So over the past couple of classes I have been noticing that my students were struggling with some of the earlier material, so I decided to do a review unit today, covering everything that we have done thus far. However, I didn’t want to waste precious class time droning on at the board with information that they have already seen and heard once. So I decided to let them do the review themselves. I called it Review Roulette. I gave each of my six tables a different stack of sheets — each with a different topic that we have covered thus far. I then put 10 minutes on the timer and told them to get to work. Of course I walked around and assisted with any questions that arose during the time period. At the conclusion of the time period, they shifted to the next table and started fresh on a new topic. This took up the whole day, but I feel like it was necessary and beneficial.
My first two classes needed no incentive to work their butts off for me, but my last class is still caught up in the LWHTR-cycle (lecture, worksheet, homework, test, repeat) and don’t get motivated very easily. So I had to use the grade against them, which I hate to do, but I have yet to find a way to seriously get them interested. I told them they had to have 100 correct answers by the end of class (there was probably 300 questions altogether, so 100 shouldn’t have been too big of a deal). They moaned, they groaned, but they worked — at least for the first four sheets. After that I could feel their attention span slipping away; primarily because many of them had the 100 done before that point. I think next time I need to supplement it with a little bit of discussion.
Physics today took their first assessment. The test covered graphical methods and data analysis. My average on the test ended up being around a 73, but I suspect that many of the students who did poorly did so because they aren’t quite back in the groove of school yet. I do allow retakes, but do not require them in hopes that students will become more intrinsically motivated.
I also gave the students the chance to give themselves feedback on their quiz. Many students were completely stumped with what to do on this.
“We’re just supposed to grade our test”
“No, you are just giving yourself feedback for the future. I grade the test whether you write or not.”
I still got a dozen or so tests with just the answer written on them. I’m really trying to get them to transform their model of school from a place of work to a place of learning, but it’s tough. The bonus question gave them the chance to grade me. I highly recommend this to other teachers; perhaps not for points, but in general, I received great feedback.