Thursday, May 3, 2012

One Question at a Time, Please!

Usually I like to collect students' work at the end of class, look over what they need more work with, then make my plans for the next day.  The problem: Those students who make the same mistake on every problem.  If I had only noticed this with their first question, I could have redirected them.  But I didn't.  And I need to.

Here is how I modified it:  I give the students one problem at a time and the problems get progressively more challenging.  Here's how it works.  I give the students a problem and they work on it at their seats.  When they are finished they bring the problem to me.  If they are correct I hand them the next problem.  If they were incorrect, I clear up any misconceptions and send them back to their seat to make corrections.

I correct any misconceptions before they practice it the wrong way multiple times.
Students may get a little competitive and want to be the person who did the most problems.

Some students get lost in the shuffle.  I'm so busy that I don't notice if some students get past the first problem or not.
At the end of class, I don't have anything tangible as a way of knowing what they know.
Some students finish all the problems and have nothing to do.
I'm too busy!!!

Possible solutions to my cons:
Students lost in the shuffle:  One possibility is to have a chart on the board and students place a check mark next to their name when they get a problem correct.  Any thoughts here?

Any why am I so busy?  One thing I brought back with me from the conference "The person doing all the work is doing all the learning".  

Nothing Tangible:  I have the chart to see who finished and who fell behind.

Students who finish early:  The students could take over my job when they complete all the problems.

I will give this another try and see what happens.  Stay posted for an update.  Anyone try this?  Have any suggestions?


  1. Hey did you try the changes, how did they go?



    1. Oh my's been a long time since I've thought about this lesson. I did try some other things. The chart was extremely helpful...I had the students use colors to tell me how they did: green was fine, yellow was meh, and red was bad. I remember trying to have the finished students help me with handing out the problems, but they kept coming to me with questions too about the other students' work, so it made more work for me rather than helping.

    2. Haha, that sound a bit tricky! Have you retained any components of this technique in your current teaching method?

      Thanks for your reply!


      p.s., what's your name and are you on twitter? I can't find an 'about me' page on this site...


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