Thursday, October 4, 2018

Day 26: Blank Notebooks

Tomorrow, there will be another assessment and the first major graded assignment for the Algebra 2 class.  I am...nervous.

We've been hitting the material fairly hard and I know they are plenty capable, but I'm still nervous.  The kinds of questions and the pace of work that has been happening in class over the past few days leads me to believe that there are some gaps in understanding, particularly when it comes to properties of linear equations, such as slope and the y-intercept.

I have my class open before school, at lunch and during our Seminar period, which is the last 30 minutes of the day set aside for tutoring or activities.  My duty period during the school day is also tutoring when most kids have lunch.

I can't say that I've seen too many kids coming for extra help and this worries me.

The review packet was handed out on Tuesday and we've been working on it in class since then. It's due in class tomorrow and I think that the students who needed the practice the most put it off until tonight when they'll be unable to ask me questions.

Since I have the older kids this year than I have in years past, I'm being a bit more "rigorous" about my assessments and assignments.  After our first assessment, many of the kids who wanted to reassess were shocked at how much work was going to be required before they could do so.  They have to make corrections on their test and then do some more practice problems.

I am a brutal taskmaster, I know.

I don't want to be grading effort or habits, so I'm trying to find a way to incorporate those things into my assessments while putting the emphasis on the content.

I don't want to collect and grade homework unless I can give them meaningful feedback on it, but that may also have to change.  I do like the idea of having a selection of homework that's all due together, rather than spacing it out, but would spacing it out make them more likely to do it?

Does that even matter?  How do I make the homework meaningful when attempts are frequently not even made?  How do we teach them the habits they need to have the outcomes they want?

What outcomes DO they want, besides "pass the class"?  Should I set up a "mandatory seminar schedule"?

Tomorrow, before the assessments, I will be reminding them of all of the tutoring time I have available.

"The day before a test, I expect my room to be full."

I am hearing similar concerns voiced by other teachers, so perhaps we need to be working together to find a way to address this.

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