We’re a bit over halfway through the year here and the midterms came up for 4 of my classes. Thinking back to the line of students waiting to retake skill quizzes at the end of last semester, I decided to give the kids a two-weeks-notice to get all their retakes in for the first 6 skills of the year.
This partly goes against the grain for me. I like time being a variable. I like being able to sit down with kids and have them show me that they ‘get’ the concepts and who cares if it took them a little longer. But there is also the practical me dressed in beige and pearls with a clipboard on my shoulder saying am but mortal and having students from four classes wanting to retake skills at the end of the year because they don’t know how to not do things last minute is a Bad Idea.
Yes, it is definitely my fault for not instituting a ‘only one skill a day’ rule (though I do have the ‘you may only try this skill once today’ rule). I really need to do that next year. But then would their grades reflect their organizational ability or their mathematical knowledge? Dog, meet Tail. Tail, Dog.
Anyhoo, in the past two weeks I’ve seen a lot of my students outside of class. I’ve had great conversations and learned so much more about what THEY know based on the skills they sunk on and the skills they flew over. On the progress reports that went out a bit ago every student had a comment with what % of skill quizzes they needed to come in and work on by today. I’ve harrassed kids in class, in the halls, and over emails. My class skill chart will have a lot more blue’s on it come Monday when I get around to updating it (blue means >90% average in the class).
But better than anything, I feel like my skill grades are more accurate now. In example: expected value (skill 17): not too good. I really need to work on that unit and come up with something better for next year because it felt like a total swing-and-miss this year and their skill scores reflect that. Writing and solving permutations (14), combinations (15), and isomorphic situations (16): awesome. Need to keep that around. Possibly should add a joint skill where kids have to write/solve a situation that demands both types of counting. Needs must ponder.
At the end of the day, I have these little slips to mark what was done. These are from the last 24 hours and represent every skill retake. It’s been a good day.