– 100% me

Sunday night dinner. We’re all home. Chicken, salad, corn on the cob.

Jane: Who has homework?

Lydia: I have to write a poem.

Jane: About what?

Eli: It’s not about “anything.” That’s what all the seventh grade poems are about.

Lydia: It’s a one hundred percent me poem.

Jane: You’re a good poet.

Dinner ends; an hour passes. I return to the kitchen, and I see Lydia’s homework stack on the table. On the top, a poem.

100% Me Poem

I pick it up. Lydia’s there and lets me read it: part of her is this, part of her is that, and so on adding up to 100 percent. Under the poem, I see another piece of paper, a form that looks very teacherly, and which Lydia has thoroughly filled out.

100% Me Poem Rubric

Is it possible to score poorly on the 100% Me Poem, and get a… 60% ? Then, would a 12-year-old writer think that her self, and not her poem, was only a portion of what she thought was entire?

I like Lydia’s poem. I don’t love the rubric.

4 thoughts on “– 100% me

  1. I think the rubric scores 100% for unintentional irony, though. I wonder if the professor who graded Langston Hughes’ “Theme for English B” used a “100% Me” rubric?

  2. Oh, rubrics. In Missouri, we teachers weren’t allowed to use the word “rubric” because some backwoods rumor surfaced that said “rubric” came from a Wiccan vocabulary. Witchcraft clearly equaling Satanism, and having no place in a god-fearing classroom. I love the comment about “Theme for English B.” Pastoral exercise: revisit all of our old grades and rubrics: What didn’t they mention, tell, or foreshadow about us after all?

  3. Rubrics are ridiculous, as the commenters have already said, but this also speaks to the difficulty (for some teachers, at least) of grading any personal writing. I’m teaching a creative writing class right now, and I already absolutely dread the grading. I hate grading expository writing as well, but I can handle it slightly better. It’s that confusion between the self and the writing that’s much harder to deal with. If only we didn’t have to have the grades at all. But then, would only 60% (or maybe 40%, or maybe fewer) of the students take the work seriously? And yet, if there was something other than grades as a currency, maybe some students would take learning even more seriously.

  4. drpoppy, I absolutely agree with you. In a class I taught — the first year diversity/core course at Simmons (MCC) — I raised this question with students about grades. If there was no grade pressure, would you “take the work seriously?” It was a great discussion, heated, with some friendly conflict. For one assignment, we did away with grades! I loved it. So did most of the students. Perhaps two were really uncomfortable — they were good students, and wanted the grades they knew they customarily got!

    I have no conclusion, but I do think that, while grades are here to stay, they are also an open field. Experiment.

    I’m pretty sure that you, like me, are a good commenter. Shouldn’t that be enough to make students take seriously their learning in your creative writing class? That’s what I want: to be taken seriously, to be responded to. If I don’t get that, then grades are a (cheap) compensation.

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