that no one chose Berliner of the Challenger. If I was given this assignment, I would totally choose the Challenger Speech. (I do not tell the students this.)

I got the texts for these speeches at American Rhetoric's website.

I think I will be changing a few. No one chooses The Marshall Plan and Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points, for example, and the folks that chose Eleanor Roosevelt's Human Rights speech this term all did a terrible job. Its language/rhythm may be too difficult.

Also... I'm never videotaping this again. I always video one of the weekly recordings. I have found that the news report is the best one, so I'll go back to that. It's shorter, for one thing, and I can do more with it (turn it into a news show, for example).

I'm not abandoning having them do SOMETHING that we video, simply because having them watch themselves makes sense.

Anyway, at the end of class, I announced that these recordings would all be posted to our BlackBoard site, where they could watch themselves.

Many of my students complained because their classmates would be able to see them.

I said, "But they've already SEEN you do this assignment. They're all right here."

Next week... they finish up their states projects, as it is the last week of class.
oxymoron67: (Default)
How can I tell? The smell of desperation in the air at work.

Professors followed down the hall by students... some of these students have legitimate issues; some, not so much. Let;s look at my students.

Let's look at mine for an example:

1) The student who complained about me at the start of the term because "(my) quizzes are too hard."

She's actually a very good student. There is a family event in another country that she cannot get out of, and is asking to take the final early.

I don't have issue with this. Also, I tend to believe her because she's not asking for an extension, she wants the final done.

2) The student who missed four classes because of a drunk driving beef

I've given this one every break I can. But when a student only does three of the ten weekly recordings, there is nothing I can do. Also, you missed those classes because of your court-mandated traffic school stuff. So what;s the excuse for being late almost every single class since?

3) The student who is always over a half hour late, has never turned a homework assignment in on time and tries to sneak in without me noticing.

Sure you can hand in homework that was due in September. Don't count on getting any points for it.

4) The student I caught shopping for shoes online.

You're not at home. You don't get to wail about privacy issues in a public space. Also, do you work. Your grades aren't that good.

5) The woman who uses who lack of English skills as an excuse for everything

Maybe if you actually spoke English, the skills would improve. Also, I've told you about the tutoring programs here at the school. I can't force you to take advantage of them.

6) The one who sleeps

Yes, technically you're here, and I can't mark you absent. Though I wonder if my boss would back me up if I tried marking you as absent...

Regardless, this will destroy the class participation part of your grade.

The thing is... if the one who sleeps got her act together, she'd be an excellent student. In her case, this is the difference between an A and a B. I don't know what the story is... she hasn't said anything, but she does well in class, and when she is awake, she's on point.
oxymoron67: (Default)
I just don't know. Well, that's not true. Some of them... I can see where the student was coming from.


1. Little Johnny showed xenophobia towards the clowns at his birthday party.
2. The House of Representatives are the oligarchy of the United States of America and its states.
3. The government is the monopoly of the weapon supply given to the soldiers in the war.
4. The United States is a state of sovereignty because the government is chosen by the people, except when Bust was president his first term.
5. This school is represented by an Oligarchy in which a small number of people decide the Curriculums chosen for the school.
6. “The Prisoner of Azkaban” is a continuum of the Harry Potter series.
7. Rosemary was my renaissance friend that I met in this country.
8. She offered a very disingenuous excuse for missing the test.
9. Strangely he suffers from xenophobia of cats.
10. The Yankees continuum reign of dominance has been broken.
11. It is not plausible to annotate the works of Plato without foreshadowing research.
12. Violent sports often foreshadow major injuries to the body.
13. In New York City the subway system is continuum of underground tunnels.
14. NYPD has to stop the continuum of murder cases in Manhattan.
15. I am irrelevant of my own problems.
16. His lent period of alcohol was subsequently followed by his stomach being pumped.
17. The Bourgeoisie has an oligarchy government.
18. The Apple Store has a great monopoly in the stock market.
19. I use synonyms to describe my feelings.
20. Marie foreshadows her paper before it was due.
21. A synonym is using bad language.
22. Let it serve to foreshadow an encounter still unknown.

