Teaching fourteen-year-olds how to successfully complete a research project is the equivalent of asking a two year old to eat all of the broccoli on his plate.
Actually, I don't like broccoli either so I'm beginning to understand how my students feel.
Regardless, as the end of the three week research project unit comes to an end, I find I'm reflecting on the successes and failures of the past couples of weeks.
Success: 99% of the students seemed to understand how to find reliable sources.
Failure: One student discovered how to manipulate Wikipedia so that he made his name appear as the superintendent of our school system.
Success: I helped them develop their own works cited page.
Failure: I actually had two students ask me what a works cited page was after we'd finished the lesson. I left the room for a moment to collect myself before returning to re-explain what I'd taught them just moments before.
Success: I paired two students together who are usually shy and often choose to work alone.
Failure: I saw them making out in the hallway Friday afternoon.
Overall, I find the research unit exhausting, which is why, perhaps, I chose to do it right before Winter Break. This way I can gather my strength and face the remaining six months of teaching during Christmas vacation.
Then again, I'll be alone with my four-year-old and seven-year-old children every day for seven days during said break.
Suddenly, research doesn't seem so bad.
Beth - 0 (my successes and failures even out)
Life - 1