Saturday, April 30, 2011

Math Assessment Without a Long Worksheet

If your school is like mine, the administrators like to see the kids discovering their own learning, working together in groups, and NOT sitting doing worksheets. I LOVE teaching this way, and wouldn't have done it any other way, but sometimes it's seems hard to assess students without a worksheet.

Well, here is something some people on my team do that you may want to try. Last week we were working on securing subtraction from numbers up to 18. Each of my lessons had a quick 5-10 minute mini-lesson talking about strategies they could use and introducing the game they would play with their table group or with a partner. Then, 3 days last week we used the last 10 minutes of math time to get out our math journals, glue in a strip of subtraction problems, then turn it in on my desk. I was able to see very quickly how they were doing with the concept. It wasn't more than 6 problems so it didn't take a while, and we were able to have a quick discussion to close the lesson.

On the other two days, they got out their math journals and wrote about the strategy they were using for subtraction and with 1 or 2 self-selected problems as an example. For example, one of my students explained how they use a number line, picked a subtraction problem, and illustrated hopping backwards on the number line in their math journal. I think it is so powerful to have them put what they are doing into words. I have noticed when they write it down or have to explain their strategy to someone, it sticks with them.

Anyway, this is just a thought. I don't feel the need to take a grade every day in math. I just take one a week. They get so much better throughout the week. Besides, shouldn't the grade reflect what they can do at the end of a unit... not what they could do after 1 or 2 days of exposure to a new concept? I don't like punishing students for a grade on the 1st or 2nd day something was introduced just because they didn't grasp it very quickly.

Here are some pictures of their math journals with a strip of problems. (Yes, it is from a worksheet that I printed... I just cut it up into about 4 or 5 pieces!)



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3 comments:

Kris said...

How great! I would much rather teach this way! Thanks for modeling it!

Mrs. Magee said...

I enjoy teaching math, but I think I will enjoy it more next year with the new standards. I hate worksheets, but sometimes you just have to use them! I wish I could go totally worksheetless but I don't know if that's totally possible! I'm going to do math journals next year though! :)
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Stephanie May said...

I do the same activity, but print the problems on address labels. They are quick to stick and there is no cutting required.
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