In June, I had blogged about something I thought may work in my class as far as getting feedback to students on their homework. I decided I was going to try it Friday after I gave my first practice problems. As I was getting it ready, it dawned on me that there would be students who wouldn't have completed the assignment. Rather than doing the whole sheet that Hedge did, I added a line at the bottom: I did not do practice problems because ________________. Here's the page I handed my students Friday (2 to a page);
These were the directions I left on the SMART Board for them:
Some students did actually give me the problem and the work. A lot just gave me the answer (some with problem numbers). I have redone the sheet below (this one is for Monday):Warm UpPlease pick up a half sheet of paper from the stool and copy your work from your paper onto it as directed. Please hand it to me when you are finished.Once you have done that, begin checking with your neighbors to see if you got the same answers on the problems you attempted. If you didn't, figure out what the correct answer should be. The rule here is ask three before me: ask three other students before raising your hand to ask me for help. You have 10 minutes to complete these two tasks. Thanks!
Overall, I was pleased with what I saw. Most students were able to successfully complete a problem. Even on the feedback problem, most had made good progress. However, there were several who did not give me much to give them feedback on. Obviously, we will talk about this on Monday.
The most disappointing thing to me was the number of students who did not attempt the practice at all. Of the reasons I got, most of them really seemed like excuses. The majority of the students who did not attempt the homework are my juniors and both my seniors. This concerns me for three reasons:
1) I know these are my students who have historically struggled with math. I have had most of them now three times - as 7th graders, as freshmen in Math 1, and now. These problems are problems they should have seen before and had some idea of how to start.
2) Almost all of these students have at least one study hall and in some cases, two. Why aren't they doing the work in study hall? (We had to cut staff and we have very few electives. Almost every kid has at least one study hall.) When I walked passed 7th period Study Hall any day last week, the students were talking and not many were working. How come they aren't using this time?
3) Some of these students are mentors to our freshmen in a program called Freshmen Focus. If they aren't willing to try practice problems because they had practice or it was a nice day, what kind of message are they going to send to our freshmen?
So, here are the reasons I got: I did not do practice problems because:
- I feel comfortable with the LT and didn't feel I needed to. (2 times)
- I had cross country practice. Then I had to be judge for volleyball.
- I was absent, sick in bed.
- My mom wouldn't let me do my homework.
- I didn't know how to do the problems past 2.
- I had practice after school and I forgot to do it.
- I wasn't sure where my points on the graph were to go. I attempted, but it didn't seem right.
- I don't know where it is.
- I forgot. It was in my folder.
- I forgot my binder in school. (5 times)
- I don't understand how to do it.
- I need a little feedback.
- I don't understand math. (2 times)
- I think they are unneeded.
- I think I need more examples.
- I have no time after school to do them. It's either be dog tired everyday or go to sleep.
- I really didn't feel like doing it yesterday since it was nice out.
- I didn't want to get them all wrong and then have to erase the whole thing.
- I don't have a graphing calculator at the moment, so it was more difficult without it. I don't really understand.
- It was nice outside and I chose to go riding than to do my homework.
- I kept getting stuck on the decimal part. The ones that where were the answers turn into decimals.
- I went to look at a truck.
- We had talked about how Math is not a spectator sport - some of you are already starting out on the sidelines. Good habits start early and it's time to form them now.
- How many of you have at least one study hall? (show of hands) There is NO excuse for not having 6 practice problems at least attempted when you have a 50 minute period provided in your schedule to study. Get it done.