Thursday, January 29, 2015

Something funny and kind of scary happened....

So on Monday this week, I woke up really sick at about 3 am.  Now it so happened that I had planned on getting most of my lessons ready to go during my period 2 prep that day.  So I knew that I had not much ready for a sub to work with if I just stayed home.  Throw in another fact that I was supposed to be running a junior high math league meet 45 minutes before school started.  So I ended up pulling myself together enough to get through the math league meet.  Then I would use 30 minutes to get lesson plans together for the day.  I would then head home and let the sub run the rest of the day for periods 3-9.

So after no sub signed up for my gig, I told the secretary that we only needed someone for periods 3-9 because I would be there for the first two periods because of math league.  She said okay, I ran my math league meet, created some activities and headed home.

My usual routine when I am going to be gone for the day is to email lesson plans not only to our secretary, but all the students as well.  I find it usually helps the sub out and helps the students know what is going ot happen that day even though I am not in the room.  On this Monday I did send an email to all my students giving a quick outline to the plan for class and I attached the necessary materials.

So when I get to school on Tuesday, and interesting thing happened.  I immediately had 3 students run up to me and say "We had no teacher Mr. Sieling!"  I said "What?"  They told me "all from the same class, that no teacher ever showed up to run class on Monday.  It happened in just 1 class period, but still I was a little worried about what had happened.

So I believe they came into class on Monday, realized there was no teacher.  At some point looked for the normal Monday game, realized there was no game, no teacher and then started working on their assignment.  Now, these are 7th grade students.  I doubt it was quiet.  In fact, a group of girls moved to work in the hallway because "the boys were loud."  However, they all got their work done without the teacher even being there.  I was pretty proud of them for that.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Quizzing to Promote Mastery

Its been a long time since the last post.  I have been pretty busy lately, even more than usual.  From coaching junior high and high school math league to coaching the inaugural year of our junior high robotics league to presenting at various conferences, it has been a crazy winter so far.  I thought I would try to get a quick post out while I have a moment.

In 8th grade we have been studying solving equaitons and inequalities that past 2-3 weeks.  The students took a paper/pencil quiz on equations in December.  So I tried a different way to quiz last week.  I got the foundation of this idea from a book, don't remember which one, I will try to find that title later.

The basic gist is that students answer 1 question at a time on their own.  We switch, correct that problem in class and go over how to do it.  Then we try another question (or set of questions) and repeat.  We do this over and over again so students can be remediated during their quiz.  I like the idea of this "quiz to mastery."

I took this to the next level by adding my differentiated rubric to the idea.  It went like this, the first round of the quiz everyone tried to solve 1 Level 2 question.  (leveled grading blog) When people were done we switched and corrected that question.  If the student got it right they earned at least a score of a 2 on that quiz.  If they got it wrong they got some help about their mistakes.  When we were ready (about 3-5 minutes later) round 2 began.

Round 2 now had two questions on the board.  The slide had two questions on it:   level 2 question that was similar in difficulty to the first question, as well as a level 3 question for those who got the first one question correct.  After about 3-5 minutes we switched and corrected those two questions.  We again spent some time helping each other out and figuring out mistakes.

Round 3 had three questions on the board: Level 2, Level 3 and Level 4.  We continued this way until the end of class.  We got in about 5 rounds of this style quiz.  The score the student earned on the quiz was the highest level of question they got correct.

Overall the students seemed to like this style quiz.  There were some who did not like it.  The biggest reasons seemed to be that it was different or they did not ge the score they wanted.  This type of quiz works particularly well for skills like solving equations.  I may use it again for solving inequalities, I will probably leave that choice up to the students.

Here is my google slide presentation for giving this quiz to mastery.