Sentences

Nov. 17th, 2010 09:37 am
oxymoron67: (Default)
Every term, I give a list of words to my students, usually around the midterm.

My students have to learn each word's meaning and where the stress lies on that word. I also make them write sentences for each word as homework. I figure that writing sentences shows that they understand (or don't) the meaning of the word.

On the quiz that I gave yesterday, I chose ten of those words, the students chose five words, and wrote sentences for each. Here are the words from the quiz: xenophobia, filibuster, differentiate, foreshadow, annotate, renaissance, entrepreneur, oligarchy, perspective and irrelevant.

Credit where it's due, most of my students did okay and some did really well. And then there are these sentences:

1. Pret-a-manger is my renaissance work in the city.
2. I foreshadow sleep as I have not slept in two days.
3. I saw my foreshadow in the sea.
4. Scientists and religion are so irrelevant.
5. Earthquakes and other natural disasters are the foreshadow of 2010 coming.
6. The Renaissance is when some poets wrote new poems.
7. His handwriting is hard to differentiate.
8. Corinne foreshadows her essay before giving it to her teacher.
9. The dinosaurs lived before the Renaissance of Jesus Christ, in 400 AD.
10. I have a big perspective from you.
11. The perspective daughter called 911 when she saw her father buy eight cans of 4Loco.
12. That quiz was irrelevant, yet I hope I perform well. (I wonder if this is about this quiz.)
13. Van Gogh was a famous artist during the Renaissance, whose work partly defined the era.
14. Your irrelevance toward the topic of discussion is irritating me.

Who knew that "foreshadow" would be this much trouble?

I think sentence #9 is my favorite. It may be my all time favorite non-states project piece of student WTFery. It's certainly in the top 5.
oxymoron67: (Default)
Background: for one of my weekly recordings, I had my students watch the first hour of the documentary Do You Speak American, then record a reaction to it.

I had this conversation with a student who did not do this assignment.

Me: The link is right there. You can watch it anywhere on campus.
Student: But I have a short attention span!
Me: ... and?
Student: I can't pay attention to anything for (*shudders*) AN HOUR.
Me (to myself): Well, that explains your grade...
Me (out loud): Okay, say you're at work...
St: Okay.
Me: And your boss gives something boring and tedious to do.
St: Mmm-hmm
Me: And you say "I can't do this. I have a short attention span."
St: Yes.
Me: Do you think that your boss will say, "I'm so sorry. Go ahead and text for an hour, I'll find someone else to do it."
St: (laughing) No.
Me: Well, there you go, then.
St: But... maybe my boss SHOULD say something like that.
Me: If that is really your attitude, get ready to say "Do you want fries with that?" because that might be the only job you'll be able to hold down.
oxymoron67: (Default)
I didn't hand the midterms back ... though I corrected them... because two students hadn't taken it. One of them had a family emergency and told me before the test... she took it this afternoon.

No issues with her. Well... her score maybe, considering the face she made when she handed it in.

This test was odd. Four As, three B-s (no Bs) a whole bunch of Cs and a few Fs. While it probably looks more bell-curvy than, say the first quiz, it still feels strange that there were no Bs and Ds.

Tonight, however, was the news project, for which my students bring in a newspaper or magazine article and have to summarize its contents, or summarize some specific part of it as if they were a reporter. They have 25-30 seconds.

When I do this, I always select an article and have them read and summarize it as a practice run. I always pick a long article, to show them that they could focus on different things. This article was about the election in the Ivory Coast. I showed them where the Ivory Coast is on a map, and, after they read the article, we talked about what was going on, and they started their recordings.

None of them were getting the 25-30 seconds time limit thing. Seriously, several of them shouted out things like "It's 45 seconds, thats okay, right?"

Which, of course, it wasn't.

So I resorted to emoticons. I wrote "25-30 seconds" and net to it, put a smiley face next to it. Then I wrote "20-25 seconds = -1 letter grade", and drew a frownie face. Then I wrote "15-20 seconds = -2 letter grades" and drew a crying face.

I did the same thing for 30-35 and 35-40 seconds.

They got the point.

