First Quiz

So, I have a whole bunch of shit to say about my first two weeks. Today especially. But it’s the type of shit that will require a rather specific mindset to write, and I’m not in that mindset this evening.  I will get to it this weekend.

I’m currently trying to write my first quiz, as well as the review material that goes before it. And I’m wondering how easy do I make it. I have been constantly amazed at some of the stuff first and second periods have come up with, but I know that seventh period is definitely behind (mainly because it’s a shitshow in there, but again, I can’t get into that right now).

I was planning on modeling the quiz on this great shipping truck problem, since it ties into our theme and the standards we’re working on. I already gave the kids the exact same problem but in a different setting (pitchers of water at a BBQ) during classwork, and they did well with identifying what the variables equaled, but less well with matching the functions.

This is rambling. Basically my question is, how do I review for this? I want my quiz to have two or three vocabulary questions (Give the definition) and then this task, about which I will ask them several questions to scaffold the task a bit (I’m also cutting out one of the expressions). During my review, do I give them the words we will review and have them write them down, or just have them look up other words from the Glossary and hope they remember?  Do I walk them through the classwork we did on Wednesday, albeit in a more constructive way, or do I see what they know on their own?

There are three issues. One: I was going to make this open-note if the students behaved. Two: My seventh period will not behave, and they are the ones that are behind. Three: I kind of want some kids to fail just to scare them into shaping up, but I don’t want them to fail so bad they give up. I am well aware this makes me a terrible person but I’m running out of other options in that class (plus I offer unlimited retakes if you correct your mistakes, so it’s not like a failing grade dooms the kid for life).

I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to lob them a softball that will set unrealistic expectations on difficulty moving forward, but I also don’t want to penalize them for my teaching deficiencies. It’s not their fault I didn’t explain things well the first time, or get good enough control out of the class so people could learn. I’m going to muddle about with this for a while and see what happens, but I appreciate any feedback.

*Edit: I’m using TERRIBLE math vocabulary in this post. “what the variables equaled” should be “what the variables represented.”  Ugh.


2 thoughts on “First Quiz

  1. I don’t know your specific situation or your kids, but in my case it helped a lot to make the quiz hard. I gave the quiz at the beginning of this week just covering the problem-solving process we’ve been learning, and some kids struggled as I expected them to (some still did quite well). The low grades definitely shocked a lot of kids into taking my class more seriously, and with the option of a retake (which I didn’t reveal until after they’d taken the quiz) it won’t destroy their grades or anything. It’s also been nice to enter the low grades into JupiterGrades so parents can see that their kids need to step it up.

  2. I would say be a bit on the difficult side, set the bar high…but not too high…I know that’s not clear…
    Also, in terms of reviewing, can you give them a list of like 20 words that they’ve learned so far this year (do they have a definitions page?!) and tell them that SOME of those 20 words will be on the quiz. That way they don’t know exactly which ones.

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