Friday, October 19, 2012

I like making posters, but I don't want my room to look like poster throw-up.  When I do put up a poster, I want it to apply to material that we will use throughout the course.  I also love to play around with different fonts and different font colors, so when I do make a poster, it takes me a loooong time to design it!

Anyway, I'm rambling.  Here are 3 posters I made about solving for x when angles are complementary, supplementary, or congruent.  These come up again and again in Geometry.  I think they look pretty, so I thought I'd share.  Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Seating Chart Grading Sheet

I hate homework.  In the 9 years I have been teaching, I have done something different with homework.  Homework quizzes, collecting homework, not collecting homework, etc.  I could not figure out a good way to collect the homework, grade it, and return it in a timely manner so the students can see their mistakes and work towards corrected those mistakes.

In order to grade the homework, I created a grading sheet using my seating chart.  When an assignment is due, I pick about 5 problems (sometimes less, sometimes more) to grade.  When the students enter the classroom, they grab whiteboards, markers, and erasers.  They also get out their homework that is to be checked.  I then go through the problems I chose, asking my students to write their answer on the whiteboard.  They are to wait for me before they display their answers.

Here's how it works:

Each box represents a student.  The students name is written five times.  Each time the name is written corresponds with a different problem I am checking.  For some reason, I work bottom to top.  This means the bottom name represents the first problem to be checked.  If the student gets the problem correct, I mark out their name.  If the student gets the problem incorrect, I circle their name.  After checking each student's whiteboard, I tell the students the answer and we discuss the problem if needed.  This process continues until all chosen problems have been checked.  I assign each problem a point value, record the grades, and then file the grading sheet in my grade book.  I also use this to check whether students completed the homework for a completion grade.

Pros:  I really like this grading sheet for a couple of reasons.  It is very quick to check the students' homework.  I also can tell from the grade sheet with which problem the students struggled.  With this, I can discuss the problem in more detail.  I feel like before, when I typically graded homework paper by paper, I missed individual problem statistics.  I also like that I can keep this paper with my gradebook.  It also helps check attendance, so I can kill two birds with one stone.  

Cons:  With this, I can't check the students' mistakes since I'm just asking for the answer.  Also, I have to be sure that the students are not just looking off their neighbors' paper.  I need to walk around the room more and make sure the students have the correct assignment on their desk.  Maybe having the students switch papers would help with this problem.

What do other math teachers do?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Punch Cards

Thank goodness I'm done with graduate school!  I now have more time on my hands to post!

This year, I implemented a new system in which the students could win prizes for their test scores.  These prizes were given out based on different criteria with each test.  With one test, the students who received a 100% were given prizes.  On the next test, I gave the prizes to those students who successfully solved the two bonus questions on the test.  For the third test, I told the students that those students who increased their score from the last test would be receiving prizes.  Several students pointed out that they had received As on all of the test so far and had yet to receive a prize.  "It's not fair!" they kept saying.  After thinking about it, those students had a valid point.  So I rethought my prize system.  I had previously read Miss Calculate's blog post on her Punch Cards for behavior and liked the idea, but decided to use the Punch Cards for my prize system.

Here's the rules:

Letter Grade Increase:  2 punches
Same Letter Grade*:  1 punch
100% on test:  2 punches
No Mandatory Retakes:  1 punch

Candy or Supplies (3)
Soda (5)
Homework Pass (10)
Re-Do Lab Pass* (15)

*Must have a C or better on test to use.

You are probably wondering about the Mandatory Retakes.  Our tests are divided by target or concept with each individual target or concept receiving a grade.  For the targets or concepts the students do not receive a 70%, the students are required to retake that portion of their test until they reach 70%.  These retakes are completed during lunch.

So far, I like the punch cards.  The kids were excited about the punches.  I kept track of the number of punches so the sneaky kids couldn't rush to the nearest hobby store and purchase the same hole punch (I use a paw print for our mascot).  I also had the kids write their names on the card in case the card was lost.

Here is the link to the rules.  I have included both a PDF version and a Word document.  I love using different fonts, so I wanted you to have a nice copy with the "cool" fonts.  Here is a link to the punch cards.  I copied the cards on cardstock through our copy machine.

I'm really looking forward to seeing how this works out the rest of the semester!