Sessions!

So I found this blog post concerning a post-assessment-review idea and I was pretty excited about it.  After I did it with Chemistry and Precalculus, however, I was even more excited, because the students were totally engaged.  Here’s the general idea for anyone who didn’t click the link:

Basically, after any assessment (quiz or test), I break the assessment into sections based on content, and choose the 4 or 5 students who did the best on each section.  These students become “session leaders” and show their fellow students, in groups of 5 students or smaller (depending on the class size), how to do the problems.  After 10 or 15 minutes, the students switch and can choose a new session, based on how well they did and what areas they need help with on the test or quiz.

The first time I did this, I made a few mistakes and have since refined the process.  Here’s a list of things I changed:

  1. Maxing out 10-15 minutes per session.  This way students are on topic the entire class period, instead of drawing on the whiteboards when their session leader is done.
  2. This first time, however, I also gave the session leaders practice problems to do after they went over the problems on the test or quiz, so it did take a little longer, but it was also more work for me.  Now I’m just having students go over problems, but may be in the future I can have the session leaders make up their own problems!
  3. The first time I just assigned students to specific groups.  However, most of my classes are pretty good about not being too “clickish” and some students just do better with certain other students, so I now let them choose, but tell them to do it based on their assessment and the area they are weakest.
  4. Going along with 3, I made “maximum group sizes” so the session leaders don’t feel intimidated by teaching too many at once.

Each session leader gets a whiteboard and their own test.  For quizzes, students care about learning it because they can do quiz retakes.  For tests, students can do test corrections, which I allow them to work on in the sessions, so they’re focused both ways.

The first time I did this, I got really positive feedback–not a single student complained about it and everyone was participating and engaged in each of their sessions!  I even had students asking if we could do this before tests!  Of course, I replied that I wouldn’t know who to make session leaders until after an assessment, but it is a good idea if I could figure out that and some of the details.  I don’t want to over-kill on the sessions otherwise students might start to get bored of them.

Lastly, I give 50 participation points to the session leaders, so even the shy students really want to do it.  I try to choose students who did well on a specific topic, but who also did well overall.  The reason for the “overall” is because these are the students who least need to attend other sessions, which is important.  If it is close, I also go for the student who is less likely to get the chance to lead sessions, hence why I had two students who were session leaders last time who are actually doing really poorly overall in class, but happened to do decently well on a test.  I am hoping it will motivate them to study harder in the future and to see themselves as having the ability to do well in Chemistry.

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5 Comments

Filed under Teaching

5 responses to “Sessions!

  1. I”m so glad you liked the idea. I love your modifications and will definitly steal them. I used to hate the day after a test, but now I love it. I try to find every opportunity to make the students the teachers in the class. It helps them understand the concepts at a deeper level. Great blog! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Pingback: Student Feedback: Haha | Hilbert's Hotel

  3. I’ve been stalking your blog since viewing the global math session when you shared about participation points. I love this idea and can totally see it working in my middle school math classes. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Pingback: Quiz Corrections | Hilbert's Hotel

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