The following conversation took place.
Student: And I got a zero.
Me: Well, you didn't do the assignment.
St: But I did! I made a movie about my state.
Me: But... you didn't follow the directions...
St: I MADE A MOVIE LIKE YOU SAID!
Me: You recited a poem
Me: That's not what I wanted...
St: But the poem reminded me of Arizona.
Me: Did you write it?
Me: Was it written by someone from Arizona?
Me: And the photos... were they pictures of Arizona.
St: Some of them.
Me: ... How did you think this would be acceptable.
St: This poem reminded me of Arizona. So I decided to recite it.
Me: But that's not the assignment. You were supposed to do a movie based on the research you did.
Me: You know... the worksheets I gave out with all the questions.
St: (confused look) I never got worksheets.
Me: Yes, you did. I put them on Blackboard.
St: Oh, I never checked Blackboard for homework.
Me: Despite me saying EVERY CLASS PERIOD that the homework was on Blackboard?
St: (shrugging) It never occurred to me.
Me: (a little angrily): Listening to me never occurred to you?
Me: Well, that explains why you never did homework...
St: So that shouldn't apply to me. I didn't do any research, so this is okay.
Me: Oh, no. The homework was there. I told the entire class where it was. That you didn't do it isn't my problem.
St: But I didn't do the research, so I had to do something.
Me: (visibly annoyed) Here is what the directions said:
You can talk about whatever you researched about your state. You can give an overview of the state, or focus on a region or a city. I've had projects that focus on the Native American tribes and their cultures or that focus on ghost towns and ghost tours or that focus on all the "official" state things.
How did you do that?
St: I did work. I deserve a grade.
Me: (dryly) You got a grade. A zero.
Me: Look, your final is on Tuesday. You have until then to fix this.
Unsurprisingly, this student did not fix the project, and bombed the final. The next semester, this student repeated the class, but with someone else.