Well, the kids are starting to come in to take their "test" of the dialog I mentioned a few posts ago. They're doing that AND multitasking by whining in various ways about why they have to do it. I good-naturedly hold my ground and explain to them why (the dialog has lines that address 3 key sources of mistakes for them; the memorization and repetitive stress of remembering it will allow it to potentially stick in their heads).
I've had about 8 students do the dialogue, so far. I've also given them "inspiration" by putting a temporary "msg" in the electronic grade book. This is "missing" and has the same effect on their grade as a zero. Whew you should have seen the grades plummet.
Anyway, I've also had some kids in one class tell me they're nervous and can they do the whole dialog by themselves or can they do it with another student while I watch (because apparently I'm intimidating ... who knew). So I made up a FAQ and mass e-mailed it to them:
1. When is it due?
Let's say by this Friday, so that if you don't finish it, I have time to nag you next week (2 days only!)
2. I'm nervous and Ms. Cookie is intimidating, can I do the dialog with someone else and we switch roles?
Yes, and you can get full credit if there are no major mistakes.
3. Can I do the WHOLE dialog by myself playing both parts?
Yes, but Ms. Cookie will have to take off some points (can still earn in the high 90's)
4. Ooh, I don't know the whole thing really well, but I know most of it, so I don't want to come do it.
Well, Ms. Cookie can prompt you .... she'll take off some points depending on how well you do, but it'll be a WAY better grade than a zero.
5. EEK! Nervous.
Well, the lowest grade you'll get is a 70% if Ms. Cookie feels you don't know it THAT well (but most of it), or a 0% if you never come in.
Do the math :)
6. Why do we have to do this dialog?
The dialog has some key points on things students mess up on. Also, when you memorize something and have to do it over and over again, it sticks in your head. Thus, using my professional judgment, it's good for you and your quadratic formula use knowledge (like math vitamins) even though it's stressful. AND you'll be proud of yourself for doing something you thought was not possible.
7. Has anyone taken it yet?
As of 1:30pm Monday, 5/24/10, 8 people have taken and passed it (lowest score 80%).
Best Interpretation of the Dialog: J./M. & G.
First Done: D. W.
Person Who Overcame Their Most Stress So Far: C. J.