Archive for June 8th, 2011


Ideas for Next Year

June 8, 2011
  • Make two supply buckets
    • Algebra 3: straight edges, compasses, pencil sharpeners, colored pencils
    • Geometry: straight edges, pencil sharpeners, markers (in plastic case), vocabulary squares, scissors, glue
  • On A3, check homework at the beginning of class, thengo over it. Make the “Turn in” problems the official homework problems and the other problems “Additional Practice”
    • This should allow more time to do stuff after the quiz.
    • Post solutions to the homework problems after the quiz on B day.
  • More classwork!
  • More games in Geometry
  • Play card games in A3.

SBG Year One

June 8, 2011

After thinking about my first year of my interpretation of Standards-Based Assessment, I am on the whole very happy with how it worked out, although I have some definite changes I want to make for next year.

In no particular order, here are my reflections on SBG:

  • Since I have so many SPED kids, SBG made doing strengths and weaknesses a breeze.
  • Breaking down the chapters by topic almost correlated exactly to by section. My biggest quibble is that if a student came in wanting to reassess objective 18, I couldn’t remember what that objective was (as compared to section 6-5). I’m not sure which way I’ll go next year.
  • The most persistent problem with SBG was in requiring students to come in outside of class to reassess. Not only did this tie up S’s and my time, but not enough students came by. For next year, I think I will have each objective on the quiz three times–the first for the grade, and the second and third as optional retakes. After that, I’m debating putting students on the board who need to come in and retake. The biggest drawback of this scenario is that it will make the quizzes longer to take and to grade. On the plus side, this would definitely take care of make-up quizzes.
  • Using the six-weeks tests as retakes worked really well.
  • Do I want to do more correlation between the notebook/notes and the objectives? I feel like there’s something of a disconnect–that is, that the objectives only apply to the quizzes. Something to ponder.
  • It still seems pretty incredible to me, but SBG (and thus eliminating chapter tests) gave me over 12 additional days of instruction this year!
  • It was very frustrating when a student would come in and say “I want to retake objective xx,” and I would ask if he knew what he did wrong, he would say, “No.” It never seemed to enter his (or her) mind that if he didn’t learn why he didn’t pass it the first time, he’s not likely to pass it now.
  • It was very hard to not give in to the “regurgitation” model of tutor then test. And, for the most part with our SPED kids, we gave in.
  • For the most part, nobody used the existence of the retake to blow off the first take of the quiz. A few students abused this occasionally, but since it required them to have the discipline to show up after school to retake the quiz, the problem usually sorted itself out.

End of Year Post

June 8, 2011

It’s once again time for the end-of-the-year review! I’m going to reflect on the courses first, and then do a separate post on SBG.

Algebra 3
This was the first year this course was offered in our district, and I was given a pretty free hand in developing the curriculum I taught.

  • Coming in, there was a huge discrepancy between what I expected the students to know and what they demonstrated that they knew.
  • Once I started getting behind, it was very difficult to catch back up.
  • I originally set up the pacing because I wanted to spend lots of time on each topic, but it never seemed to work out that way.
  • On a related note, I got locked into a rut and never seemed to have time to do anything but lecture or quiz.
  • I totally sold out on homework.
  • Not enough students came in to reassess.


  • The textbook turned out even better than I had thought. I may not use Foerster much at all next year, except for classwork.
  • I’m really happy with the way most of my powerpoints turned out.
  • I think it worked really well uploading the notes to the website. Especially now that I’ve got them mostly done, I should be able to upload them sooner next year.
  • I really liked the problem sets. I think they made a nice change-of-pace.
  • It was fun teaching seniors and then getting to see them graduate.


  • Not enough students came in to reassess.
  • In spite of my best efforts, I still wasn’t able to permit enough time in class for practice. Too much lecture, not enough doing!
  • Too many students left behind.
  • Make-up work was difficult to manage.
  • Giving the quizzes at the beginning of class may have been too abrupt a start to the class.
  • I didn’t do any special projects this year.
  • It’s somewhat amazing to me that students who have cell phones and fancy clothes don’t have the money to buy spirals and pencils. **sigh**
  • S is leaving me!


  • I really liked the “interactive notebook”. For the most part, the students did very well keeping track of everything.
  • The notebook also seemed to keep most of the students engaged during notes. We had very few students off-task.
  • I liked the grading percentages (although I think I will bring the quiz grade down to 50% to add in a classwork percentage).
  • The supply and trash buckets worked really well. I definitely would not have wanted to do foldables without them!
  • Doing the quizzes as warm-ups saved quite a bit of time, as well as giving us time to do notebook checks.