Tomorrow, I will likely be writing about work, specifically the mess with the speech labs.
oxymoron67: (Default)
It went well.

We did a little work with the International Phonetic Alphabet... they're getting pretty good at transcription.

Of course, I give them weekly worksheets on it, so they SHOULD be getting better at it.

After that, we talked more about stress and a teensy bit about rhythm. I also introduced them to the 44 words I expect them to know the stress patterns for and the definitions of. There will be sentences.

Then, the subject of the midterm resurfaced. They want me to make it easy. (So hard to believe, no?) PArt of me was stunned that they actually said this to me. But whatever.

They also asked about the format of the midterm. I think I shocked them when I said that I didn't know because I hadn't written it yet. They all looked appalled.

Finally, we discussed their weekly recordings: the Native American speeches for this week, and next week, the news project, for which they bring in a newspaper or magazine article and have to summarize it (or parts of it) in 25-30 seconds.
oxymoron67: (Default)
Class went okay last night. We finished the front vowels and moved to the mid vowels and did some work with the IPA.

An interesting thing: my college has an intervention program for at risk students. Well, I don't know if they're at risk or in a special program or what not. I do know that I have to do progress reports on them.

This term, I have four of these students. Normally, this isn't an issue: I've never had a problem with the students in this program. This term, however, out of the four, two of them have issues. mostly based around attendance and homework.

I have been told that this program really gets on the students in it, so let's hope.

Meantime, the states project is starting up again, and I'm already scared. Why?

1) Delaware is in the Midwest.
2) One student was asking for clarification on the first set of questions, and I asked which state she had.

St: Um... I ... Hemp. Is Hemp a state?
Me (visibly boggled): No.... (successfully suppressed urge to make any one of thousands of snarky comments*)
St: No? Hump or Himp or Hamp?
Me: New Hampshire?
St: That's it!

*Seriously, I don't know how I did that.

We have a departmental meeting this afternoon, followed by an area meeting. Yay.

Tomorrow's class? I'm showing a movie. Part one of PBS' Do you Speak American? Then they will have to record something based off what they watched.

I already gave them questions as a guideline, and told them that if they found something else fascinating that they wanted to discuss, it was fair game.
oxymoron67: (Default)
I honestly think the whole "This generation can multitask" thing is totally overrated.

I mean, yes, they can chat online while surfing the web at the same time (and, hey, I can do that, too), but if we're talking about doing things like taking notes or listening to one's professor while chatting/surfing the web... no they can't.

This is a problem in my class as I don't use powerpoint much and, even when I do, I don't post it on-line, so they have to take notes.

My students this term have complained about this. (I'm sure students in past semesters have as well, but they have not complained to me.) I told them that they need to learn note taking and summarizing skills.

Then we discussed the quiz, which... well, they did better this time. It's weird, my quizzes and assignments don't have a bell curve. They have like a double-bell curve. As and Bs and Fs... not any Cs and only a few Ds.

Next up I posted the first set of questions for the States Project. There were lots of questions, which is good, but several people looked puzzled. This should be interesting.

Then, we discussed the midterm... I'm moving it a week later than originally scheduled. Dialogue:

St1: What will be ont he midterm?
Me: If it;s been covered in class, it's fair game.
St1: What about a review?
Me: You just had it. If we covered it in class, it's fair game.
St2: Can it be all multiple choice?
Me: No.
St3: Open book?
Me: No.
St4 But what if WE want an open book midterm?
Me: When you're a professor, you can test however your heart desires. However, in this class, I am in charge and what I say goes.

From here, we started working on the American English vowel sounds.
oxymoron67: (Default)
We did a little more work with the states... I made them look up their state's motto and governor.

Which led to this:
St1: This motto is in another language.
Me: Yes, it is. Probably Latin.
St1: I can't read Latin.
Me: Translate it.
St1: How?
Me: You're sitting in front of a COMPUTER.

Then, we worked more on consonant sounds. We're probably going to start vowels tomorrow.

All during this, one of my students (well, more than one, but one was exceptionally brazen) spent the whole class e-mailing people.

Not surprisingly, she failed the quiz. (And didn't do well on the two homework sheets due today either.)

