Saturday, November 5, 2011

When in doubt, talk it out

So, on the last day of Unit 1, I started informally polling the students. What could be done differently? Why can't you do better on the assessments? What can I do? What can you do?

I went back to the basics.....the kids can sometimes identify problems more easily than I can (I often over think things), and getting their input and acting upon it is the best way to get their buy in.

So, some of their suggestions weren't going to work, I was not giving up on the flip. No, I was never going to give them a word bank on the quizzes. NO, not even an English word bank. (Seriously!!)

Some were  great. Yes, I would number pages in the packet so that they could find things more easily. Yes, I will move supplemental materials to the back. (Because they refuse to look at them unless absolutely necessary.) Yes, I will go back to some warm up activities. (I thought they always hated those!)

I also made my own list. Maybe instead of using activities from texts, I should take the time to use the vocabulary in the exercises. (Honestly I was kidding myself that I wouldn't have to do that). When I have conversations with the students, I have to make sure I am forcing them to use unit vocabulary. (Sure it is more fun to talk about current movies and the football game, but they need to practice their new vocabulary too.) I also thought that maybe I should make each of them a  class calendar in addition to the assignment sheet and give them some time to plan the unit and how they want to break down getting the work done.

So, I made the changes, and the kids noticed! I am in this with the students, and it's great to remember that and for them to realize that too!