Saturday, May 7, 2016

Thoughts on Review Math

It's the end of the year and I'm working on ways to help students review for their final.  We all know games and jeopardy are great ways to review but it relies more on those students who always know the answer?  What about the students who try not to volunteer an answer, are always quiet, who never give you a clue as to how much they actually know?  How do we arrange a review to help them prepare for the final.

One way is to create regular quizzes to assess their understanding but what about those who are regularly absent or refuse to work. How do you help them prepare for a test.   I used to give notes and then the test but this time I gave the notes, a practice test and next week students get the final.

The difference is that once students finish the practice test, I have them pair up to compare answers.  If the answers are the same, it should be correct.  If they have different answers then they need to compare their steps to see who might have made a mistake.  It was awesome!

Most students sat quietly and worked hard.  First thing they did was compare answers.  I over heard one person asking the other to "Explain what they did".  The other one started explaining and the first person showed him why there was a mistake.

I did a quick poll to see if they felt it was beneficial.  All of them said they learned something, even if it was as simple as "Watching their signs".  Others realized why they made the mistakes.  I see it as a profound learning experience.  Research does show that peer tutoring is an excellent instructional method.

This particular technique I think I'll use in my classroom next year.  I can't always take the time to do this in class but I can assign the "practice" as homework and have them go over their work in class.  At the end of class I can pass out the answers so they can check their answers at home.  I usually have students correct their tests by filling out a form with the problem they did incorrectly, the corrected problem plus a line or two on what they did wrong.  In other words, I have them do a type of error analysis because too many of my students are unable to recognize a step done incorrectly.

The use of games and jeopardy are fine but most students need that little bit extra.