Third Time’s a Charm

Is it okay to ask a student to re-do an assignment twice?  Three times?  At what point do you, as a teacher, accept that the student doesn’t seem to be capable of learning a particular skill? That’s a question that I struggled with this week as I was teaching students a new way of doing vocabulary words.  I had seen an article on Edutopia about new ways to teach vocabulary and had tried them in my class.  This worksheet is what I came up with when I tried to incorporate most of the tips given in the article.

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 10.42.18 AMI asked students to:  1)examine their prior knowledge, 2)identify areas they needed to improve, 3)show what they learned or claimed they knew before, and then 4)apply their knowledge in new and different ways.  I hoped they would engage more than they usually did in typical vocabulary exercises.  And they did!  But over and over, students were unable to create similes using the vocabulary words. During journal checks, about 1/3 of students continued to write definitions for the words instead of similes.  In spite of repeated coaching, examples, explanations and everything else I could think of, some of them just didn’t get it.  I sent students back to try again, sometimes 2-3 times, refusing to take work that didn’t meet the assignment requirements.  Now, however, I think I’m just going to have to concede defeat and give partial credit if they at least drew an appropriate picture for the definition.

We’ll try again next week.  Maybe by the end of the month I’ll be down to only a handful of students who don’t understand what’s required.  I’d sure love to hear your thoughts on the matter, though!  What do you do in your class?  How many times do you let students try before assigning a grade?


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