I wanted to give a midterm to my students, so I create an itslearning lesson that would allow the students to work through some review material with a deadline of taking the midterm being today, Thursday, Valentine's Day.
A group of my students (the top 30%) rock and rolled through the review topics and either took the midterm on Tuesday or Wednesday.
My middle 30% did a couple topics each day in preparation for today's midterm, while the bottom 30-40% wasted their classtime and didn't take advantage of any opportunities such as homeroom or study hall to get the work done.
What is severely lacking here? One word:
The students bombarded me with question after question on the midterm - and it would be one thing if the questions were quality questions, but many were not. Frustrating to say the least.
Now, I also put some of the Reponsibility on me. I created the learning opportunities, but as many teachers find out, many of them are geared for the top 30% to be successful while the rest flounder. Many of the students felt that because they completed the assigned problems (with help from peers/teacher) that equaled understanding (mastery) - so I pick you up, throw you over a hurdle and you want me to call you a hurdler now!?!?! Doesn't make sense . . . and doesn't make sense in my math class either. But that's what I saw this week.
So, it's back to the drawing board! Things I am pondering:
- Forget pampering to the crowd and let the top 30% roll baby roll!
- Create a checklist of topics that must be completed by the end of the quarter. Already mastered those topics? Well, then, begin on the next topics in the next quarter. Why not?
- Ask students: Are you ready to take the assessment? Can you show me that you understand the material? - maybe those two questions become the assessment. The student must create some type of "display of understanding".
- I can make practice assessments (checkpoints) that students can then use as "reference points" for showing understanding.
- Understanding - that's what I want for my students.
- Rather than me tell them to be ready by a certain time . . . the student decides - I am ready!
- But, what if they're never ready? What do I do then?
- itslearning - it's on the internet . . . how can I get my students to begin accessing material outside of class? Students could have completed the review material in one day if they worked in class and at home . . . questions? easy, email me and we can have a digital conversation about the material.
- Hand holding: Do I do too much hand holding? It's not fair to me and it's not fair to the students. But I love success . . . but at what price?
- I will be a Champion with itslearning.