Wednesday, November 01, 2006

differentiating instruction

For my last calculus test, in both classes, I gave 3 versions of the test to the students, and I decided silently which to give to whom. I had a bulk of studetnts take the "middle of the road tests" that was challenging but doable. For my struggling kids I gave a basic straightforward "regurgatate what I taught you" test with teeny "twists". Then, for the elite "yawn, I can do this in my sleep" kiddies, I gave a 3 question super hard exam with the unspoken thought that I'd give them full credit (which they would have earned on any of the other versions) if they just put out an effort.

No one knew what I did, and as the test began I watched the "elite" faces. They looked at the test, looked at me, looked at the clock, looked back at the test, looked at me. I just smiled and made the "come on what are you waiting for" motion with my hands. They rallied forth. They didn't finish, but I quietly went around and stuck sticky notes on their tests to tell them to finish at home and turn it in the next time or whenever they finish.

Several have turned it in. A few have questions, and I gave them hints. A couple of kids have come in for tutoring and I set them to work with each other, and they fed off each other's brains. I keep reassuring them, "I wouldn't have given it to you if I didn't think you could do it". Most are doing fine. Only one kid keeps saying, "it makes me feel stupid". He's the one that was a wee bit cocky about his abilities, such as they are. Hopefully, he'll step up to the plate.

No other news. Except a ton of kids come after school for tutoring. I provide snacks (graham crackers and "cheddar bunnies" and such), but I make sure to kick them out in time to go to yoga or tap :). Sheesh, they're demolishing my supplies. Must. Go. Shopping.

2 comments:

  1. I would love to trade tests with you, and see what you're asking them!

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  2. Well, I usually just cut and paste from various sources, so I can't send you e-mailed tests, and I don't think I have easy access to a scanner.

    I take problems from old released AP exams. I took some hard ones from the Larson problem solving section. I also love the Anton book. I also have some test problems from Finney Demana.... (I think I'm remembering correctly).

    I'll make myself a note to bring the tests home this weekend, and see if I can scan them successfully.

    How's your calculus class going?

    Ms. Cookie

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