Saturday, September 29, 2012
Pairs and Self-Checking
In a recent PLC meeting, our algebra team talked about how we were each practicing specific skills. The scores on our last common quiz were abysmal and depressing! I've determined that in my classes we need to do more routine practice and yet ... it won't work to just do one workbook page after another. So I'm glad our Sunday Funday topic is on practice! I look forward to learning from my colleagues!
I find that practicing skills in pairs typically works best. I like self-checking activities. So one activity I am using this coming week on solving inequalities is the Inequality Match ups. Students may choose to solve the inequalities independently or with a partner. They have to show their work, and create a grid of answers. They will check their grid against my answer key.
I don't have a sample handy for this second idea ... but we practice in pairs. Each partner has a separate set of problems. The problems are designed so that the solutions to each partner's corresponding problem are the same. So they can check their work against one another easily.
A third method of practicing I've used is the Four Sum Solving Equations. This worked well when we were solving equations. Students work in in pairs or small groups. I gave them just 4 equations at a time and told them that if their solutions were correct, the sum of the solutions would be a specific value.
Last, I've used a circuit like Equation Circuit or loop practice twice in these first weeks of school. It gets a little chaotic in the room but students work in small teams to complete the loop.
Getting all students to complete all of the practice has been a challenge. I expect all students to do all of the work and I'm working on motivation ideas to ensure that they do. I don't want to take up all the work but the threat of a grade is all that will motivate some to complete the work. Many will also work for points or Jolly Ranchers. I'm curious how others hold all students accountable for the practice?!?