The new teacher orientation continues, and today we got to be with our curriculum people. This was awesome because math teachers are way awesomer than all the other subject people. :p
Only a few quick take-aways because I’ve got to get to bed.
Formative Assessment Ideas
First off, confession: I realized today that I use “formative assessment activities” as “review games”. But they shouldn’t be–they should change my teaching if students don’t get it. So I hope to improve that. With that out of the way, a few ideas I heard today.
My Favorite NO
Students do tickets out and I struggle to actually look at them. However, an idea someone shared was I could look at them, sort them, and pick out “my favorite wrong answer”. Then, the next day, show it to everyone and see if they can figure out why I like it so much. At the very least it could generate discussion about mistakes and how you can learn from them, etc.
Every student receives a question on a green tiny sheet (note-card size). Once they answer it, they bring it to the front and I check to see if it’s right. If they got it right, they get the “next level” question (yellow, or whatever color you want!). Then if they get that right, they bring that up and get the next one/color (red in the example).
You can check at a glance where everyone is (anyone stuck on green or yellow?). It’s called “Raffle” because you can choose a winner by choosing one green, one yellow, and one red. Students want to work their way up to red (more difficult) because there’ll be a higher chance of them winning whatever you raffle (candy is all I’ve got now. Actually, I need to go buy some before school starts…)
There’s instant differentation with this idea–I like it a lot!
You don’t want to make it too easy otherwise there’ll be a “line” for you checking to see if they’re right. You can overcome this on simple problems by giving a few rather than just one problem.
We learned about the benchmark tests, end of year tests, and other places to find resources. The district has done a great job consolidating resources into one place on a given topic. I’ll be using it a lot this year!
I’m glad that the district recognizes the importance of having teachers of similar subjects get together. Personally, I found myself needing to walk a line of showing what I know and learning from others. I can get into the “I know so much, look at how great a teacher I am” mode, which ironically makes me a worse teacher because I cease to learn when I’m in that mindset. Instead, I should focus on how I can grow as a teacher, regardless of my surroundings, and these are very good surroundings in which to grow!