Enhancing Student Number Sense

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Jumping in head first…

So I’ve been thinking about that “underutilised” component of assessment- student created assessments and what that would look like in my classroom. Last night, when I was tossing and turning (where great ideas come from), I thought, “I taught that lesson on odd and even numbers yesterday, I think it went well, but I need some documentation to support my hunch”. Thinking back to what we’ve been talking about, I immediately thought about allowing my students to demonstrate their knowledge. I decided to frame the activity by telling them what I needed to know and thus what they had to show me. We brainstormed possible ways that they could demonstrate that knowledge and I set them loose (a very frightening experience at first) but, what a great experience! I actually said out loud to myself, “Why didn’t I do this before?”

I didn’t grab my clipboard until later. First, I circulated and everyone was EAGER to demonstrate what they know. I started conferencing haphazardly with students. Prompting them to get on track- not providing answers but clarifying concepts that you could see were just beginning to be formed.

Before closing the activity, I grabbed my clipboard and jotted down important information that I gathered from the activity. I was pleasantly surprised. I took some pictures of some of the things that they came up with. ImageImageImageImage

I guess the difference between this and what I’ve done before is that I’ve framed the assessment more. This one was student-selected, sometimes collaborative and very telling. I am definitely going to do this again!


The Tally (so far)

Looking at the tally so far, I am finding that the project component is the hardest to address. Also, challenging the strong students (beyond the time working with that group during guided sessions) is not happening as often as I would like. Any suggestions?? 


F.A. ideas from this website

I like this website. Not all of the fomative assessment example are for math but you can certainly think about how to use them in math.


1 Comment »

Okay, I understand the four- point scale but how well can I translate it into the current three-point system on report cards?

Anyone willing to tackle this with me?
I find this difficult because it often feels like we cram a lot of learning goals under one heading, i.e. Number and Operations. Two “Number” units may be covered during a particular reporting period and on one they may have done well and on the other, not so much.
To be quite honest, I hate assigning grades, I would rather just provide a progress report and discuss goals that we need to set for that particular child. Thoughts?


Student generated assessments

Tanya…. I have been thinking a lot as well after reading Marzano’s chapter regarding this very topic.  I agree with having the students “show” us what they know in their own creative style/way. This brings into play many of the following questions:

-some parents seek the pencil/paper/traditional form of testing.  So we need to re-educate parents on these new styles of demonstrating learning. )

-although we would create and use a rubric for such an activity, is the rubric not somewhat subjective rather than objective??

I would love to see more of this student-generated work come into play. So often I have read or listened to a student explain or write about their strategy and it was genius…… yet didn’t fit into the “mould” of an answer.  If we are encouraging kids to “show us” what they know.. we need to be fair in how we ALL (provincially) grade them. (ie. provincial testing…)


Student-Generated Assessments

“Student-generated assessments are probably the most underutilized form of classroom assessment. As the name implies, a defining feature of student-generated assessments is that students generate ideas about the manner in which they will demonstrate their current status on a given topic”. Ch. 2, The Anatomy of Formative Assessment, p. 16

This got me thinking…why not? Anyone willing to go on the journey in K-2 with me? How shall we proceed?


Journaling With A Purpose

In Math Journals this week, I asked my students to choose a number from 5-10 and draw that many fish (I had previously used fish pictures in my whole-class lesson).  I told my students that after they had their particular number of fish drawn, they would be taking it around to their classmates and asking them to count how many fish they had.  It was amazing how much effort they put into their journaling when they knew they would be required to share it.

This goes to show that giving students a purpose for completing their work tends to increase the odds that they will take it to heart and put forth a good effort.


Feedback to students

I have been considering Fern’s last post – she really DID give me something to think about. Communicating constructive feedback certainly is critical but poses challenges when considering “how” and “when.” I know myself I gather a lot of informal data on how to proceed with the class or individuals but often don’t communicate the “next steps” to the students. I did a better job in addressing this challenge when I started guided math and conferencing. I noticed that many have blogged about videotaping in math. Maybe videos have a unique opportunity in encouraging students to think about their learning or defining “next steps.”

How are you communicating the information you glean from formative assessment back to your students?


Student created questions

Students were given a post-it note and asked to create an addition question (four digit + four digit).  They were not to solve their question, rather they chose one of their peer’s questions to work with (they also paired up with that peer).  Students then used estimation to solve the question and they also stated if their estimation was an over estimate, under estimate or if they could not tell.  The students loved creating their own questions and solving their friend’s.  One student was given the task to film students working and it was wonderful to see students taking pride and being excited to explain a Math concept!


Math Journals

Math Journals are used to develop and enhance a student’s mathematical thinking and communication skills. Math Journals provide an opportunity for the student to self-assess what they have learned. The student is required to go beyond mathematical procedure, reflect on what is needed to complete the problem and communicate it in writing. When a student writes a math journal, they must reflect on what they have learned which in turn is a great assessment technique for individuals.

Math teachers will also find Journals to be an effective assessment tool. When reading journal entries, a decision can be made if further review of a concept is required.

There are several guidelines I follow when journaling in Math:

– I keep Math journals in a separate book

– An entry should take no longer than 6-7 minutes to complete

– I do not journal every day. I try to journal at least twice a week. Normally, when I have either introduced or completed a new concept.

Here are some examples of some prompts I use:

I wish I knew more about……

How many times did you try to solve the problem? How did you finally solve it?

Could you have found the answer by doing something different? What?

What method did you use to solve this problem and why?

Was this hard or easy? Why?

Where else could you use this type of problem solving?

What would happen if you missed a step? Why?

What other strategies could you use to solve this problem?

You can find hundreds, if not thousands, of prompts on line. Please feel free to add web links or useful prompts in the comment section. Happy Journaling!