What They Learned

As sort of a closing activity in my 9th grade Reading class I had my students write for 10 minutes about what they remember learning this year in our class. This may seem like an easy task, but this particular group of students struggle in the areas of reading, writing and comprehension. So when I explained the assignment, there was a collective groan and an outburst of "10 minutes?!? You want us to write for 10 minutes about everything we learned this year?! You're crazy!" But...they accomplished the task :)

Honestly, I had forgotten about these until tonight. I was cleaning out a bag and found them. They made me smile. Here are a few lines from their papers along with my commentary:

  • "I learned that it's hard to adopt a kid." (Amen brother! And...more importantly...he used the apostrophe correctly...a minor victory!!!)
  • "I learned that people are fun to write with. It's funner to write in groups." (I'll ignore "funner" since he used an apostrophe correctly...)
  • "I learned that nobody thinks the same."
  • "I learned that Mrs. Helzer is kinda cool and that English is kinda cool." (I'll agree...I'm not really cool....just kinda cool ;)
  • "I've realized how bad life could be and how fortunate I am although life isn't great for me either." (We read portions of The Freedom Writers Diary at the end of the year...)
  • "I learned that fighting and causing physical problems isn't the answer most of the time." (I'm proud of this---it took a lot of convincing and long chats when he came into my class pissed off about something...)
  • "I learned how to really aggravate Mrs. Helzer." (Yes, yes he did!)
  • "I also learned my English teacher is funny and sometimes crazy." (He must be talking about the English teacher down the hall...)
  • "I have learned not to 'run' away from problems. I have also learned to be a better listener and just a better person all around."
  • "I learned that Mrs. Helzer is a very good English teacher because she does not let you slack off and doesn't have many patients for slackers." (So having high expectations really does pay off!)
  • "I learned that reading is something I like and it calms me down a little bit. And if you really try you can do anything." (This is incredible considering this student also struggled with anger problems earlier in the year and was NOT a reader!)
  • "It has been a very, very fun year being able to come in her room and do my reading at my own pace without getting told I am too slow or stuff. I know the 6 Traits of Writing now and I love to read and write now." (We're still working on Word Choice and eliminating vague words from our writing!)
  • "I learned never to give up on yourself; keep going. Don't say you can't do something because you can. I said, 'I can't do this' all the time, but I have gotten over that." (Usually the first reaction from this student whenever I assigned something difficult was a blank stare then---an "I can't do this." It took a lot of pep talks to get her confidence back!)

1 comment:

Tracy said...

I love this post! I did something similar to this exercise at the end of the year... I just might have to post a few of their responses too.

The parts of your post that touch a teacher are the notes of things they learned that have nothing to do with school. :o) If they learn to strive to be a better person or help others along the path to learning how to write an essay, I think we have done our job well. :o)

Thanks for sharing.