A three-day Easter weekend (Dyngus Day included) is coming up. And of course, before we leave out, we’re due for a quiz. Because I can’t very well send my students away for three days and expect them to come back sharp for assessment, right? Let’s set them up for success, not failure.
Gotta mix things up, well, because even the good stuff gets stale after awhile.
I had promised my Little Cherubs™ a game for review on the day before the quiz. Really, really. Pinky-swear.
Yeah, and then life intruded. I spent every minute from 3:30 after my monthly Mentor-Mentee meeting until after (a very late) dinner taking care of Dad Job Description Issues, including my oldest son’s first car accident, my youngest’s middle school talent show, and whipping up a yummy, healthy (not really), budget-friendly meal. So I’m gonna start working on the materials for a game review at 10:30 at night and, yeah, no.
So I could just give my students a big old Kuta review packet, do some examples, say we reviewed, and then go home and feel shame and remorse for not coming up with something cool. And something with actual educational value. Or:
Provide some structure, teach some study skills applicable across the curriculum, and get some review done, all in a 50 minute class.
Easy as 1, 2, 3.
So yeah, I gave them that big old packet. But: instead of “OK kiddies, start working on these problems, I’ll be around to help” (barf), It’s: “Don’t start yet. Look at the section headings, glance at the problem, and rate yourself on that skill. Use this scale”:
1 = I got this. I am confident I can do this problem correctly every time.
2= I need some support. I can probably do this type of problem, but I’ll have to look at my notes, go online for help, or ask a classmate or teacher if I’m on the right track.
3 = I got no clue. I don’t even know where to start. Help me!
Now I set a 5 minute timer and have them try to do as many of the 1’s as they can. (Prove to yourself that you got this).
Now reset the timer to 5:00, and have them start on the 2’s. Maybe they find out some of the 2’s are actually 1’s. Or 3’s. But they get in some reps, and get some practice at locating help.
Now: Everybody has done probably 5-8 problems, they’re feeling pretty good. And we’ve only used, max, 15 minutes of classtime.
Now we kick it up a notch: “Everybody stand up. Look at your 3’s. Go find somebody in the classroom who has that type of problem marked as a 1 or 2. Sit together and work out a problem together. Go make a friend.”
We self-assess, we practice, we identify areas that need a little brush-up, and areas that need major attention before the quiz. We get out of our seats, we peer tutor. And we create an understanding that the quiz preparation will continue outside of class.
Not bad for 50 minutes of class. Not bad at all.
It’s the lowest-tech, least gamified review that I do. And: It’s worked in grades 9 through 12, for Algebra 1 Frequent Fliers and for semi-serious Algebra II students.
It’s a keeper.