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Reading logs and spelling folders



My morning group hands in a spelling folder (containing work they have done in class during the week) and a reading log (homework, containing reports on their independent reading) every Friday. Three or four times a week, the kids read for twenty minutes at home (or on the bus, or wherever) and then write a short entry in their reading logs.

I have several kids who haven't yet turned in either one. Many of them are failing.

The reading logs do not strike me as unreasonable for an intermediate ESL class. I have explained what they are, and how to use them, repeatedly. I have pointed out that if you finish early with work, you may use that time to read or work in your journal.

The same kids who don't do the folders or journals often don't do other work either. This is a middle-school aged class. I think in one class I have nine out of twenty-two failing.

Suggestions? I am thinking about keeping students who are doing very poorly after school for mandatory make-up sessions, but these are the same kids who make teaching during the school day so hard. I do not have a common language with many of the parents. The kids don't really care if they fail. Some of them have been failing for a long time now.

My class is not very hard, but I have a number of students whose motivation is zip. This is particularly tricky because the program we teach wants the class to achieve mastery before moving on. Reteaching/retesting has so far been only kinda successful. Today, a class I was reading a selection with for the restest talked over me until time ran out on the day. Tomorrow--well, they're not gonna achieve mastery again. And I don't know how many times I can read the same silly page about Diego Rivera with them before I go mad.

What do you do about kids who don't care they're failing, or can't imagine that my suggestions could really change things?



How much of their grade is dependent on homework? Are you deducting points for missing homework? Do they get a chance to make up the missed work but have points deducted for lateness? You may need to call these parents in and actually show them their children's grades and how much work is missing. Sometimes seeing it on paper makes a difference.