Today I went joyfully into reteaching annotated bibliography, and where I meant to only spend half a class period doing so, it worked out better just giving the rest of the period to redo the assignment. In some classes, I ran around giving one-on-one help, but--cross your fingers--it was looking like they just needed a little spackle to cover the holes and most seemed to be doing fine with that further instruction.
I know some of them are perplexed by the annotated part of the bibliography, and since they are, by nature, lazy creatures, I tried to explain to them we aren't doing this to torture them to more hold them accountable for the sources they use. After all, I reminded them, they are living in an age where they are bombarded by information, and it is important for them to closer scrutinize the information they receive. I believe that, especially for their information-overloaded generation, being able to sort useful, reliable information from the rest is a an essential life skill.
Ah, but why do I bother talking about essential life skills with 8th graders? They usually zone me out. "Life" is too far into their futures, or so they think.
"Okay," I reminded them, "On Wednesday, you need to turn in an annotated bibliography for your science project or report to your science teachers and one to me, too."
I've only said that a gazillion times, and it's on the board, and it's in their science project packet. But they keep giving me these damn blank stares.
Oh, but a new comment from a student, "But, Miss! Mr. Science Teacher hasn't gone over this with us!"
Somebody please shoot me now!
I could not even hide my exasperation as I went into full-on HappyChyck theatrics: "I'm going over this with you!"
The student sat there looking stumped, and half the class stared at him like he's the village idiot.
"You see, Mr. Science Teacher said, 'Ms. HappyChyck, do you think you could go over this with the students?' I said, 'Sure! No problem! I know just what to do!' And then, I gave him the same materials I'm giving you, so he knows what you should know."
I think there might have been more about how I would expect them to be able to read and write outside of my classroom, too. I don't know. I was in that full-on exasperated drama mode.
I wonder what Wednesday will bring...