Three weeks

If you think take-home arts and crafts projects are a waste of time, listen to RedKudu, a high school English teacher, fulminate about the in-class projects teachers are urged to do. Take the mandala project — please.

Kids interview one another, then introduce one another, then they go through a lot of writing about their feelings, likes, dislikes, and make a little mandala on paper which reflects their personality. For three weeks they do this at the sophomore level. At the junior level, they read some poetry about houses, then make a little paper house with their own poem inside. At the senior level they learn to write their name in runes (preparation for Beowulf), and color pictures from a coloring book with illuminated letters in it.

In her first three weeks, RedKudu is teaching students to be responsible for getting their work done on time. The first week is Disbelief and Dismissal Week: Students ignore her warnings about turning in work and studying for the first quiz.

The second week is called Haggling and Hating Week. They are shocked by their grades. They are astonished that I will not grade work I cannot read, or give a completion grade for a half-completed assignment. They come to me at the beginning of class, and begin to despise me because I will not discuss their personal grade during my valuable class time, because they cannot take the time to come during tutoring hours. They haggle desperately, as if offering me the bargain of seeing them during tutoring hours. “What if I did come tomorrow morning? Then could I re-take the quiz?” No, but I would be glad to tutor you for the next one.

In week 3, Resolution and Restoration, most students understand how to meet her expectations. However, some students never make it past week 2.

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