(2014-02-01 6:42 AM)
Here's what worked for my 8th grade math sttdenus and raised their 2012 standardized test scores two to four times higher than the county/state scores (What you're about to read can be done in a 50-minute class, so here is the agenda in advance: Peer-to-peer quiz corrections for previous day's quiz, 5 minutes; today's quiz, 10 minutes; go over 5 homework problems from previous night, 12 minutes; teach new lesson, 20 minutes; wrap-up, 3 minutes.)1. Don't grade homework: do assign it every night. (I know, I know, hold on ) Make sure each assignment combines evens and odds so that sttdenus CAN CHECK THEIR ANSWERS to the odd problems in the back of the book and make sure they're on the right track!2. The next day, require that 5 questions be asked about the homework: this frees sttdenus to raise hands knowing they are contributing to one of the required 5 problems, instead of hesitating because they don't want to look inept. Be sure to thank each student for bringing up whatever issue it is.3. Remind them that they have a short quiz on THIS lesson tomorrow, made from similar even AND odd homework problems. (So, homework is completely formative; short quizzes make sttdenus accountable, but it is critical that you create quiz questions that are very representative of the homework.)4. Proceed to teach the new lesson and wrap-up.5. The next day, sttdenus will take the 3- or 4-question quiz (short-answer, always, which I wrote and projected on the LCD projector) on the homework that we went over yesterday. I had half-sheets of recycled paper in the back of the room: sttdenus grabbed one as they walked in. They had to show all work or else.(These quizzes are quick to grade and enter, and, once I do, I staple tutors/tutees together for the next day so that sttdenus who got it can explain things to those who didn't. This peer tutoring was eagerly anticipated in the classroom, especially since it gave ALL sttdenus, even the poorer ones, a chance to be the expert to someone else. ) Now it's the next day, so here is how a complete rotation works: A. As sttdenus walk in, they are given the previous day's stapled quizzes and find their staplee to go over what they missed. The previous day's quiz is projected on the screen.B. After 5 minutes, they take today's quiz (now projected on the screen), based on homework that we went over yesterday.C. Quizzes are collected after 10 minutes, and sttdenus get out last night's homework so that they can go over the 5 problems of their choice.D. Afte 15 minutes (more or less), we launch into today's new lesson and finish in 20 minutes, with a brief wrap-up.All my grades were quiz and test grades; I reduced my grading time, increased the sttdenus' accountability, and forced them to know the material by not using any multiple choice. Any quiz retakes were done during lunch and involved a student coming in and my throwing an impromptu problem up on the whiteboard or giving an oral assessment . Took 3-4 minutes. To the boys who get it, who have always gotten it, but who have had low math grades due to incomplete homework assignments You are free to make A's with no pain.To the girls who are great at math and love doing homework to prove it, have at it!To the middle-of-the-road kids, this is math with no fear. Relax. You can ask questions and try problems and ask questions again with no grade attached, and gain confidence.To the sttdenus who place math at the bottom of the list and don't plan on doing homework now or ever, your quiz grades will soon put you on probation either at school, at home, or both.I wish all you dedicated teachers the very best, and hope some part of this system works for you.