Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Time to Start Rethinking

I am going to work on trying to blog more in shorter bursts. I guess I have tended to use this to think out loud and I have lots of stuff running around in my head.  Now that we have (finally!) gotten into the 4th nine weeks - I am starting to get caught up, just in time to head to NCTM next week in Indianapolis.  However, I have some stuff running around in my head I need to get out and if my dear readers will indulge me with some comments, I would appreciate it.

I started doing feedback problems with my Algebra 2 students at the beginning of the 3rd nine weeks after the whole midterm debacle. Basically there is a problem on the SMART Board when they come in and they work it out and hand it in. I go over the problem with them in class and write comments on their paper and hand it back the next day. I think it's worked okay - the students are engaged when they come in. I kind of get an idea of where they are at, although they tend to work on them with help rather than just on their own. I haven't decided if that's a bad thing or not. I have seen some excellent peer tutoring through the problems. Some students every day need help (some because they just have no clue and others have no clue because they didn't pay attention). It does force them to do a problem every day and that is a good thing. They still aren't doing their homework like they should and that still remains an issue.

I think I may incorporate this into my Math 1 classes next year. They definitely aren't doing their homework. I think the core issue for both classes is how do I get the students to practice problems when I am not grading them for homework. Someone had suggested in the comments of my last blog post they were having the same issue and maybe the answer becomes incorporating more in class problems. I think my students have no clue how to take notes in math class as well and, well, that's another issue I want to deal with next year.

If you aren't grading homework, how do you get students motivated to work through problems? How do you teach "note taking" in a math class? Does anyone have any good resources for either? Again, I am mostly thinking out loud here and making some notes for summer of things to work through. Thanks for your thoughts and taking the time to read this. :-)

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