Friday, February 21, 2014

Beginning to flip

Today was another "best day ever".  I've been having several of these since I made mini white boards for my students to use (I found large pieces of cardboard, white on one side, and had them laminated).  For my AP Calc students, there were expecting to take a quiz based on the concepts we learned/practiced this week.  They came to class all angst and were desperately waiting to "throw up" the content they, no doubt weakly, memorized last night onto their paper ("before I forget it" was what I heard).  I had an inkling that they had not invested time in memorizing the 3 new formulas/strategies for derivatives and integration.  Who wants to grade horrid quizzes?!  NOT ME!!  So 12 hours earlier, I devised my genius plan!!  I made a set of problems (quiz like in nature) for them to work on in groups.  Basically they were more practice problems on the 3 formulas from the week.  When students started asking questions (because they knew "something was up"), I had them write down the 3 formulas on a piece of paper with the directions "1 easy, 1 medium, and 1 hard", "10 quiz questions".  I began to explain:  they were making their own quiz, over the weekend.  For each formula they had to write 3 quiz questions, 1 for each of the levels listed.  I was very clear that they could not copy any problems from class notes or their homework, or each other, although using any of those resources could be helpful in their quiz design.  They were to make a clean copy of their quiz and then on the back of it, they were to work out the solutions.  None of the solutions should be with a calculator.  Of course students started to ask excited questions:  "could we get extra credit if we stump you?", "do we have to get our own solutions correct?", "what makes a question easy, medium or hard?", "are you really grading all of our quizzes?".  I was excited to answer their questions!!  But I was thrilled that they asked how to classify, and responded that they were going to work in their groups on "my problems" to decide how to classify.

Students proceeded to get into their assigned groups and work on the problems that I had for them.  We have now done this a few times so they know the routine (they must get approval from me to move on to the next problem in sequence).  As I checked answers, I asked group members, "was that an easy, medium or hard question?".  The interesting point is that I heard "easy" most often, a few "mediums", but RARELY a "hard" response.  At the end of class, I stated that I was worried how hard they might make their questions for me because no one seemed to think I had asked hard questions.  And yet if I had given those questions as "the quiz", I'm sure that they would have thought they were!   Learning was happening at a high level and should continue over the weekend as they write their questions!!  On Monday, they will trade and grade before I even look at them!!  More learning indeed!!  This is what I want every day to look like!!

Moving on to Statistics:  I put them into assigned groups the day before in order to have them work quiz questions.  Since they are working on Confidence Intervals and Hypothesis testing for one proportion and two proportions, the problems take a while to finish.  As they came back into class today, I said, "you know what to do".  They got right to work!  That's different! Usually there is all the shuffling and getting into their seats (sometimes after the bell rings), but not today.  They had to get approval of their work before they could put it onto their own papers.  As an addition to this quiz, I wrote on the board that they had to explain the similarities AND differences amongst the four processes that we have been working on (on the quiz).  I further stated that they might want to use an example to help me "get it" when I read their papers.  I heard students saying when they left "I get it!".  I heard students participating in class with their peers that I normally don't hear talk, and that don't normally "get it", but were explaining concepts like they were experts.  I was SO EXCITED!!  I can't wait to try this with the next topic!  Because these concepts are so detailed, it takes time for students to absorb and certainly talking and explaining speeds up that process!  LEARNING HAPPENING!!

One more fun thing today!!  My Pre Calc students had voted (after some deliberation) to move the test from yesterday to today (even though Friday is a 6 min shorter class period).  I told them that they would have to be really prepared and know what they are doing in order to finish the test with 6 mins less.  Then I thought, "wait, if they get in here during passing period, they could get some of that 6 mins back--passing period is 7 mins)".  So I suggested that to them yesterday. were RUNNING to my TAKE A TEST!!  And they seemed excited!!  I was laughing on the inside!  Best part: almost everyone finished it early and turned it in early!  LEARNING HAPPENING WITH EXCITEMENT!!

I don't wonder why I love my job!!

1 comment:

  1. Paula, Your energy and excitement for the challenge ahead is INFECTIOUS! I am really looking forward to working with you and learning from you!