I'm about to have four days off and I need it. After a week of graphing on the coordinate plane, using myriad examples of how two things relate at the same time, my students bombed a quiz last Friday. I had used Black Friday sales to illustrate the rising costs of a single DVD player and multiple DVD's purchased as an example. I used purchasing two differently-priced kinds of meat for a barbecue to show the ways that increasing the amount puchased of one necessarily leads to a decrease in the amount purchased of the other given a set budget. I had them each plot their own points in the relationships on the dry-erase board with magnets to ensure that no one was just sitting back not paying attention.
After the quiz I spent two more days talking about it and most did exactly the same today if not worse. I reached a few who doubled their scores, but for the most part, my extra effort went for nothing. When I reprinted the quiz, I changed the numbers and that was all the modifications I made. A kid turned his in and said, "When can I re-take that first quiz?"
And the next time I point to a horizontal or vertical line and ask what kind of line it is, and I get the answer, "Straight," I'm going nuclear. No Child Left Behind can kiss mine. That isn't my fault. How in blazes can 13- and 14-year olds not know what vertical and horizontal mean, especially after a week of instruction???