Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What to do When the Projector Bulb Breaks? Don't Use It...

I float between 3 different classrooms.  All of them equipped in pretty much the same way (laptops, Promethean board, etc).  Upon arrival at my last class of the day, the teacher who is primarily in that room asked me, "How are your punting skills?"  then informed me that the projector bulb blew right in the middle of one of his Calculus lessons.

Fortunately for me on this day, my students did not need to use the board (please note the use of "my students" instead of "I" in this sentence).  So what happens?  I made a few adjustments here and there, and I have one of the best AP Stat lessons I've ever had.

The Plan
Students were assigned three "drawing" tasks, of which they could use any drawing utility they wanted to use (Paint, a Drawing in Google Docs, old fashioned pencil and paper). 
1.  Construct a tree diagram labeled with proper notation to distinguish between P(A), P(A|B), and P(A and B)

2.  Construct a tree diagram for a two-card Texas Hold 'Em hand and for two rolls of a die (illustrate the difference between independent and non-independent events)
3.  Construct 2 Venn Diagrams for drawing one card and the event that it's an Ace or a Heart and also for the event that it's an Ace or a Ten (difference between disjoint and non-disjoint events)

What Happened
I found myself sitting with each individual student, having a conversation about at least one of the topics mentioned above.  None of these conversations began with a student asking "Did I do this right?"  Most of the conversations led to one or more of the skills I had targeted with my original plan.  The students I wasn't actively talking to were talking with others, having discussions about the likelihood of getting two aces in a hand.  Another pair discussed the difference between independence and non-independence through other examples than the ones they created a tree from.

Where I'm going with this
Gradebook revamp...again...slightly.  I've been wondering how I can give more feedback and guide instruction.  After a few classes of these one-to-one(or 3) conversations, I'd like to have an accurate reflection of where each student stands with regard to the skill set we're currently learning.  I see this as a continuously updated Google doc to reflect upon conversations I've had, and students' demonstration of mastery during class.

After I put together my assessment of a student's body of work, I want to share it with them, and place something in my gradebook after I see how it fits in the scale of 1(minimal) to 5(advanced).  I've decided that this has to be done not just after an assessment, but after a consideration of a student's entire body of work.  I don't want to give a test, and have that be the lone summary of what a kid can do.  That's the old way.  I want to consider an entire body of work (tests, quizzes, projects, formative assessment, etc) then place a numeric score in my gradebook.  Yes, the last part of that sentence makes me just sigh and agree that I'm going along with the establishment, at least just a little bit.

Resources
My Probability Skills List (SBG)
Rethinking Assessment (Spencer's Scratch Pad)
What is "Bad" Teaching (Steve J. Moore)
Slideshow of the Lesson Itself

1 comment:

BnB said...

This is why we all need a little chaos. Great ideas don't frequently come from the daily routine, but from improvisation out of necessity. Cool post!