Monday, February 23, 2009

You Need to Start Acting Like a First Grader

I just happened to be walking down the first grade hallway when I overheard one of the first grade teachers talking to a little boy. Although the teacher said it in a nice way, the implications were clear. It was time to straighten up. This little boy had better correct his actions or bad time were ahead (see the title).

This caused me to start to think about expectations in Reading Workshop. I had to be out one day last week. The students had an assignment to write a comment to a blog post. Although I usually don't assign commenting to a post, I decided this would be a great opportunity for a writing assignment.

When I started to read the comments, they were horrible. There were mistakes everywhere. Words were misspelled. Capitals were missing on proper nouns and to start sentences. The grammar was like something from a language arts horror film.

Needless to say, when I got back the next day, I was irked. Although I am usually a poster child for happiness and joy, I put on the ugly face. I screamed and shouted, grunted and groaned, and made all kind of mean remarks. I showed examples and made examples of poor work.

Amazingly, that day, I got the best work I have had all year. Words were spelled correctly, Sentences had correct punctuation and capitalization. Students' writing made sense and made the reader think and wonder. The overall quality was excellent.

What does this tell me? Students will work to the level of expectations. If I expect the impossible, and won't accept any less, they will raise the quality of their work all the way to the stars. Get ready kiddos--you proved to me that I need to expect the impossible, and you will come through!


Anonymous said...

I think the reason we didn't do as good was because there was a substitute. We all might have thought since there was a substitute, everyone didn't have to work as hard. I know mine was probably one of the worst out of them all. But I didn't think that I couldn't work as hard. My second one was even better. I had two paragraphs. I had more ideas. I think I did better when you told us to do them over again. I went over it like five times. I hope all the rest of my comments through out the year are like that one.

Anonymous said...

I think that you do have a point Mr.McGuire. I do think that the one day when you were out we were slackers and we were goofing off. When you came back you told us that it was the worst writing you have had all year. Then when you straightened us up we had the best writing we have had all year.Thank you for having hope in us!

Anonymous said...

I think it was because we had a sub. I think when we have a sub students think they can do what they want. Students think the real teacher won't find out. So they goof off and don't work as hard as they should. So when Mr.McGuire came back and yelled at us we knew he was serious. I think the students didn't want to get yelled at so they worked hard.

Anonymous said...

I think it did help when you yelled because it scared us and made us want to do our best. It made me want to push my self more than I ever new I could. I want you to yell a little but I do not want you to yell at all too so I do not know.

Anonymous said...

When my dad yells at me for not cleaning my room it makes me want to make it spotless with nothing out of place. I think this because I do not want to get yelled at and humiliated in front of whom I would be with. I really think that yelling really does help and so do many other people but they do not want to confess it because they are afraid that they are going to get humiliated too. Some people with confess because they think they are tough but when it comes to haveing some one that you try to be cool in front of it changes the whole subject. They want to be cool and not cry and not be humiliated in front of every one

Acting Schools said...

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