Saturday, May 7, 2011

What They Have to Say

I had individual meetings with all of my math students yesterday, just to check in and see how they're doing. In Geometry, I wanted to find out what happened to them on the midterm. most of them brought no notes, many of them rushed through. I asked if they had enough time, they said "yeah" and they were done early. "Well, why did you rush?" I asked. "I don't know just to be done." Many could not do skills they had previously mastered, they forgot and didn't bring their DPM (definitions and properties manual or their DPMs were not useful because their notes were bad.

I'm trying to remember how I got last year's class to love their DPMs. I remember that they fondly called them their "dippum" Hmmm.... There's an apathy with this class that I can'figure out. I think I will reintroduce concepts after the midterm if I see low retention across the board. If they've previously mastered it, they get a free "5" and they just have to do it one time to get their stamp.

I like the idea of a cumulative concept quiz for the midterm and final and including concepts from earlier in the year that are not part of their new concepts.

Hard week. In Earth Science, they're doing their Energy projects on Monday. I do not feel as confident about their readiness for this as I think I did last year and I spent a lot less time preparing for it.

I wrote this on the weekly email to parents this week....
Students are asking for extra credit and my answer is an adamant “No.” In math, students can raise their grade by learning the concepts. They have a weekly opportunity in class on Concept Quizzes and can come in and reassess on any concept as long as they can prove they have done some work towards learning that concept. When they come in outside of class, I ask them to show me their homework or tell me what they have done to learn that concept before allowing them to reassess. I have had to turn several students away when they have come in with no proof that they have done any work toward learning the concept. I call this the “video game” approach to math; just keep trying until something works or you get lucky (that works on video games, I know because I play them). This does not help them learn what they need to know.

The "video game approach" came form Shawn Cornally's blog.

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