Assessment and Management Rolled
into One! Nancy Powell
The year is progressing nicely but now that students know each other
better, their talking is starting to become a problem. Your students
seem to be a bit too social and you feel as if you are losing valuable
class time at the beginning of the hour trying to get their attention
and getting started. Does this sound familiar? If so, read on….
As educators, we have a need to know
what students have learned and what they still need help
learning. As always and even more in the last few years,
assessment seems to be a huge focus no matter what classroom
you’re in. So, why not kill two birds with one stone?
At the beginning of the hour, have 1-10 questions for students
to answer. The questions might be review questions, questions
from their homework, quick definitions, or a personal reflection
on a concept or something you are studying. You can put
them up on the overhead, on paper to pass out as students
enter the classroom, or on the board. Allowing them use
their notebooks sometimes encourages them to take notes,
do homework, and become more organized. Those are good
study skills that should be encouraged and rewarded from
time to time. The questions should take about 5 minutes
to complete. Let students know that they only have 5 minutes
to complete them to encourage them to get right to work
completing the task. Talking seems to disappear at the
beginning of class without you having to say a thing, especially
if you circulate amongst them while they are completing
the task that was set up for them. If you notice that they
need more time and you can allow them to take more time,
you can always grant them more time. However, don't do
that very often or students will work that to their benefit
and it will be frustrating for you. Then you've only turned
one frustration into another.
Then, depending on the intent of the
problems, pick them up to read and react to/grade or have
students "trade and grade" the papers for instant
feedback and a quick review. If students grade each other’s
papers, they sign their names at the bottom so that if
the owner of the paper has any questions before they are
turned in, they know with whom to talk with. Don't have
them read their scores out loud since it will cause someone,
maybe someone very vulnerable to become chastised or embarrassed.
Respect and accountability are the characteristics of the
positive classroom management game!
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