I love the whole "You don't understand, I can multitask" thing that my students say, because... they can't.

Meantime, it was quiz day. My students were panic studying during their break, and then wouldn't put their books away. "Can we have five more minutes to study?"

I was tired and cranky, so I said, "Look, if you just NOW studying for this, you're going to fail. Those extra five minutes aren't going to help. Put your books away."

A little asshole-y? Yeah. True? Yes.

After the quiz, two students who have mostly been MIA in class came up to talk to me. One had been arrested for drunk driving and didn't come to class because she had to attend her drunk driving classes. The other just asked for the homework he had missed.

I've put it all on blackboard, so it's not my issue anymore.

Today has been a correcting frenzy. I graded the quizzes, the homework and the sentences.

Several of my students didn't get the (clearly explained) idea that each sentence should focus on one sound, and that sound should appear several times in that sentences. I had people write sentences to highlight a sound that appeared only once in the sentence.

Seriously.

And one student, in either a grand "fuck you" gesture or out of laziness or thinking that I;m stupid (or a grand combo platter of all), wrote three sentences instead of five. And here they are:

1) How much wood would a wood chuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood.

2) She sells seashells by the seashore.

3) Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.

No, really. So, she's getting a great big zero, and we will be having a [plagiarism discussion in class.
oxymoron67: (Default)
Class went poorly on Tuesday, but much better on Thursday.

Tuesday, we did two things: transcription from the International Phonetic Alphabet to English, I gave them a homework assignment for this then we moved on to a quiz.

They bombed the quiz. Well, not all of them. Two thirds of them got a C- or worse.

Yay!

So, I was preparing to go over the quiz in painful, painful detail for Thursday when I found out through the grapevine that one of my students went to my boss to complain about me.

As my boss hasn't talked to me about it yet, I'm guessing that it concerned workload and the quiz. We'll see.

Thursday we went over the quiz. My students were embarrassed by the results. We went over the whole thing in brutal detail, then we discussed the next quiz and homework.

They said that the homework I gave them on Tuesday was hard -- and I agreed, but, then again, that;s why they had the whole week to do it. This homework assignment? I took the names of twenty cities from around the world and transcribed them into IPA.

For instance, Sydney would look like /sIdni/. This is one of the easy ones.

My students have to transcribe from the IPA into English. And since they have a week to do this, spelling counts. Spelling doesn't count on quizzes and tests... as long as I recognize the word it's okay.

For next Thursday, they have to pick five sounds from the quiz and write one sentence for each of those sounds. This sentence has to use that sound several times.

This... also not easy, but could be fun.

After all of this, my students had to record the Walt Whitman poems... I sense that I'm going to be listening to "O Captain, My Captain" a lot next week, Then they had to pick from three poems for next week's recordings. The poems?

An excerpt from Anne Bradsteet's Verses upon the Burning of our House
Bradstreet was Colonial America's first published poet. (I think the first published poet of the New World is probably Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz.)

-or-

The ending of John Greenleaf Whittier's Snowbound

-or-

Longfellow's The Village Blacksmith

These are much longer works then they have been doing, and with more challenging language.

On Tuesday, we start going into detail with consonant sounds.

Work stuff

Sep. 28th, 2010 12:13 pm
oxymoron67: (Default)
1) I have to go back to the engineering labs to listen to another group of first year engineering students give speeches.

We have new faculty... why aren't they doing this?

2) After I told my students that not following directions = loss of grade, I was in my office preparing to leave. One of my student workers was there and we had the following conversation:

SW: Wow. I bet they'll all follow the directions after that.
Me: Really? I'm putting the over/under at five.
SW: You think THAT MANY won't follow directions?
Me: At least.

For what, it's worth, it turned out to be six. Well,m five really, because one of the six realized he screwed up and e-mailed me the correct file with a note saying he screwed up. If you manage to successfully solve a problem, you don;t lose points, at least in my universe.

So... five.

I'm already girding my loins for the whining.

I originally typed that as "girding my lions." I'm not sure lions would sit for being girded.

Anyway... I changed the banner picture on my blackboard. It's now this:


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