Here’s what worked for my 8th grade math students 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 students 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 students 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 students 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, students 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: students 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 students 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 students, 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 students 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 students 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 students’ 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 students 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.
P6 Term 3 Newsletter
Dear Parent/ Carer,
Happy New Year. We hope you enjoyed sharing your child’s experiences through their Learning Journeys jotters last term. They will be coming home again at the end of this term.
We will continue to have both indoor and outdoor PE sessions this year. The outdoor sessions will be weather permitting. Please make sure children have appropriate P.E. clothes in school at all times (gym bags can be left in school). If required please send in tape to cover earrings. Thank you.
Each week the children have a “Together Time” with Mrs Thibert which will cover various aspects of Health and Wellbeing. At these assemblies children may be nominated for a “Special Mention” by the pupils and their class teacher. Children are encouraged to bring in achievements from home and share these with their peers.
Mrs Andrews will continue to consult with staff to ensure that children are supported in their learning.
This Term we are learning:
Continuing our Healthy Tuck Shop enterprise Topic
· We will be looking at:
· Different conflicts that have occurred in our most recent history
· Focus on one of the biggest conflicts in recent years - WW2
· The countries that were affected.
· How Britain worked together to resist being taken over
· How the war affected families
· What ended the war
· We will also look at current conflicts and how they affect the world today and what lessons did we learn from WW2
Maths and Numeracy
In Numeracy we will be learning about:
· The four operations of adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing.
· In maths we will be continuing to learn about.
· Properties of 3D shape
· Plotting coordinates and reinforcing mapping skills
In Literacy we will be learning about:
· Developing our comprehension skills through our topic
· Deciding between fact and fiction
· We will be reading for information.
· Research and note take key information
- Focussing on imaginative writing and personal writing.
· Reinforcing VCOP skills
· Editing, evaluating and redrafting our writing
· Presenting and sharing key information
· Engaging the audience using gesture, eye contact, expression, tone and persuasive
· Writing in the style of a given author
Health and Wellbeing
· In Health and Wellbeing
· We will recognise that we all unique individuals and we all have different needs and we respect all individuals equally.
· Creative dance
· Scottish country dance
· Emotional wellbeing and growth mindset
· The children are encouraged to bring a filled water bottle with their name clearly written on it to school each day (water only, please).
· Please remind your child about the importance of not sharing their snack. Can we also request that no sweets or cakes are sent to school for birthdays/celebrations. This is due to the number of children in school with food allergies.
· Can we also remind you the importance of labelling children’s clothes to prevent them being lost.
· Please if you have any questions or concerns do not hesitate to contact us. Thank you again for your continued support.
Primary 6, Mrs Marshall and Mrs Greg