Friday, December 12, 2014

Hanging Chads

For as long as I've been at my current school, and who knows how long before, the students in our school's AVID program have collected presents for elementary students at a school not too far from ours.  Ours is in an upper-middle-class neighborhood with many well-to-do people, the elementary school in question is not in the best of neighborhoods.  Oh, there are far worse neighborhoods in the world, but every year we're told of students who say that the present they got from the high school kids was the only one they'll get for Christmas that year.  It's kind of a big deal.

This year our 3rd period classes collected presents.  The top 3 classes in gift donations get a donut party--and if you know me, you know I want a donut.  I only agree to participate in the program, though, if my 3rd period class votes overwhelmingly to participate.  I explained that this is one of those times where it's not enough to have good intentions, that since they voted overwhelmingly to participate that they actually have to bring presents in.

Setting the example, I brought in the first one, a race car set.

We got off to a slow start, but as the deadline neared more presents came in.  Each day or two the AVID students would come in and clear out the presents, and near the end they told us that we were very nearly in the lead.  Today, the last day to bring in presents, we had a veritable Leaning Tower of Presents in the classroom and it took several students to clear them out.

At the end of 6th period today an announcement was made--we didn't win.  We weren't in the top 3.  In fact, I found out a little later that we were ever so slightly edged out of the top spot by another class, putting us in 4th.

I want a recount.  (or a donut.)


Jerry Doctor said...

Although other students out did their efforts it sounds like your students did a darn good job. It's important to remember that money can't buy happiness. But... money spent on donuts will rent it.

You need to make a stop at the donut shop on your way to school Monday. Make sure you get enough to have leftovers for you to "dispose" of.

PeggyU said...

I think you should just go buy a big giant box of donuts for your students and celebrate. The upside to getting them yourself is you get to choose what you want. :)

LeftCoastRef said...

how many students in the class, and how many presents were collected? If the number was greater than students in the class, I would say be the donut provider to show them they did something good for their community. In fact, makes me want to take donuts to my AP class next week. Just because I like donuts.

Darren said...

I've thought about these responses and decided that I will not bring donuts for the class. I may allow the students to bring in donuts, if they like, later this week during our final exam. They can celebrate their doing something good for others (bringing in presents) but I'll let God reward their charity.

The donut party would have been for *winning*, not for donating. I know some won't see a difference, but I do.

maxutils said...

I see the difference, and agree with you. And … I'm sure you weren't one of the teachers at said campus who offer 'extra credit' for bringing toys in. To come in fourth is a victory. I think letting the kids bring in donuts, or even establishing a pool where they contribute to the class donut fund, and maybe you take that and bring them in? Or let a student do it? great solution.

Ellen K said...

We do a similar canned food drive for the local food bank. I urged my class to participate, and many of them did-about 50%. But the others seem to think that it's just too much effort to bring a can of beans or soup. These are the same kids who expect me to fudge their grades upward. I'm not sure what kind of parenting produces kids like these.

Jerry Doctor said...


I'd probably still get the donuts. Even though my rep was as the department hard-a__, I'm really just a big teddy bear. On the other hand I would never consider giving them extra credit for donating. I don't believe grades should be for sale.

A good friend of mine used to tell his students that they weren't asking for "extra" credit.
They wanted "replacement" credit. "You wouldn't do my assignments so now you want to substitute your own." He did allow a couple of extra credit assignments but only to students that had completed all their regular work.

Darren said...

I don't incorporate non-academic things into an academic grade. No extra credit if your parent comes to Back To School Night, no extra credit for bringing in Kleenex, no extra credit for bringing in presents for the toy drive, no extra credit for bringing me a Christmas present, no extra credit for going to a sporting competition.

I continue to be amazed when teachers *do* offer extra credit for these activities, and more.

PeggyU said...

I see the difference ... but there are donuts at stake! :D