Tuesday, March 26, 2013

(Lack of) Practice and the SBG Blues

State tests were 2 weeks ago. Spring Break is approaching. It must be time for students to start to get lazy...

I gave my assessment today on graphing logarithmic functions and properties of logarithms. I gave 3 practice days in class - more than I had anticipated giving. We had an unexpected snow day on Friday, which is when I had originally planning on giving the assessment. As I was circulating around the classroom as students practiced on Wednesday and Thursday last week, it was obvious that students had not done a whole lot of practice. Two weeks ago was state test week so we were on a goofy schedule. I still taught. With the exception of the one practice set, I suspect that students didn't do a whole lot of practice. I know they did one since there was time in class for them to work on it.

My higher ability/motivated students did pretty well. They almost always do. They prepared for their assessment, albeit in some cases at the last minute. However, most students did not put in the practice time they should have prior to review time. To add to this, the end of the grading period is tomorrow. I had several students telling me today that they wanted to reassess on previous learning targets. They have known for a week that the deadline is tomorrow. I am not expecting many of those students to do well.

Why, oh why, do students put off preparations? Why do they choose not to practice (well, I somewhat know that answer - Sam eloquently blogged recently about it)? How do you differentiate in math class when part of the issue is that students don't know what they are doing because they don't practice? I know I have more questions but the bottom line is that right now I don't have any answers and this frustrates me.

What Emily blogged about as far as no longer doing homework intrigues me. Not sure if I'm ready to go there though. Part of my concern is making sure that students do get enough practice. How much is enough? 5 problems? 10 problems? 2 problems?

I just have so many questions and no answers. I think part of what has shook me about this assessment is that I felt I taught the material well and it is obvious that the students didn't learn it as well as I thought. Is the goofy week of state testing to blame? Did I not do as good of a job as I thought I did? Is it on me or my students? Is because Spring Break starts at the end of the day tomorrow?

I am sure there are some things I can do better. I am not doing formative assessment like I should. I need to incorporate it much better into my routine. I am confident that being an EnCoMPASS Fellow beginning this summer will help me to improve as a teacher, however, that doesn't help me at the moment. Let's just say that I definitely need Spring Break, even if it's only from Thursday through Monday. I need the time to regroup. Maybe I'll get some answers between now and the end of break. In the meantime, I'll continue to ponder.

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