Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I have to share this

My friend Jane (author of the following summary) found this article that she had written in second grade about--what else--Thailand. She remarked that it could have been written by one of my students, which it absolutely could have. Right now my students are writing summaries of longer articles. The summaries have to be one paragraph wrong and on a single topic. They are supposed to transition between sentences but usually they do not--exactly like Jane and Kaylen do not. The last sentence --where a bunch of subjects are just sort of lumped in together--would also be typical of a summary.

by Jane Dobkin and Kaylen Hagadorn

Lee (Jane's brother's babysitter) came in and described the land and showed us the map of Thailand, and wore the clothing. The capital of Thailand is Bangkok. The size is 198,456 square miles. The climate is three seasons: rainy season that is three months, winter and summer (120 degrees F). The language is Thai. The money is baht. The terrain is mountains, rivers, flat lands, coast. The products are rice, cotton, rubber, silk. Other things that are cool about Thailand are the boat market, fingernail dancing, they have a king, and many people are Buddhist.

And no, Jane, I don't know what "fingernail dancing" is.

Score (out of 10):

Format (Written in a paragraph form starting with a correctly-written topic sentence stating the source of information and the main idea): Good (1.5 out of 2) (this is not really a "topic sentence" per se but it does contain a main idea and the source (Jane's brother's babysitter).

-All major and minor supporting details included: Very good (2 out of 2) (This seems thorough enough, especially towards the end when a bunch of details are haphazardly included).
-No changes in meaning of the original information and no direct copy of the original information: Very good (2 out of 2). (Again I can only assume that you did not plagiarize Lee (Jane's brother's babysitter) but I highly doubt that he talked--how to say--at such a level. ["This concludes my presentation about the customs, weather, and geography of Thailand. Oh wait--other things that are cool about Thailand are..."]

Well-connected sentences (with appropriate use of transitional words): Fair (1 out of 2) (Almost no use of transitions--see me after class)
Grammatically correct sentences (correct spelling, no incomplete sentence, and no run-on sentence): Good (1.5 out of 2): Everything was fine until that killer last sentence, which is borderline ungrammatical. Also your topic sentence has an unnecessary comma. Not to nitpick or anything.

[I also like how the grading criteria I've been given has a grammar error in the criteria description about grammar grading. Luckily for Jane, though, she had no incomplete sentence and no run-on sentence]

Total score (out of 10): 8.

(An 8 out of 10 is an A in the Thai school system. So you get an A, but by the skin of your teeth. Other good things about the Thai school system are the facilities, the quality of the teachers, it is very cheap for students to attend, and many students are international).

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