Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ramblings about Next Year...

I would appreciate any thoughts you guys have about the following rambles (regarding my HS class)...

Taking Notes....
I'm pretty sure that most students have not been taught how to take notes. Since my school starts on a Thursday, I am thinking of taking that Friday to teach them HOW to take Cornell Notes. (See neat Cornell note maker here)

Then, we will move on to reading the first part of our textbook together and learning HOW to take notes from a textbook. I know the traditional SQ3R methods, etc, but last night I found one that was something like PRQW (I may have the order wrong....)
P - Preview the section - look at the pictures, graphs, captions, sidebars, etc
R - Read the section - make sure you turn the heading into a question!
Q & W - Question and Write - from the section, write 2-3 test or quiz questions (and their answers!)

Now my challenge is how to assess this. I could have them turn in their questions and use them as questions for quizzes and/or warmups. Or I can do open-notebook concept quizzes. Or ??? (Fill in your idea here!)

I've been cleaning my office this week and finding various papers from previous years (suggestions for next year, to-do lists for the summer, neat ideas from online, etc). One of the papers I ran across was a collection of homework ideas - most from the AP calculus listserv I think. I found one idea that I really like, but would love some feedback... here's an excerpt of the idea:

"Some students can do few problems and learn the concept, and some students need to do many problems to learn the same concept, and some students can just pay attention in class and pick up everything.... I do give my students ton of homework each day, but I don't care if they don't do any of it. Every Friday I pick some problems out of the homework, and make a quiz out [of] it. I also give retakes on all weekly quizzes, and if a student makes less than 80% on the first quiz that student must produce all (every single problem with all steps worked out) of that weeks homework, and a parent note, before they can take a retake. ... The students only have one week to take a retake...."

Now of course I would modify this for me. Rather than weekly quizzes it would be chapter (or section) based, and since I"m not always fast on getting papers back, I think I'd have to modify the retake policy idea, but overall, I like the idea of this system for several reasons....
1) it is a way to transition from traditional HS to more of a college approach
2) it forces more responsibility onto them rather than onto me
3) allows me to assess with more quality rather than completion grades
4) it has built in differentiation for the various ability levels
5) it has built in remediation for those students that did not do well
6) helps with parent concerns when they realize Johnny had the test bank but chose not to do it!
7) it puts some element of control back in the hands of the kids - it's their choice and their grade

Of course, I need to figure out some way to help the retake structure... but that's where YOU come in! What are other Pros/Cons of this? Help me brainstorm it out!

:) Have a good day!


Mrs. Rice said...

Your ideas on quizzes/retakes/homework are really interesting. I teach a grade level statistics class and homework is a struggle - my kids this year had senioritis soooooo bad. The idea of giving them a retake on a quiz - if they do all the homework - is an interesting one. We try really hard at my school to give kids a chance to revcover (which is not necessarily a good thing in trying to get seniors ready for college)and I can see how this might help.

My college classes were so long ago that I don't remember any homework policies. I'd be curious as to the difference between your universite and high school classes. And the idea of teaching note-taking is also interesting. When I taught Algebra 1 that was one of the skills I tried to teach. What I did find was that my friendly English teachers had some good graphic organizers and note-taking aids - although ultimately giving them extra credit points for a well kept notebook seemed to work as well as anything else.

Janet Rice

Jackie said...

You're thoughts on assessment are interesting. Have you read any of Dan's stuff on assessment? http://blog.mrmeyer.com/?p=346

I'm still trying to figure out a "fair" way to deal with assessments and homework. I haven't even begun to tackle the notes issue.

Mrs. Temple said...

Mrs. Rice...
Hope you don't mind, but I took a gander at your blog. One of *the best* AP teachers teaches in your district, but I don't know if she's at your HS or not. I agree w/ your thoughts on your blog about how to use a blog in the classroom. For years I've wanted to do this, but not been able to figure it out.

I'm not totally pleased with the retake idea - someone suggested not to even do the retakes, but then there is no motivation at all for those Alg2 kiddos that need to do the homework to actually do it.

As for my HS vs. Uni classes, that may be a blog topic soon :)

Thanks for your input!

Mrs. Temple said...

I have read Dan's assessment ideas many times, but I don't know that I could really make it work for me. My district already has some assessment requirements in place that I may blog about someday that would make Dan's system somewhat difficult to implement.

The "fairness" issue is what prompted this. In Geometry, since all the kiddos are on a similar level, the homework isn't much of an issue. But in AP, the ability levels are so varied, I feel like I need a system that is more tailored to their needs. And since most of them are seniors, I feel like I should give them a bit more independence, yet still some structure in homework.

Thanks for your input!