I think 8th graders are the most complaining of all students. I tried having them copy notes and finally gave up. It is easier for me to type them out and give them a copy. Now they complain about everything else - homework, tests, and their bad test grades, which is funny because they don't study!
i try not to give notes b/c i understand that it is boring but when you are trying to teach math to students who dont pay attention, i think it is easier to give them notes and if they study, good! if not, its their grade!
Have you tried having them fill in the information into organizers? It helps to give the notes structure and rather than having to write volumes of information, they grab the key concepts. Throw a Venn Diagram at them sometime when you are comparing and contrasting. Or maybe a vocabulary map. It activates the brain and helps facilitate the learning.
But, on another note, kids complain about everything this time of year.
The open notes tests only encourage my students to talk in class and generally ignore everything that is said. They figure they can copy it out of the textbook for their open notes test. So...no more open notes tests.
8th grade whines even more than my 6th grade science class. 7th grade is the worst though - they can't get ANY of the science or reading teachers to take that class - so the principal is teaching science and the school administrator is teaching reading!
I've given two open-book tests back-to-back, but grades aren't any better than if the book were closed. My 6th graders are too lazy to actually go back and reread a stanza of a poem to determine who said what to whom (Walrus & The Carpenter). Since my test grades tend to be ultra-low, this is a major reason tests don't count any more than daily assignments. I tell kids that if tests are hard to pass, they need to do the other assignments that aren't as challenging. the reason my kids fail my class or eak by with a 70 is because a) they are absent a good bit; b) they don't finish work, think they'll do it for homework, and then don't turn in late work; c) they just don't do the assignments and therefore have nothing to turn anyway; or d) they just put anything down on the paper to get 'er done without regard to actually thinking first.