Future Reflections

5/08/2005 04:58:00 pm

My original plan when I started this blog was for this to be my "thinking out loud" space; part of my professional development. As I get caught up with other issues, like the great fun to be had at Carnivals, I find I'm not getting around to the kind of reflections I was hoping to dialogue with other teachers about. So, as a way to encourage me to "stay on task" and get help with some of the things I'm struggling with I've decided to post a list of reflections I've been meaning to blog about. Kind of like my blogging to do list. In no particular order, some future reflections I plan to get out:

  • »My students wrote the AP Calculus AB exam last Tuesday. On Tuesday we'll go over the long answer questions and I'd like to get their feedback on:
    • »Did we do enough work using our graphing calculators? Did we do enough without?
    • »We're they well enough prepared for this exam? Did I go too easy on them? too hard?
    • »What were the best learning experiences they had in our class this year? The worst? What should I do more of? less of?
  • »I love teaching but the corrections are killing me! Multiple choice questions are easy to grade, hard to make up. What would be a good balance between getting tests marked fast and giving students the opportunity to get part marks using more extended response style questions?
  • »What shape will blogging take in my classes next year?
  • »How will I adapt using our Wiki Notebook to next year's classes? Should I use the same prompts? new ones? How shall I structure the wiki for the long term?
  • »I did some great projects with my classes last semester. We haven't done any this semester. Again, the time required for corrections hangs around my neck like an albatross. There's tremendous educational value in these projects but selfishly, it takes time away from my personal life. How can I strike a better balance here?

Enough. I've got plenty to think about for the next little while....

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  1. Anonymous9/5/05 11:34

    What would be a good balance between getting tests marked fast and giving students the opportunity to get part marks using more extended response style questions?

    Oral questions can be graded quickly as well as allow students get partial credit.

    It might take a little experimentation to make the process right for your class.

  2. Tell me more. What do you mean by oral questions?

    I ask lots of questions in the course of each class. I also often have students solve problems presented on the white board to start the class. Is it these sort of questions that you're refering to? How exactly do you go about quickly grading this work in a class of 25 to 30+ students?

    If you collect their written work then it seems to me that I would just be increasing the amount of papers that I have to take home to correct.

    And here it is again; the tension between:
    (a) good educational experiences for students and
    (b) the time required for teachers to sift through and comment on their work.

  3. Anonymous10/5/05 09:09

    For instance, one might make a weekly quiz an oral quiz, where the students tell what they know about a certain subject, preferably not in front of the class (at first)

    I realize it is subjective, and many students might freak out about it, but given practice (not graded), they'll get it.

    The reason this is a good educational experience is that in everyday adult life, we are often asked to explain what we know verbally.

    I personally find these quizzes to take less time overall (kids writing + my grading later takes less time than kids talking and my grading at the same time) and they allow me to provide feedback immediately, have more facetime with students, and basically get more done.

  4. This sounds like a great learning experience for your students. How do you balance the time it takes to do this against the tremendous amount of content that has to be covered before exams? Are these "interviews" held during or outside of class time? If outside class time then what is your student's participation rate? Do they all show up?

    I can hear echoes of the tension I refered to above .... ;-)

  5. Check out my wiki at http://www.misterteacher.com/wiki/index.php/Main_Page. I have no content on it. See if it easier to add information. I'll look for it in the next few days.


  6. Anonymous11/5/05 07:48

    The questions occur one-on-one during group work. I don't cover every topic with each student. It's like showing students 5 possible topics for an exam question then only testing them on one. They understand that the quizzes aren't the only thing they're graded on, so they don't stress too much about it. It's really more of a way to know what they're learning (and how they learn) than assessment.