Good end

Happy spring break!

I felt like both my courses ended on such a good note today.

At the beginning of the semester, I proposed to my precalc team as well as my principal that we scrap our traditional third quarter test and instead do a full-length (math portions) SAT. Everyone was on-board immediately: most of our precalc kids are juniors and will all be taking the SAT at school next month.

I was dead set on making the kids an appropriate review. “I want it to mirror whatever test we give them,” I said.

After working for about two hours on said review during a PD day with a colleague we finally decided to scrap the notion of making our own.

Instead, the kids spent three days working one full-length test both on their own and together (20-30 min of quiet, individual time; 15 min of collaboration; 15 min of giving answers/taking questions). And then they spent two days taking another full-length test on their own for a grade. We came up with a curve that we felt was fair (no one could make below a 75), and then held our breaths hoping we didn’t just waste five days of instructional time. Actually six: because today we spent the whole day analyzing their results.

Grading them yesterday made me so proud. I was both proud of them for performing so well and proud of us as a team of teachers for carving this time out for our kids.

One of my students said, “Talking these through on the practice days really helped me. I jumped 100 points from my PSAT.” (What.)

Another: “This is so helpful.”

And yet another: “Will we do this again next quarter??”

So. Validating.

Our crazy ideas don’t always work. But when they do—watch out…because there’s usually more where that came from.


My calc kids will be taking a review quiz every Friday from here basically until the AP Exam. Every year, this means no more One Good Thing Fridays. I didn’t feel that was acceptable this year, so I took a cue from Greta and made it a quiz question.

I’ve never read my kids’ OGT before. Most had to do with spring break (rightfully so). Some were deeply personal and genuine. And some made me laugh out loud (Reason Number 4829 why I can never stop working with teenagers).

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