Friday, May 17, 2013

Weekly Class Summary: May 13-17

SOLs Covered All Math 7
Math Dictionary Sections:  All Sections
Upcoming Assessments:  SOL Mini Quiz #5 (Mon. 5/20); Math 7 SOL Test (Tues. 5/28-Thurs. 5/30)

Students took the fourth mini SOL quiz on Monday and for most kids, this got them to at least the second reward mark and a few have already made it to the third!  The first little treats were Aloha Coins made of bubble gum, the second treats were glitter Hawaiian temporary tattoos, and the third treats were Hawaiian leis.  All of the quizzes have been added to a chart in the classroom that allows the students to keep track of their progress and gauge how close they are to a passing SOL score, hopefully pushing them to try just a little bit harder and study just a little bit more than they would otherwise.  The fifth and final quiz will be taken next Monday, which when added to the other quizzes will be equivalent to one SOL simulation test.  Students have not been allowed to complete error analyses on these quizzes nor the simulation test itself since they are supposed to emulate the SOLs, which would not allow for corrections after submission.  To compensate for this, students were given an extra credit booklet that when completed can be added to the quiz category to help improve their grades for this final stretch.  Students looking to improve their grade for the test category can complete assignments for extra credit, which will also help them prepare for the SOLs.

The rest of the week, students got to work on their math gaming review/homework in class as I was able to snag one of the netbook carts for the week.  While the netbooks are not the latest and greatest form of technology, the students seemed to really enjoy the opportunity to continue the gaming they started last week.  You could see obvious signs that students who had previously felt discouraged about their math abilities started gaining confidence.  One student even posted to our class Edmodo page about how proud of himself he was for doing well on something math related and several others sent words of encouragement and praise, which needless to say made me an incredibly proud teacher!  We are currently part of a MangaHigh competition with another school (MangaHigh calls it a "Fai-To") and we are in the lead!  I encourage students to continue their gaming (which again is helping review for the SOLs) throughout the weekend since we've almost beaten the other school and don't want to lose our lead!  We've also risen significantly in our ranking on the leaderboard and at this minute are ranked 55th in the country, which I think is pretty awesome considering my classes are the only ones signed up from our school as well as the fact that there are thousands of schools that use this site.  On top of MangaHigh, I encourage students to review with our other sites as well.

Elizabeth Davis Middle on
I spent time conferencing with students one-on-one Friday to go over their simulation results and discuss what areas they should focus their outside-school review time.  The only class for which I was unable to conference with each student was my last block (7/8) due to the shortened block and the fact that many of the students made it to class late from taking their reading SOL test; I will meet with those students on Monday.  During my mini-conferences, I gave students a letter to give to their parents that explain the simulation test and how parents and guardians can help their child prepare for the big test.  Attached to the letter is a student feedback form that tells students the topic of each of question they missed along with a LearnZillion video quick code (hyperlinked through the electronic copy of the form) that reviews the topic.  I ask that parents sign and return the bottom portion of the letter so I know it's been seen.  Students should then keep the letter and feedback form in their SOL review folder so they easily reference their personal areas of weakness; if parents would like a copy of the letter it can be found in the usual online locations (Edline, Edmodo, and here).

We're heading into the final stretch, so students need to buckle down and commit to their review.  SOL testing for my classes will be Tuesday, May 28th (Block 1/2), Wednesday, May 29th (Block 5/6), and Thursday, May 30th (Block 7/8).  I have faith in each of my students and I am so proud of how far they have come this year.  We'll continue our in class review, though a bit more "old school" as we will not be on the computers next week, but I hope students spend time this weekend continuing on their own.

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