Friday, April 15, 2011

Weekly Class Summary: Apr. 11-15

SOLs Covered: 6.18, 7.17&18 (New 6.14) Graphing Data & Data Analysis
Math Dictionary Sections: (26) Graphical Methods
Upcoming Assessments: Angles & Triangles Quiz (Wed. 4/27/11); "You Can Do It" SOL Review Quiz 2 (Fri. 4/29/11)
SOL Review Section: Numbers & Number Sense

The first two days of the week were taken up with our SOL simulation test. This test along with the previous benchmark tests give students a better understanding of online testing works. It also gives an idea of what students could expect to score if they took the SOL test now. Since we still have several more units to cover and are only just now getting into our big review, most students should see their potential scores increase over the coming weeks and definite improvement when they receive their final SOL score. Unfortunately, the county's online testing system is unable to support the virtual tools that students will be expected to use on the actual SOL test, thus students began practicing these tools through the ePAT Launcher software that has been loaded to all of the school's computers. This program can be downloaded to home computers from the VDOE website for further practice outside of class, which I highly recommend as they will be able to continue using the same program (needing occassional updates) for the rest of their SOL tests while attending any Virginia public school over the coming years. This will become even more crucial since the state is beginning to include non-multiple choice questions (referred to as Technology-Enhanced Items or TEI) this year to reflect changes made to the 2009 Standards of Learning (aka SOLs).

After the simulation testing was completed, we jumped right back into our statistics unit with a review and quiz. With the several simulation tests for various subjects and our first math SOL review quiz, I felt bad the students had so many assessments this week and decided to take it easy on them with this quiz. On top of all the testing, many students are still struggling with basic test-taking skills, so I used one of the library's document cameras to project a copy of the quiz to the screen. While students had their own copies in front of them, I walked them through the quiz one question at a time, showing how to properly highlight the important parts of each question and some of the work that needed to be shown. They were left to find the final answers, but all students agreed this was the easiest quiz of the year! I may try this with several of our other non-SOL review assessments over the coming week in the hopes of continuing to aid students with the much needed testing skills.

We took a little break after the quiz to take part in Poem in Your Pocket Day, part of National Poetry Month.  Students wrote math poems in whatever format and on whatever math-related topic they wanted.  Several examples can be found below.

As previously stated, students also had their first math SOL review quiz. We lovingly refer to these quizzes as the "You Can Do It" quizzes. A letter about these quizzes as well as my previous post (Spring SOL Review Season!!!) can further explain the purpose behind them, but they essentially provide the students and me with information on which areas they need to focus the majority of their study time. We'll pick up with our review as well as a few new topics after Spring Break.

Enjoy Spring Break!!! Happy Easter!!!

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