Geometry News

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ch. 9 Results & Moving Forward

The class split into two distinct groups on the Ch. 9 (Trig) test - those that can and those that can't. And the split has very little to do with natural ability, it's simply a measure of how much effort people are putting in. Those that continue to talk during class, goof off when working in groups, and never ask for help are getting Ds and Es. Everyone else is doing just fine.

Reassessments on Ch. 9 are due by Monday, March 5th. You must provide evidence of your progress if you hope to take a reassessment quiz (show me that you're not wasting my time).

Ch. 6 is about polygons in general and quadrilaterals in particular. The material isn't any harder or easier than anything we've encountered so far this year. If you choose to pay attention, take detailed notes, ask questions and challenge yourself, you'll do just fine. If not, you're going to quickly find yourself in a hole that becomes too deep to dig out of before June.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Chapter 4 Recap

I'm actually pretty pleased with how the new grading system is working for those students who are willing to take it seriously. As with Chapter 3, there will be a chance to demonstrate progress toward mastery on the Ch 4 Standards after break and before the final exam. You will also see those standards again on the final exam, and the main goal is to demonstrate proficiency on most of the standards by the end of the semester. The path you take to get there is less important, as long as you can do what I ask of you before the class ends.

After break we'll still be looking at triangles, but specifically right triangles and the Pythagorean Theorem. Supposedly, you all saw the P.T. in Algebra last year, but this is the #1 topic to get out of Geometry so we'll be covering it in greater depth for the next couple of weeks.

Start thinking about the final exam and what material you've struggled with over the past 4 months so you can finish strong with a solid performance on the final.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Burden of Responsibility

So we finished Ch. 3 & all of the reassessments. This was our first full unit using the new grading techniques and I think it's really paying off for those students who are putting in the effort. Sadly, only 2 students from 2nd hour bothered with reassessments to demonstrate progress toward mastery on the standards, while half of 6th hour did. Everyone who came in for a reassessment did show some improvement, whether or not the actual letter grade changed any.

To review the new grading system in a nutshell:
-I prescribe specific learning targets for each chapter called "standards"
-We work through about 2 standards for every section of the textbook
-Homework quizzes are given after instruction and a chance to practice
-Content quizzes & tests are seen as a chance to demonstrate proficiency on standards that have already been covered
-Rankings are assigned based on proficiency to help students focus their efforts on the specific standards they've struggled with
-Reassessments are offered to let students demonstrate progress

It's simple: If you're not taking good notes, reviewing your notes at home, doing the practice sets (and making sure you're doing them correctly), and giving honest consideration to my feedback and what it means, you're not going to succeed in this class. I stand by my assertion that students who put in the effort never fail my classes because they never fail to learn something.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Standards based grades

We're almost done with Chapter 3 and I want to make sure everyone (parents and students both) understand what's going on with the grades.

I'm trying something new - instead of assigning grades based on points received divided by total points, I'm trying to make a grade serve as a true indication of student mastery. For chapter 3, I wrote out 9 distinct learning goals. We generally cover 1 or 2 of the goals in a section, and we had 4 sections in chapter 3 (3.1, 3.2, 3.5, and 3.6). We had homework quizzes that assessed student progress on 7 of the 9 standards and then we had a semi-major quiz that covered those same standards.

Progress toward mastery on each standard is measured on a 4 point scale with 4 = Expert, 3 = proficient, 2 = partially proficient, and 1 = Not proficient. A letter grade of B is considered proficient on most standards and correlates to a ranking of 3. The legend is available on the "November" page at the link to "Ch. 3 Grades"

The goal here is to give students targeted information regarding their strengths and weaknesses. Hopefully, students will use this information to aid in their studying. Retakes will transform into 'reassessments' and be focused on specific standards, so students only need to spend time working on content they have struggled with.

Please email me if you have any questions.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Ch. 2 Quiz

The results of the 2.1 - 2.3 quiz were very disappointing across the board. Please remember to complete your action plan of how you are going to reach mastery and return it signed by a parent as soon as possible. By not completing an action plan, the message you are sending me is that you don't care about correcting your mistakes and making improvements going forward.

Looking ahead, the chapter 2 test will be next week. Obviously, the content covered on the quiz will reappear on the test, so you have even more incentive to learn from your mistakes and make sure you've mastered the material. Also on the test will be new material from the second half of the chapter. You MUST complete Units #5-9 in Carnegie in order for your test grade to appear in Zangle.

I will be after school on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday next week. Please come by or sign a travel pass for FLEX if you need additional help.

Friday, October 21, 2011

We can do better

Of the 70 students in my 2 geometry classes, only 11 took the time to retake the Ch. 1 Test. Of those 11, 9 improved their score. I've tried to stress how important the material we covered in Ch. 1 was to being successful in the course, and regardless of what people say, it's a person's actions that count.

Already in Ch. 2 I'm seeing a pattern of negative behavior. Many students were unable to complete a 10 question quiz in the roughly 40 minutes allotted. That doesn't mean the quiz was too long or difficult, it means that people have not yet mastered the content. I could give you days to finish a quiz, but if you don't know the material, extra time is not going to help. We need to be better at being proactive and asking for help BEFORE a quiz or a test, not relying on retakes after the fact.

As a heads up, there will be a Ch. 2 Test right after election day (a week and a half away). Don't wait too long to come see me for help.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ch. 1 Results

So, the Ch. 1 test was disappointing across the board. Please be sure to see me for extra help. Don't be concerned with the deadline of this week to take the retake. As I'll tell whoever I see at P-T Conferences tomorrow, I care more about seeing you work to overcome your mistakes than I care about deadlines.

Ch. 2 is about the basics of reasoning and proof. It might seem simple, but it's important to understanding everything else we're going to do so take it seriously.

There will be another HW Quiz on Friday covering the measurement stuff we've been talking about.

About Me

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I teach physics, astronomy, and geometry at a public high school on the border of Detroit, MI.