they really, really can’t spell

June 21, 2007

HEY MS. —– THE BEST GLOBAL TEACHER AND TEACHER IN GENERAL THAT I EVER HAD!! OMGG MISZ IMA MISS U SOO MUCH!!! ITS GONNA B SO BORING AND DIFFERENT WITH OUT YOU NEXT YEARR!!! OMGG…WELL I WISH  you THE BEST IN THE NEW SCHOOL YOURE GOING TO TEACH NEXT YEAR! && I HOPE U WONT FORGET ME OFCOURSE! LOL =]…BUT IM JUS WRITING TO TELL U WHAT I JUS TOLD U && FOR MY CHEESY PICTURE THAT YOU TOOK OF ME IN CLASS TODAY! =]… && WISH ME LUCK FOR TOMORROW!!

LOVE UR BEST GLOBAL 4TH PD STUDENT**

[Sic] clearly.

PS — She got a 65. 🙂

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faux pas

June 20, 2007

I don’t want you to think I just pick on students when I make fun of people. I make fun of everyone. I believe in equal opportunity mocking. Perhaps I will spend the summer telling stories of all the insanely stupid things I have done while attempting to teach.

In the meantime, there’s this:

As we graded the Global Regents one of my fellow history teachers turned to me. She’s taught all 8 semesters of history at some point, and most recently global.

“This student wrote his essay about Robespierre… He’s that Russian guy, right?”

If we’re going to ask the students to know these things, we should probably learn them ourselves.


flubs and misdemeanors

June 18, 2007

Most years the Regents we grade are filled with hilarious mistakes. (Did you know Hitler was the leader of the Jews? But “he was a bad leader.” Priceless!) This year the essays were so friggin’ hard the kids didn’t have time to come up with many crazy new historical “facts.” They did manage to be pretty awesome with the short-answers, though.

The reading passage was all about feudal rights owed to the lord of the manor by his serfs. The students had to come up with one advantage the Lord received (free work) and one the serfs received (food for them and their beasts). Most students just read it backward and told us the Lord recieved food, but a few came up with much more creative solutions.

“The serfs receive that they get to carry manure all day.” (Yes, that would be delightful.)

“The serfs get someone to carry their horse for them.”

“The Lord receives that his serfs work for him and in return he gets three breasts.” (HAH. Although I wonder where the “three” came from. Those were some funky serfs.)


cultural literacy II

June 16, 2007

By the way, when I say the test has a bias based on cultural literacy, here’s what I mean: One of the short-reading passages was about feudal rights, and the obligations a serf owed his lord. One of these was to mow the lawns and hay for his lord.

My students don’t know the word “mow.”

Honestly, if you’d been speaking English for three years and spent all of those three living in the Bronx, you wouldn’t know the word “mow” either. Even the kids who are fluent in English didn’t know “mow.” It’s just not a word city kids run across a lot. It’s not like they have a lawn.


results

June 15, 2007

The first year our school gave the Global Regents we had an 11% passing rate.

Last year we had a 16% passing rate.

We just got done grading our tests for this year, and we ended up with about 60% passing.

It’s pretty good, and I’m very proud of my students, who worked very hard. A bunch of kids who killed themselves studying only got a 55, but that’s enough to graduate. One student was in the hospital the day of the test; she got dispensation to take it there, and got an 87!

I wish it had been 100% passing,  of course. The number includes several students who are severely special ed (as in, they don’t know the entire alphabet) and lots of kids who’ve only been speaking English for a couple of years. So good job, students! If you got all the way through that test, you earned it.


aftermath

June 14, 2007

Hey! So a lot more people than usual came to look at my little ol’ blog and learn about the Global Regents. Kids, I’ll tell you what I tell my students; complain complain complain complain. No, really! Let Klein know you think the Regents are unfair, and exactly why. Even better, get your parents to complain. The state board doesn’t listen much to students, and they don’t listen at all to teachers, but they love parents (especially parents who vote). You can send all your letters right here:

State Education Department, Education Building, Albany, New York 12234

Or, if you’d prefer, you can probably find a way to email or call them here.

Meanwhile, we are one day done with grading, and here’s what I’ve learned about the test; lots of it was hard, but there were some easy questions, too. One of our students has been trying for a 65 on this test for 3 years — this time, his 7th time through, he finally got it. The grading rubric is a little bit mean, and the DBQ’s were certainly pretty hard, but they weren’t impossible. The thematic essay was challenging — but just like 9 years out of 10 you could write about Hitler and be totally right.

Maybe next time I’ll post more Helpful Hints before the test.

As for the test yesterday, here’s what the Regents Board wants kids to know:

The Glorious Revolution limited the power of the monarchy.

Mansa Musa and Suleiman both presided over golden ages.

The Inca lived in Peru (and you had to find it on a blank map).

Kim Jong Il was most influenced by Karl Marx. (If you say so.)

Confucianists believe in filial piety.

Bismarck unified Germany (this was nasty, because they put Wilhelm II as a second option).

India and Pakistan have been fighting over Kashmir (this question was so loaded with cultural literacy problems that I can’t even get into it. The other one that really got my goat asked what happened to Hong Kong in 1997, which I never even considered teaching).

I left out the question about Constantinople because I can’t for the life of me remember what the right answer is supposed to be.

Sometime in the next couple of days I’ll put up some of our “better” answers and essay comments. We got some doozies this year.


pop quiz, hot shot

June 13, 2007

I talk a lot about what a terrible test the Global Regent is. How many of the following can you answer:

What was the “Glorious Revolution”?

What do Mansa Musa and Suleiman the Magnificent have in common?

What modern country was formerly inhabited by the Inca?

The trade route through Constantinople went from where to where?

Kim Jong Il was most influenced by what philosopher?

What is the main teaching of Confucianism?

Who was the nationalist who unified Germany?

What two countries are experiencing conflict over Kashmir?

Okay, now write an essay comparing and contrasting manorialism, mercantilism, and communism.

Those are all questions from today’s test. I took out the multiple choice answers, but they honestly weren’t that helpful — if I asked you whether Suleiman the Great presided over nationalistic expansion or a golden age, would it help you answer? I don’t know what Albany is thinking. I’m a global teacher and I wasn’t sure about two of these answers. How many of you are functioning adults who have no idea what happened during the Glorious Revolution, or how manorialism compares to mercantilism? The test is bullshit.