Quizzes and good things

More great scores from PreCalc’s unit circle quiz today!  I post each hour’s average on the board while they take these assessments at the start of each class for eight consecutive classes.  I had a couple calc students look at the averages today and comment on how high they were!  That’s right, folks!

*****

Calculus had their first “quiz” today.  This is my third year teaching AP and my third year not taking the quizzes for a grade.  The goal is simply formative feedback for the students so that they can pause mid-chapter and see what they know/don’t know.  However, this year, I am requiring corrections two school days after the quiz.  (Yeah, it took me three years to think of this.)  For the last 10-15 minutes of class, I would always show the answers and have kids correct.  But, I just felt like this time kids were so much more intentional about their corrections and really trying to help each other.  I wish I didn’t have to tie a grade to assignments and assessments to make them work the way I want them to work, but I do.  And this feels like it will be a good compromise.

*****

Also on quiz days in calc, I have my kids write their own “one good thing.”  Since this was the first quiz day, I explained to them how (in my opinion) a heart of gratitude is something we have to develop in ourselves, and one way I do that is to write down something good that happens at school every day.  I pointed out my classroom poster that says, “Every day may not be good, but there’s at least one good thing in every day.”  As I was explaining this, I saw so many sweet little nods.  I asked them to turn to the very back page of their notebooks and start a “one good thing” page, just for them.  Each quiz day, we’ll add on to this page.

They could have looked at me like, “You want us to do what?”  But, no.  They quickly got to writing their one good thing.  And–even though I don’t read them–witnessing this always makes me so happy.

*****

My Intermediate Algebra class has been a little rough this week.  Some of the kids just need constant supervision because of behavior or lack of skills or both.  And it’s draining.  And the class just keeps growing.  So, I really have to search for the good in that class, and I think it’s really important that I keep trying to find at least “one good thing” in that hour.

Today, one of my kids (who works hard but typically has a lot of questions) said that the assignment was actually pretty easy for him (this surprised me because it was on word problems *cue horror music*).  “Actually, it was pretty fun!” he decided.

Bless you, child.  I needed that today.

*****

Also in Intermediate today I asked a kid to stay after school for a little while.

“Why?” was the obvious question. 

“I think you know why, but if not, you’ll find out after school.”

My co-teacher and I have had such a problem with this boy’s phone addiction. It’s probably the worst I’ve ever seen. 

After pleas every single day from both of us, I decided we needed to bring Mom into the discussion. I called his mom, introduced myself, and then had the kid tell his mom what the issue was. 

We came to a decision, all three of us (mostly Mom, though, let’s be honest). I explained to the mom that he was a great kid, but he’s already a year behind in credits, so he couldn’t really afford to fail this class, too. I told him I was doing this for his best interest, not because I was out to get him. 

We hung up the phone, and I told him he could leave for the day. As he exited, he said, “Bye, Mrs. Peterson. Hope you have a good day.” I swear to you, it was as sincere as ever. 

No, discipline does not always run his magically in my classroom. But when it does, it’s worth celebrating the kid who chooses to respond maturely. Now, let’s see how the rest of the year goes. šŸ˜‰

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