Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Evolutions in Teaching

This month, I'm participating in a blog challenge called Blaugust.  To see the list of participating blogs, click on the logo above. I would encourage to you please cheer on our participants with either a tweet or a comment on their blog during this month. It can be hard to blog on a daily (or even regular) schedule! :)  If you would like to join the blogging challenge, you can still sign-up anytime!

August is almost over and yet again, I have not made my Blaugust goal - BUT - ultimately, the point of Blaugust is to get me back into the habit of sharing about my classroom and I *have* achieved that, so go me!  Thank you ALL for reading, responding, sharing, and commenting on my posts and the other Blaugust participants.  It's such a great resource of ideas and inspirations for back to school and I appreciate you!.

I've now been back to school for 2.5 weeks and I'm making good progress on my goals!  I have so many blog posts floating in my head, but by the time I get home and get things ready for the next day, I'm utterly exhausted!

But tonight I want to reflect on one of my goals and how things have evolved in my classroom over the past few years. :)

Multiple Choice Mondays - Version 1
Each Monday, my AP students do a MC Monday consisting of 5 questions over material we've learned (or previous content, like ACT style questions).

However, I didn't want them just to do the MC questions and be done - I wanted my students to reflect on their learning.  This is a common theme in my classroom and I often ask students to write / reflect / summarize to help them solidify the material.  So on Mondays they do their MC and put it back into their table folder.  The next day, the reflection part on the back is their warmup.  For the first 1 (or maybe 2... I don't remember), this was the back of the MC Monday.  The Analysis at the top had a place for the correct answers, whether they got it right or wrong, the type of error, and whether they needed to study that concept.  The bottom was a reflection grid (inspired by the assessment grid that @pamjwilson has blogged about before), with various prompts.  Overall, I liked this, but kids would often write the same thing week to week and weren't really using the grid the way I had envisioned it, so back to the drawing board...

Multiple Choice Mondays - Version 2
So the following year (Year 3 I think?), I changed it...  I had discussed some of my frustrations with the grid with my neighbor teacher and she was having some of the same issues.  Both of us really liked having a place to ask questions and have a dialogue with our students, but decided that maybe we needed to be a bit more specific with the other prompts.

As a result, Version 2 was born, with the prompts asking about which questions they felt most confident about (and why), and least confident about (and why).  We tried to impress on the students that most / least confident is NOT about getting the answer right, it's about how you felt regarding the material.  However, that was an uphill battle as even at the end of the year, I was still having to make the speech about "Remember - confidence is NOT about the answer - it's about the question!"  I did have some great comments and questions from my students on the "I have the following questions..." prompt, but I was disappointed in the most / least confident prompts, so back to the drawing board - AGAIN...

Multiple Choice Mondays - Version 3
I'm really hoping that the third time really is a charm...

During the teacher work-days, I *still* hadn't figured out how I wanted to change the MC Monday Reflections, but I knew that it needed to happen.  I popped by neighbor teacher's room to see if she had any brainstorms and she was as stuck as I am.  Both of us wanted to keep an area for students to ask questions, but that was about all we knew.  I mentioned to neighbor teacher that I really wanted to incorporate more vocab review into the class with "Terms Tuesday / Words Wednesday" and wondered about using the MC Monday to help drive that.  Thankfully, she loved the idea and our latest version was born.  The Analysis box got simplified a bit with the last columns being combined into a spot for students to write themselves notes, then the general reflection area that combines multiple prompts into one, and finally the Terms Tuesday / Words Wednesday box.

So this week was our first MC Monday and I *LOVED* it!  It was so much fun to do the vocab and I think they really enjoyed practicing their retrieval skills to see if they could recall the words we had learned so far.  I'm super excited to see how this plays out over the year, but we might have a winner - plus, it helps me meet my vocabulary goal!  YAY!

If you have suggestions on how to improve this further, please let me know :)


Amy and Bryan said...

Can I get the file for the document? I also do Multiple Choice Monday with my AP Stats students. What do you envision doing for the terms Tuesday and Words Wednesday? I'm curious. Of course I also do Frappy Friday's. I have a small but strong class this year.

Anonymous said...

What are you doing with Tuesday and Wednesday words?