Sunday, March 23, 2014


You may be wondering why I haven't been posting much here.  I still hope and plan to get back to posting regularly, but I got invited to be part of a collaborative secondary blog, and have been posting there.  Its a bit too much right now to do both.  But once things settle down, I promise I will be back to posting regularly here!

In the meantime, check out the collaborative blog.  I am really excited about it.  We have an excellent group of secondary teachers, in diverse subject areas that are posting about strategies and projects useful across many subject areas.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Use Socrative For Colorful and Innovative Analysis and Test Prep

I don't  know if you are in a state that has Regents exams, or if you are in a state that has other state exams instead.

Here in NY, we have Regents exams.  They are exams given at the end of the course, in most high school courses, and passing a certain number of them in each content area is a graduation requirement.

I teach in an urban district, where the passing rates are fairly low.  I am always looking for ways to help students be successful on those tests.  I have tried many other things (which I may write about in other posts).

A colleague and I are trying a new strategy now.  Here is our plan (really, it was my colleague's plan first, and then I have adpated to my class):

 - Analyze the past few years Regents exams, correlate them to the NYS standards, to determine which topics are the most heavily tests, and what those test questions look like.  In other words, which standards are emphasized on the exams, and how are those standards translated into test questions. 
- Starting about now, give students weekly 10 question quizzes.  The quizzes will be made out of the most commonly tested standards.  

- As students get questions right, the quizzes will adapt to include the next most commonly asked questions.
- The quizzes are being done on  This allows me to add an explanation to the questions.  Students can take the quiz, know immediately how they did, and as they see their answer, see an explanation of why the correct answer is correct.  I am encouraging them to take  notes, and study those notes.  If they are getting questions wrong, there is a good chance that they will see the same questions next week.

- As I see a question that the class as a whole is not progressing on, I can go back and target that for a quick 'intervention.' 

So far, students are enthusiastic.  One of my top students even said "So we are starting review now?!"  
Me: "Yes, a little bit of review"
Student: "That's a good idea, then when we get to June it won't be so overwhelming!"

That's the idea.  Those students who advance faster through, will get more review, but those who advance slower will still review and hopefully "get" the most commonly tested concepts.

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Free Gift for You With Surprising Results

I don't know about you, but I am SOOOO sick of winter, and a little stir crazy.  And my students are too.  If you are tired of hammering on routines and expectations, this might be one way to break up the monotony.

They can help monitor themselves and each other.  I have had really good, honest, team-building responses by using this teamwork checklist

Classroom freebies
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