Saturday, July 17, 2010

What I've learned this summer...

School starts in 3 weeks and as I reflect back on my summer, I find it interesting how far I've come. At the beginning of the summer I thought this year would be focused on relaxing, spending time with family, and looking at my new textbooks. Instead, here we are, towards the end of summer, my boxes are still in my living room, and I've spent most of the summer focused on formative and summative assessments, SBG, reading professional literature, and interacting with my twitter PLN, proving me more and more great ideas for implementation in my classroom.

That brings me to the purpose of this post... I've been reading and pondering a lot, but it's time to finalize my thoughts and determine my path for the year.

Grading Learning Targets
I've already posted about SBG a few times. I was grateful this morning to find some other learning target lists that are also pretty long, so I'm confident that we are on the right track with our list. I've also decided to go with a 5 point scale for my concept quizzes, mainly inspired by @jazlen and @Mrs_Fuller.

Being my first year with SBG, my classroom will look pretty traditional, with the major difference being how the score is broken down by LT rather than a cumulative quiz score. I will still quiz over 2-3 sections at a time, which works out to 3-4 LTs per quiz. Each LT will have a mix of questions (basic, above basic, and advanced/application/writing).

For grading purposes:
5 = advanced/exceeded standards, meaning they were able to knock the LT out of the park and would do a great job explaining the LT to someone else.
4 = proficient/met the standard, they have a pretty good grasp on the LT, probably could explain it to someone else
3 = basic/approaching the standard, they have a basic idea of the LT and can probably hem-haw their way around an explanation, but toss in any kind of twist and they are back at square one.

Classroom Instruction
Throughout classtime, students will be working with partners, talking & writing about math, which will provide me some informal assessment. In addition, I will also give either exit slips or HW quizzes to help me continue to assess gaps in learning. Last year I did give "quick checks" as quick, graded assignments, but this year I am thinking they will be ungraded and only for purposes of communication, so I can give the kids feedback on where they are.

Warmups, Bell-ringers, Problem of the Day
For the past several years, I've done these as a weekly grade that is turned in on Friday. In Geometry, I liked them a lot, but in Algebra 2, I grew to hate them with a passion. Students ended up copying them or not turning them in, and it really became a punitive grade more than a helpful review assignment. This year, I plan to have the kids work in groups of 3-4 on their problem solving skills. I will pull the problems from the NCTM calendars, ACT problems, End of Course exam problems, etc. The only kink I haven't worked out is making sure the kids do the problems if they are ungraded. We've trained kids from an early age to only do things if it's worth "points", so I'm thinking I may have to bribe them with a jolly rancher or something :) heheh

The Rules of the Game
I want to encourage my students to reassess LT's but I will have some rules
1) Students can only reassess one LT per day - hopefully that will help with the end of term rush to raise their grades
2) Students must show "proof" before reassessing an LT - they must have done the assigned problems, gone to our peer-tutoring lab, tutored with me or another teacher, or something they design. But I don't want them coming in to reassess without doing some remediation.
3) Students cannot get help and reassess on the same day. I see this feeding into the short term memory issue and I don't want to encourage that at all.
4) Students will need to schedule a day in advance for reassessments. I'm thinking of having an appointment book that they write their name, hour, and LT so I can get the reassessment ready for them. I also thought of a google form, but I don't want them signing up at midnight and thinking that is "advance notice" for me :)

Minor issues to resolve
I'm still not sure what to do about quiz security for absent kids and reassessments. I don't want to return a quiz/reassessment only to have it passed around so other kids can memorize it. I'm still working that one out in my head :)

Final Thoughts
It's been a crazy summer, both personally and professionally. On a personal note, I lost my best friend in the world after a very couragous fight with cancer. I am so grateful I got to spend the last days with her, laying in bed, watching TV, talking about nothing and everything. On the professional side, I have become drunk on the SBG kool-aid, re-examined a lot of beliefs and emerged more confident on the other side. Now to tackle that growing to-do list before kids bombard me in August :)

1 comment:

misscalcul8 said...

"Throughout classtime, students will be working with partners, talking & writing about math, which will provide me some informal assessment. In addition, I will also give either exit slips or HW quizzes to help me continue to assess gaps in learning."

Can you please blog about that? I'm very interested in how to do this and need ideas!