In the first class (of the double period) I asked for clarifying questions from the notes, homework, worksheets and activities that we have discussed over the past two weeks. We went over several examples and I asked them questions meant to push their thinking beyond what we had covered and into the realm of understanding instead of just remembering.
The test I designed had these things in mind.
I don't normally design my own tests and I consider that a major shortcoming of my assessment strategy. I designed this one. I picked questions that cover both mechanical and conceptual understanding.
I asked very few questions like ones in the book and many more practical application. The test started with the questions "In your own words, what is slope?" and "What things do we need to know to find the slope of a line?"
Since I've been drilling them on proper language, the majority of the students used the phrases "vertical change" and "horizontal change." A few even wrote "delta y" and "delta x."
I allowed them to use their notes and those who have been paying attention and taking good notes, did MARKEDLY better than those who haven't. I'm hoping that I can use this as leverage to show them that note-taking can be very beneficial.
My geometry students missed me. When class started today, several of them cornered me at the door and had a group hug. I missed them as well.
During my professional development yesterday, I had several tweets from them about what was happening in my absence.
@JustinAion we found our own problem. 😂👌👏 pic.twitter.com/MA4bsSYbAh<
— tiny spawn of satan (@oanhonguyen) December 11, 2014
I could not have been more proud of them.
They asked for more challenging problems today and I am not one to deny them a challenge.
This was a fantastic end to a pretty awful week. I am eternally grateful to my students, both current and previous, for reminding me why I teach.
"I allowed them to use their notes and those who have been paying attention and taking good notes, did MARKEDLY better than those who haven't. I'm hoping that I can use this as leverage to show them that note-taking can be very beneficial."ReplyDelete
I am one of two geometry teachers at my school. My note-taking strategy: When students ask if they should take notes on a particular topic, I remind the class that they're adults and should be taking notes of their own accord. I emphasize my personal attitude towards notes (they're very important, but only if they're self-motivated, selected, and filtered). The other teacher walks around the room and makes sure everyone is taking notes, and gives them demerits if they're not.
During quizzes, I allow students to use their notes; during tests, they may use a single-sheet study guide that I provide them, along with anything they've written on that study guide. The other teacher does not allow them to use any materials whatsoever on their tests.
I'm beginning to think that I need to do more formal oversight on the note-taking process, but at the same time I continue to contend that telling students exactly what to write down at all points (not what you do, but what I understand many teachers do) is counterproductive.
Thank you for your comments! I should point out that the note-taking thing is only in my Math 8 class. With 8th graders in geometry, I take the same tack that you do. I tell them that I expect they are mature enough to know what they need to write down. In addition, the high school teachers for geometry have developed guided note packets that we use for consistency.
With the note for Math 8, I also agree. I don't want to pigeon-hole them into one specific type of note-taking, but I think MY style of notes is better than NO style of notes. I'm using them as a structured way to teach them how to take notes and we will, after christmas break, have some discussions about which parts they found valuable so they can branch out and do what works for them.