I don't teach much grammar type stuff in my writing courses because it's been shown not to actually contribute to helping students write better. But I do, when a group of students shows a pattern of a specific grammar or punctuation problem, do a short session on how to do that grammar or punctuation correctly. And so it was yesterday.
I made up a handout with an explanation and examples. We went over stuff, and then students wrote some sentences of their own. We read some of those aloud and talked about them.
Today, I gave an open notes quiz on the grammar and punctuation things, thinking that it would be a tiny boost for some students. The quiz asked them to write a couple sentences using the grammar/punctuation things. It was open notes.
About half the students did fine. One wrote down the sentence she'd written as her example yesterday (and read aloud), because it's an open note quiz and it was right there, and she knew it was right.
But about half the students just bombed.
I know this is a grammar thing that students didn't know before the class (because it's not generally taught in high school). So, the ones who did well learned (or copied from their notes from) yesterday. And the ones who didn't do well?
1) I wasted our time yesterday and didn't do a good job.
2) Couldn't copy from the examples on the handout, even.
You know, when people worry about students being incredibly creative in their cheating attempts, I wonder who those students are. Because on an OPEN NOTE quiz where students could use what they'd written yesterday or the very handout, half my students bombed. They couldn't manage to use the notes or handouts they were allowed, nay, encouraged to use to do well on the quiz. How would they manage to write the answers on the inside of their ball caps or in super secret text messages?
Sometimes, my mind boggles.