Archive for May 17th, 2009

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“Problems I Got Wrong and Don’t Know Why”

May 17, 2009

From Betsy on Leesepea’s blog:

“Students turn in an assignment (say problems 1-20), and the teacher checks it. THERE IS NO GRADE. The teacher simply marks the paper and returns it to the student. The student then fills out a simple chart that is divided into three categories. At the top is “Problems I Got Right”- students simply list the numbers that they did correctly. Next section is “Problems I Got Wrong, but Know How to Fix”. This is self-assessment. The child has to go back over the problems and see if they can spot the mistake. The final section is “Problems I Got Wrong and Don’t Know Why”. These are the problems the students need help on. The focus is narrowed for both teacher and student, and a quick way to see if everyone is struggling with the same thing. It is also validation for the student- 9 times out of 10, the first two categories will have more numbers than the last one. And since there is no grade attached, it is non-threatening. My students love this.”

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Test Retakes

May 17, 2009

Since test corrections just seem to prove how well they can copy from one another, I would like to have them do some kind of test retake. My idea is that as I grade each test, for each problem they miss, I will also mark that on a separate sheet of paper. When I hand back the tests, I will also hand back a copy of the slip, and they have the option of retaking those problems on a new, different version of the test. The biggest hurdle I see is carving out the 20-30 minutes of time it will take about a week after the test.

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The First Days of School Ideas

May 17, 2009
  • Instead of just posting the section name, also post the objective(s) for that day’s lesson.
  • Give each student a pretest to see how well-prepared they are. This can include ideas and topics they would not have seen yet; at the end of the semester, give it to them again, so they (and I) can see how much they have improved.
  • Procedures!
  • Reverse roleplay interrupting someone who is speaking.
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Algebra I Project Ideas

May 17, 2009

S suggested I write down these ideas before I forget about them:

Probability Experiment
Divide the students into teams of two and have them select a type of experiment to conduct:

  • Penny Drop – One student drops a penny on the ground, and the other student records whether it was heads or tails.
  • Spinner – One student spins the arrow on a colored spinner (red/green/blue/yellow), and the other student records which color was selected.
  • Dice Roll #1 – One student rolls a die, and the other student records the number.
  • Dice Roll #2 – One student rolls a pair of dice, and the other student records what the number on each die and the roll’s total.

Each experiment is conducted 100 times, with the students exchanging roles halfway through. They then create a poster of their findings comparing the theoretical and experimental probabilities.


Sale Flyers
Have the students collect various sale flyers and create a poster showing the percentages off and the sale price of different items.

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Next Year’s Schedule

May 17, 2009

As of now, my schedule for next year will be:

1st and 2nd Geometry Computer Lab
3rd Conf.
4th and 5th Geometry (Co-Teaching)
6th Conf.
7th and 8th Algebra I (Co-Teaching)

While I’m not particularly happy that I did not get AP Calculus (and I’m not that thrilled to be teaching freshmen), I’m realizing that I probably have more of an opportunity to make an impact with this schedule than I would have otherwise. By teaching the computer lab classes, I’m helping students have a better shot at actually graduating, rather than dropping out because they just couldn’t seem to pass Geometry. And because I won’t be split between prepping for Algebra I and Calculus, I can devote more time to trying to help 30-40 kids be successful at math for the first time in their lives, as compared to helping 40 generally self-motivated kids.

Although the school may regret giving the class to me, I’ve become pretty excited (and I think S is as well) about the idea of tossing out the current scope and sequence and doing whatever it takes to get these kids up to grade level. I think it’s pretty obvious that what we’ve been trying hasn’t worked, based on the skills of the students I see in Geometry. Getting these kids in Algebra I actually gives us a chance to try to fix that.