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I covered another math class on Friday.

The teacher was giving a test.

I’ve seen kids write “I don’t know” or “I don’t get this” when they couldn’t answer a problem.

Apparently that was too much work for a large number of kids in this class. They had a whole page with IDK filled into each problem.

I’m not sure whether to be more disturbed at the lack of connection these kids had, or the fact that it was such a common or trendy experience for them that it had been reduced to an acronym.

{ 7 } Comments

  1. Sarah | February 8, 2009 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    I hate IDK. We see it all the time around here. Often enough, that it’s not something I would even think to blog about anymore.

    It’s a hard habit to break. And it carries from one class to another. It captures an attitude that’s already given up. How do you keep your students from using it?

  2. Mr. K | February 8, 2009 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    I’m sure part of it is that this year I have a disproportionate number of motivated kids, part of it is that I really do try to make it easy for them (as in providing instruction that lets them solve problems easily, not lowering the bar), so that a lot of my kids do get it, and it’s not such a cool thing to do anymore.

    But man, I hear you on the giving up attitude. I have no idea how to turn it around once its started…

  3. Jackie Ballarini | February 8, 2009 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    I had an “IDK” on a quiz a week or so ago. I wrote back, “Ok. What can we do about this?” He came in for help that week.

    I’m lucky that I don’t get those type of responses too often. Usually if they don’t know what to do at first they try something… I think this comes from emphasizing multiple methods in class. I also think it has to do with the school in which I work.

  4. Mr. K | February 9, 2009 at 5:10 am | Permalink

    Thank you Jackie.

    Obviously (now, after your comment), the first step is to expect some sort of ownership of their knowledge for them.

    I got one of these on one of my tests this weekend.

    My comment, in response, was:


  5. Jackie Ballarini | February 9, 2009 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    I like your response better than mine. :-)

  6. Sarah | February 9, 2009 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    I think I’ll steal your response in the future.

  7. Mr. K | February 9, 2009 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    It was pointed out to me that it really should be WRUG2D2LT?

    Please steal it. It will take some rapport with the kids to pull off, I think, but I love the idea of having the counter meme spread…