Final Answers

Last week, my AP Statistics class took their final exam: 20 multiple choice questions and 4 free response, basically a half-AP.

I wanted to review the answers with them, especially noting some common mistakes, and also give them a chance to reflect on how it went. I’m really excited with how it went down.

Students went into their (new!) groups of 4 (new seating chart today) with a copy of each question, distributed one per person. My second class had half groups of 3 and half 4, which didn’t matter here (the ghost just got the fourth question and they passed through the ghost).

They got 2 minutes to silently answer as much as they could on the question in front of them, then passed and had two more minutes, and so on. Then they had 10 minutes as a group to come up with their best answers to all four questions. There were a ton of good discussions, both in writing before they were allowed to talk (“I got that too!” “I think its center not spread because…”) and verbally.

Once that wrapped up, I reviewed solutions and they scored their group solution. It also gave me a chance to remind them how rigorous the AP exam is–for students who are used to getting perfect scores fairly easily, the difficulty of the AP exam comes as a shock, and they have a hard time wrapping their heads around 75% correct on multiple choice being GOOD.

It was one of those periods in which I kind of felt like I wasn’t doing much, but I think it was so valuable for my students. This would even work well for a word problem (each person does one step) or explaining several different kinds of problems for a review. By the time they were allowed to talk, several students were really invested in justifying their perspective.

Have you ever tried a write-around strategy like this? Any tips for how it could go even better next time?

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Sharing is Caring: MTBoS

I’ve participated in a couple of the Missions put together by the fine folks running this fall’s Explore the MathTwitterBlogosphere.

And I’m cheating a bit, but thats ok, because its well within the spirit.

My school is four years old (or at least, will be once our seniors graduate in June), which means the majority of our staff is pretty young and inexperienced. At nine years, I have far more experience than many of my colleagues. I love sharing (its why I have a blog), and while I think it would be awesome if my colleagues all subscribed to a bunch of blogs…probably not happening.

So I started a distribution list. It began as emailing my residents cool things I saw that I thought we could use in the classes we taught together. Initially I just thought other residents might be interested, but it felt rude to only ask them, so I opened it up to the department–and a whole bunch of people were interested. (Again, almost all of the teachers in my department have less than five years experience and most are in their first or second year).

Google Readers passing this summer messed up my list for awhile, but I’m back on track with Feedly. If you’re interested in doing something similar, here’s my method:

  • Set up a googlegroup (Ok, get your more-technically-proficient-colleague to set up a googlegroup for you because you’re lame)
  • Email your department and see who wants to sign up. I explained that I usually send out a couple things a week, the text is included in the email so its very easy to read, and you don’t have to read it (I’ll never know). I aim to make it as low stress as possible because I think that encourages people to sign up. I’m also pretty open that I look for blogs that fit me, so I don’t send out a ton of geometry (I don’t teach it, so if thats all a teacher posts on I wouldn’t subscribe)
  • Subscribe to a whole bunch of blogs in Feedly.
  • Read them on your computer or your iPad. If you read it on your computer and want to share it, save it as unread because you don’t bother to set up a mail client.
  • Read something cool. Think others might be interested. Hit email on your Feedly app on your iPad and share it. Never write more than two sentences intro, and sometimes write nothing.
  • Share.

I have gotten SO MUCH positive feedback about this. I hear colleagues refer to things I sent out, people have tried these things–its awesome. And it takes very little effort on my part, a win all around.

Do you have a distribution list? How do you share?

If you’re interested in joining my list, let me know and I would be happy to sign you up.