Month: December 2012

SBG Update

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I jumped with both feet into SBG with my Algebra 2 classes this year.  The first ten weeks I had a student teacher to help with some of the flow of students.  I have been doing it by myself for the last 5 weeks.  It is definitely time for some reflection…

  • I love that students are able to clearly identify what they know and what they are struggling with.  I love that students are able to redo their quizzes until they are happy with their grade.  I LOVE that students are able to see correlation between staying after and doing corrections and success on the subsequent test.
  • Some teachers who are considering making the move to SBG are worried that it will be a bookkeeping nightmare.  I have not found that to be the case.  In our gradebook software, I am able to enter the best grade, while putting in a comment of when they attempted a correction and what the previous grade was.  This method has worked well for me.
  • I have started making two versions of every quiz so that I always have make-up problems ready to go.  This has been way easier than trying to make up problems on the fly.  I have created a folder for each quiz. In that folder I have created folders for each topic on that quiz.  In that folder I have created documents with the individual make-up problems.  This has worked to keep me organized.

One reason that I am an advocate for SBG is that I think it has great potential to not only strengthen the mathematic ability of the students, but to make them better students.  My students (and I don’t think I am alone here) sometimes get in a funk when they start asking the “when am I ever going to use this” rant.  I get on my soapbox and tell them that school is more than learning a book of facts.  That students need to learn work ethic, perseverance, responsibility, and dedication.  I think that SBG has the possibility to reinforce these skills.  I have been hitting some roadblocks, however, that I am looking to remedy after the holiday break.

  • First, I created a google form and have a link to it from my webpage so that students can easily “sign up” to come in and make up a quiz.  It would make it infinitely easier on me if I knew who was coming in on any given day/period so that I could be prepared for them.  As a whole, my students refuse to sign up.  The new librarian requires the students to sign up in the same manner if they want to go to the library.  She stuck to her guns during the first few weeks of school and even though there was a lot of stubbornness in the beginning, the students sign up without any problems now.  I think I may have to be the meanie and not let them stay after unless they have signed up for the first few weeks after break to really get the message across.  I should probably take this up with the department head and the principal first….
  • Some of my students are messing the flow of correct the problem you get wrong, do a similar problem to show that you understand, and then get graded on the new problem.  Some of them think they can sneak through without correcting the problem. This never works, but it bothers me that they sill try.  Others seem to think that just by doing the make-up problem they automatically get full credit.
  • Finally, I need to create an environment after school that is quiz like.  They should not be getting help from friends on these make-up problems.  I want to see what they know.  I want them to prove to me that they know how to do the topic if they want their points.

This sounds kind of negative, but trust me, that is unintended.  I have also seen the wonders of SBG.  One of my students got a 30 on a quiz before a test.  He came in afterschool, did all of his corrections.  Asked questions when he did not understand something.  He did make-up problems and raised his grade to a 95.  He then took a test and earned a 97 on his unit test.  Success.  Another student had taken a quiz and then come in afterschool and made up one of the topics.  In the next unit we had to use the skill that she had stayed afterschool to go over and she was able to explain it to her group.  They all looked amazed and she just glowed and said, “I know how to do it because I stayed after and made up my quiz.”  Success.  The very concept of SBG works.  It is just up to me to tweak it so that it works for me and my students.