Saturday, October 27, 2012

Randomday: Picking on the Sixth Graders

I've just spent a vast amount of time correcting the 6-page, 60-point Gloria in Excelsis paper for my 6th grade class, and I can't seem to get away from them when I'm thinking about the random today.

It really helps to put your name on the paper.  A surprising number of 6th graders need to be called back to do this.  I really do not feel it is my responsibility to remind them of this, but I do.  I also tell them, multiple times before the paper is due, that the interlinear translation  must be completed, or I will take off 2 points per page.  Many of them completed the interlinear translation only on the first page.  I also do not feel it is my responsibility to tell them that they have to do the interlinear translation on every single page.  Isn't it obvious?

I tell them multiple times that the "vocabulary drill" section involves giving the complete, proper dictionary entry for each Latin word.  It is not a translation exercise.  Moreover, the vocabulary box is located at the bottom of the page.  If a word is repeated later in the reading, it is found in the vocabulary box of the page it first appeared on.  I had to answer a question about whether they needed to do this exercise on the lines where there was no obvious word in the vocabulary box.  "Yes, you do, in fact, have to do every line of the exercise.  If you've forgotten a vocabulary word, turn back a few pages."  I still had a handful of students who forgot it was not a translation exercise and filled in the English translation.

Let's talk about the parsing section.  In the phrase, "Filius Dei" ("son of God"), the word "Dei" is in the genitive singular.  Although we did learn that the -i ending for the second declension is used for the genitive singular and the nominative plural, I will mark it wrong if you write "gen. s./ nom. pl."  One of those is correct in context, and one of those is incorrect.  Hint: there is only one God.

Neatness counts.  Spelling counts.  If I can't read each letter of your answer, your answer is wrong.  You may or may not thank me some day.  At this point I'm a little past caring.  Please use only pencil, not colored pen.  If you take the staple out to work on the sheets individually, please make sure you re-staple them in the correct order before turning it in.  Please do not all 19 of you cluster around the desk with separate questions and expect me to take the paper personally from your hands.  Put it in the pocket of the folder like I told you to.

Moving along from the Lingua Angelica exercise, there are some concerns I have about your English usage.  Apostrophes... should not be used to pluralize.  I know you see it everywhere, but I will not tolerate it.  I will explain it about 3 times, and after that you really need to learn this.  Please do not ever give me a sentence again like "On account of heven Gaulls soldier's are in war."  I can't even make out what it was originally supposed to be, the assault on my grammatical sensibilities is so severe.

"Soldiers" is not spelled "soilders."  "Cavalry" is a bunch of horses and riders going to war; "Calvary" is the hill with three crosses on it.  And while the translation of the sentence "Pars hostium in colle est" that you rendered as "The enemies' part is in the hill" might be literally correct, it also is an assault on common sense.  When I am finished with you, it will be obvious to you that it should be rendered as "Part of the enemies is on the hill."

Much as it may sound like I am ranting, I do find that this group of 19 young people is one of the brightest, though extremely concrete, that I have ever taught.  I am confident that they will be one of my favorite classes in the future, when they are just a teensy bit more mature.

Oh, and read the directions carefully.

1 comment:

Alyssa said...

Ah...sixth grade...those were the days...:)