Thursday, April 25, 2013

Shuffle Quiz

We're in the midst of CST prep. I am bored. CST review is this weird game of picking out specific skills/topics not because they're important so much as they can be quickly recalled and practiced back to fluency.

Right now I'm leaning heavily on shuffle quizzes for my skills practice.

The basic idea is the students get a set of problems and work on them together. At spaced intervals a group member raises his/her hand and I come over. I take their papers and shuffle them up. Whoever gets their paper pulled gets asked the questions for the group. I ask the questions at the bottom and sign off when they can move on.

The only thing I did differently in these examples is that instead of everyone working the same problem, each member in a group of four was assigned a specific problem. (seat 1 did problem 1, seat 2 problem 2, etc). They split the big whiteboard into quarters and worked the problems. They took turns explaining and checking and then call me over. If this answers aren't correct I let them know and come back later. When they are working different problems I usually just ask for one problem to be explained but it's never their own.

Some use notes:

  1. These questions are pretty plain vanilla to emulate the glory of the CST but I've used this strategy for more interesting questions. The more difficult the problem, the more students are assigned. When I went to see Complex Instruction at Mission HS, the teachers used this strategy for nearly all of the group work. 
  2. It's a bit of an art to balance how many consecutive problems students should try before I need to be called over. Too many problems and students go too long without checking in. Too few and I can't sit with any one group long enough and other groups are just waiting around. For reference, my typical class is 8 groups of 4. For the density/Archimedes one the pacing ended up a bit quick but just barely. Next year I'd probably eliminate the first checkpoint because the first two sets are straight plug and chug but keep the last check point. For the graphing practice it was about right. 
  3. Since this is review, I tried to cluster them into similar problem types.
  4. This year I used A/B/C/Redo but in previous years I've done a sign off with no score or plus/check/minus. I don't have a preference. Generally I just tell them I'll come back later if a student clearly isn't prepared. 
  5. I've signed each paper and also just signed the one and had students staple them all together. Again, no preference. 

Here are some sample pics:

Notes: Graph A is the top right from this angle, Graph B is the top left, and Graph C is the bottom right. For the FBD scenario, we watched the clip on youtube earlier.

I don't know why speed-time graphs are so much more difficult for my students. I assume it's because I present position-time graphs first and they get locked in. Or maybe it's just easier to visualize changing position than changing speed. If you have any insights I'd love to hear them.