Monday, September 3, 2012

#Made4Math September 3, 2012 Learning Prompt Poster

If you read my last post, you saw how much I enjoyed reading Dylan Wiliam's book, Embedded Formative Assessment.  Here is one of the many ideas I adapted from the book:

I like to give exit tickets and typically, they are of the form, "solve this problem".  I figured that this was the best way to know what was going on in their head.  I instructed my students to show all of their work in order for me to know exactly what they know.  

Dylan Wiliam has the following prompts listed in his book (He had 9, I picked my favorite 8).  My first thought was that this is a bit of a waste of time, because if I ask these questions, I won't know if they know how to solve the problem I just taught.  WRONG!

My #Made4Math this week is my Learning Log Prompts Poster.  We have a poster-maker in our school and I have this hanging in the front of my room if ever I want to have the students write about a particular lesson.  This poster is 2 feet x 3 feet.  It's difficult to tell it's size in this photo.

I found that my students were very honest with me.  I didn't need to see them solve a problem to know if they knew what they were doing, they came right out and told me in black and white.  

The first outcome that I teach in pre-calc is Complex Numbers.  On that particular day we were reviewing (at least I assumed it was a review) how to add, subtract, and multiply Complex Numbers.  At the end of the lesson, I asked the student to pick one of the eight prompts and respond.  Here are a few of the comments that I received:

"After this lesson, I feel confused because I didn't really understand it."

"Today I learned the standard form of complex numbers."

"Today I learned that i^2 = -1.  I didn't know that."

"Today I learned the box method from (little Suzy)."

"After this lesson, I feel confident in knowing how to add, subtract, and multiply complex numbers."

"After this lesson, I feel...kind of bored."

"I was surprised by the fact that I remembered this lesson."

"I might have gotten more from this lesson...if we covered more material."

"After this lesson, I feel even more confident about my math skills and it's feeding my ego."

"I was surprised by how much I forgot over the summer."

Without doing this, I never would have known that about 5 of my students didn't know (remember) that i^2 = -1.  The next day we had a discussion as to why i^2 = -1.  This way, not only do I know if the students can solve the problem, but I know who is bored with it, and who is slightly challenged by it.  Getting the right answer, never would have given me that information.  I also like that students were learning new things from each other.  Little Suzy uses a 2x2 table to multiply binomials.  This way she doesn't miss any of the 4 terms, nor does she repeat a product by accident.  

One thing that the book recommends is to give the students choices.  With this poster, the students are allowed to choose which writing prompt they wish to respond to.  

1 comment:

  1. I like the idea of making this into a poster a lot. It's similar to the powerpoint of summary questions I made but more accessible. Do you then have students put their summary sheets in colored folders based on their understanding- red 'don't get it' yellow 'halfway there' green 'totally understand'?