Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Appointment Test Review

One of my good friends at school shared this test review activity with me. She says she always has great results and good student participation so I was eager to try it for myself.

It works like this. I had the kids draw a clock on their paper that looked like this.

I then had the entire class stand up and told them they would have 2 minutes to make 4 appointments. They needed to make a 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock appointment. They could not book the same person twice and they were to sit down as soon as they made all four appointments so I would know who was finished. In each class there were several who still needed appointments after everyone else was finished, so I just told them I'd place them with a group for the appointment that they were blank on.

After their appointments were made, their clock looked like this.

After everyone was seated, I instructed the students to go and meet their 3:00 appointment and work problems 1-8 on the test review. They could work anywhere inside the room. Most just pushed desks together and worked like this.

After about 10 minutes, I called time and told the students to meet their 9:00 appointment to do problems 9-18. We continued this process until the reivew was either finished or we ran out of time. The kids had a blast and asked if we could do it again sometime. I really enjoyed seeing the 100% engagement and most of the students were great about helping each other and not just giving answers.

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Warm-Up Solution That Works For Me

This year I am doing something that is really working well for me. At our school we are required to give daily warm-ups. If you don't count them for a grade, most students will not do them. If you do count them for a grade, they are a pain in the rear to collect and grade and record. Last year, I took them up every Friday and gave a completion grade for them, but even then, the task of looking at over 150 papers every weekend in addition to other assignments that needed grading became too much for me.

This year, I have been working hard to encourage my students to keep neat and organized notebooks. They have a warm-up section, a note section etc. After each warm-up I will say, now, make sure this warm-up has the date on it and make sure you place it in your warm-up sections. During the notes, I constantly remind them about the importance of the date, title, etc.

So I came up with this idea, or I stole it from someone, I can't remember which, of giving Binder Quizzes.

The Binder Quiz serves two purposes. I am able to grade their warm-ups without ever taking them up, and two, I get to see who is keeping their notebook in good working order.

We take a binder quiz the day before every major exam. In the quiz, I ask them all sorts of questions like, "On Sept 17, what was the answer to warm-up #1, or on Sept 20, what was the title of your notes, or In topic 2-1, what was the answer to example 3.

They have 5 minutes to complete the quiz. If their binder is in order, they will finish in about three. If they have to dig through their back packs to find their papers, it is impossible to complete in 5 minutes.

Here are two examples from the same class. One person who keeps up with their stuff and one who has never brought his binder to my class one single time.

I can not begin to tell you how much this Binder Quiz has helped me this year. I am no longer stressed about grading warm-up and overall my kids are doing better than ever about keeping a neat and organized binder where they can quickly find their resources when they need them.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Self-Checking Practice Activity

Thought I'd share an activity with my readers that I have been using for the last couple of years. This activity is called a Star Chain. When you are tired of doing boring book work or worksheets, but your students still need a little extra practice, try a Star Chain!

Each student will get 12 problems of anything you'd like to practice. For me, it was solving linear equations.

Next, have students cut the problem cards apart.

After the cards are cut apart, students will pick any card they want to begin with. I usually tell them to pick the one that looks easiest to them. They work the problem and then find their answer at the top of another card. They tape the cards together. Continue the process until a chain is formed. If they do all the problems correctly, the last problem will match the answer at the beginning of the chain.

The next day, we connected all the chains and strung them up on the ceiling. I'll probably leave them there until the fire marshall gets me!

It's simple to make your own star chain on any topic! All you need is 12 problems with 12 UNIQUE answers. Just delete my problems and add your own!

Star Chain Solving Linear Equations

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