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grading/not following directions


From: Jayna Ledbetter (jayna_99_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Mon Mar 19 2001 - 18:04:13 PST

I teach middle schoolers, and I am also flustered when
a kid doesn't follow the rules, but turns in great
work anyway- sometimes it will have nothing to do with
the project! I did an Impressionist landscape painting
project with 8th last semester, and this one kid (who
is now in an alternative school becuase of his
misbehavior) totally rushed through it and didn't
create it out of dots. He smeared the paint and was
like !boom! I'm done....... It's GORGEOUS. I hung it
on the wall behind my desk with some other pieces that
students abandoned because they didn't see the value
in them. In cases like these, which don't happen very
often, I take the kid aside and say "Do you realize
what you've done here?" and of course, they think they
are in trouble because they know they didn't follow
directions. Then I tell them that I don't appreciate
how they chose not to follow the steps I had given
them, and that they are lucky because they ended up
creating a beautiful piece. I tell them that just
because their work was a success this time, it isn't
likely that they can pull it off again. I tell them
that I will let it "slide" if they can describe the
original directions to me, and let me know that they
understand what they were supposed to do, but were
simply too lazy to do it the right way. After my
speech, I can sit back and enjoy the piece that shines
like a diamond in the rough.

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