Walking on the sidewalks of Manchester, NH littered with newly fallen autumn leaves, I was feeling a bit anxious yesterday. Although I was super stoked to attend a teacher’s conference, I was a bit nervous for my students back in the classroom. How would they do on today’s big math assessment? As my incredibly capable co-teacher was running the show in my absence, I knew that everything would go smoothly, but still butterflies filled my tummy. I felt like a little kid up to bat at his very first tee-ball game. However, I resigned myself to thinking that I had properly prepared them for this big assessment at the end of last week. But, had I? Were they prepared? Nervous, I still learned a lot of cool new ideas from some great teachers at the NH Council for the Social Studies annual conference in Manchester, NH. Upon returning to campus from the wonderful conference, I quickly ran to my classroom like a bunny in search of carrots. I then spent my off-duty evening grading their assessments, and I was pleasantly surprised by the results. My accelerated group did quite well. One student even received a perfect score, mastering every objective covered. I was impressed. Only a few students have two objectives they struggled to demonstrate proficiency in on the assessment. Most of the students only had trouble with one objective. When I met with a few of the boys this morning regarding their assessment, they seemed to do that smack-the-forehead-a-ha-moment kind of thing as they saw the error of their ways before I even pointed anything out. That is pretty awesome. The boys I met with were all very happy with their results. Excellent.
Tomorrow is host to the the gruelling Math Assessment Redo Process in STEM class. I’m hopeful that after my students go through this laborious activity to showcase their learning and understanding of the graded objectives, they will prepare even better for our next large assessment. My redo process is based upon ideas from Rick Wormeli. The redo process, he suggests, should be arduous and time consuming so that the students will be able to showcase their ability to meet the objectives, but also help remind them of the importance of preparation prior to an assessment. Below is an explanation of my redo process.
Although I was hoping that all of my students would have demonstrated their ability to meet every graded objective on Tuesday’s assessment, I realize now that that was an unrealistic and almost impossible outcome. My boys did very well and I’m pleased with their progress. I do feel that my guided preparation helped them fare better on this first assessment than groups from years past. Last year, every student had at least two objectives they failed to showcase their learning of on the assessment. They did very poorly on the first big assessment because I did not properly and effectively prepare them. The changes I made this year in deliberately helping ready my students for the assessment made a huge difference. It’s nice to know that making specific changes based on past experiences and data does provide new and exciting outcomes. I love when the the pinball of life bounces on just the right bumper to score the most points. Yah for my students, and pinball machines!