Monday, November 21, 2016

Study Groups, Test Analysis ... Great Practice!

I had lunch with a friend today.  She teaches Pre-AP/TAG Pre-Cal.  She is one of those teachers you want to emulate!  She cares about her students - wants them to excel, wants them to not just enjoy math on any given day, but learn deeply so that they are well prepared for future courses.  We talked quite a bit about how challenging the job of teacher is.  From August to June the job consumes one's life; so much time is needed for thorough preparation, grading, and more that our families have to basically fend for themselves.  At times it seems too much to expect!  And yet, the best teachers I know give, and give more ... because of their students!

She shared a few activities in her classroom these past few weeks.  I asked her permission to share them with you.  I wish I had thought to implement these 😉

As in many classrooms this year, there is much conversation in her classroom about mindset, growth, and study skills.  She emphasizes the importance of study groups.  To encourage students to collaborate, she offers a few extra credit points on tests if students study in groups!  But you say, how does she know that happens?  The group must take a selfie, and a parent has to email the selfie to her confirming the study group... to earn their 5 points.  Students are collaborating, they are studying, and parents must be aware of their efforts!

What study skills do you emphasize in your classes?  Do you encourage study groups?

When those tests are completed, she makes notes about the mistakes students make.  What she does with those notes is amazing!  Instead of telling students what mistakes they made, she asks them to determine that for themselves.  She puts the common errors students made in a Google Form by question.  Students get their tests back, and they have to analyze their errors, and select from the form the errors they made on each problem.  Talk about error analysis, and dendrites multiplying!  Of course, if students can't find their own errors, then she is available to help them identify their mistakes.  She gives students several minutes in class to analyze their errors, submit them on her form. From this task students know what errors they are making and can sign up for tutorials as needed. The form not only helps students, it also helps the teacher.  She can then examine the errors made as noted on the form, determine the frequency and extent of the errors to inform her instruction.

How do your students analyze errors on tests?  

We talked about much more today and I'm certain there are many more strategies and activities that she has to share!  The notebook her students keep, the pre-work videos she makes, how she uses games in her class to maximize student learning ... maybe these are topics for another day ...