So it's essay week for us in freshman English class, and everyone has since forgotten how to write. Those who haven't forgotten how to write have forgotten how to bring a writing untensil. Those who haven't forgotten how to write, haven't forgotten how to bring a pen or pencil have forgotten how to get out their materials and just sit and stare at me as if I just asked them to smell my toes.
I would, though, if it would get them to move.
In light of the information above, a miracle would seemingly need to take place to get kids in high school to reach state standards. We've been talking about and practicing and discussing thesis statements, and it's not like we've not ever written essays before March, because we certainly have. We've even discussed thesis statements before, too. So today, after they've written their thesis statements during the last class period, I simply state that I would like their thesis statements to be at the end of their introduction.
They looked at me as if I had just spoken to them in alien-ese. The Mars variety, not a bordering country.
I said it differently: "Your thesis statements should be the last sentence of your first paragraph."
My mistake--I used "first" and "last" in the same sentence. They didn't get that one, either.
I said a third time, pointing to each student's paper, "This (pointing to the thesis statement) needs to go HERE (now sweeping my finger dramatically down to the end of their introductory paragraphs)."
Eureka, we have a winner!
Many of them had chosen to write on the topic of using cell phones for texting during class periods, arguing that it didn't interfere with education. This is an age where they get all of their information from MySpace.com or YouTube.com at lightning speeds. Perhaps if those web sites had academic standards, students could attain them.