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New Teacher Question

Hey guys, I I'll be teaching 8th grade gifted physical science this year. I am in my 2nd year, but first with gifted students. I am thinking of doing a sponge activity and a ticket out the door on a daily basis. Is this too much? I know for sure the sponge activity will be daily, but the ticket out of the door may not be. I am trying to figure out how to grade them. I do not have time everyday to go through 120 submissions, so is there a way to expedite this? How do I put a grade on it? Should I include it in their daily participation grade? Or if they answer it right, maybe some type of extra credit? I need any help possible with this. Thanks!

Brad Daniell
Brad Daniell
190 Activity Points

Brad, I have tried this before...1) sponge activity or question of the day on the board as students arrive in class and while I take roll students write the question and answer in their Journal is a section specifically designed for this. 2) As students exit the class, with their Journals open to the "answer", I quickly check for completion and stamp if completed to my satisfaction. I also stamp them through out the period during my wanderings if they have completed them early allowing for less congestion at the door. 3) After 10 (or less), I count the number of stamps and it is entered as an activity grade. Each entry has a name and is posted on the board, if absent it is the students responsibility to get it completed. I also post it on my web site with the homework, etc... If it is not completed in class it can be completed later (no stamp on that one) for 1/2 credit. It was "fairly effective" but I found it to be time consuming.

Sue Garcia
Sue Garcia
42665 Activity Points

Hi Brad, Like Sue, I've also used the "Question of the Day" bell-ringer activity at the beginning of class. In my students' lab journal, they have a specific section for opening activities. As I circulate around the room, I stamp each student who has made an effort to answer the question, even if it's wrong. I also have a post-it note where I write down the kids who are not accomplishing the task. The opening activity is recorded as 10% of their daily participation grade. I try to use activities that the kids really like. Some of their favorites come from the MENSA brainteasers. I picked up several of the books on the discount racks at bookstore for under $10. Another idea for the ticket out the door would be to do notecards with 1 thing they already knew, 1 thing they learned, and 1 thing they have a question about. You can also use the triple entry journal exercise. I've attached a word document with some information on the triple entry journal.

Attachments

Maureen Stover
Maureen Stover
40810 Activity Points

For Bell Work, I have the students keep a separate section for it in their binders. I then grade their bell work on unit test days, every 3 weeks or so. I also have popsicle sticks with the kids name on them and randomly call on kids or call them up to do the problems on the board. If they don't have the work done or attempted when I call on them, then they will lose participation points for the day. It seems to be the most effective. Honestly I've done the ticket out the door and basically scan them quick as the kids leave and then really just throw them away. I know it defeates the purpose of the whole checking for understanding part, but at least it gets the students reflecting on what they learned for the day.

Chris Leverington
Chris Leverington
3900 Activity Points

Hi, I use a daily bell work question, which the students answer using T.I.P.S. ~ which stands for T. = Think - restate the question in your own words, I. = Information - what information is provided in the question to help you answer it, P.= Process - how are you going to answer the question (if math, give the operation, is it prior knowledge, did you use your textbook etc...), and S. = solution - what is your answer written in complete sentences? I copy the questions on usually half-sheets of paper using the T.I.P.S. format, and I collect the bell work after 5 minutes. I actually set a kitchen timer with a chime. I have posters around the room to remind the students what the T.I.P.S. stands for, as well as hand-outs on each desk for the first few months of school to help remind them. The 5 minute limit forces the students to get on task and focus on getting the bell work done. I do not grade their responses for accuracy; instead the students get 5 points everyday for completion - if they are complete. They will not get 5 pts if the question is not completely answered, and this helps me stress how important it is to get on task quickly everyday. I do go through the responses daily. I check for completion, and I check the solutions. I will place incorrect responses in a pile, and this helps me see if they are "getting it." It gets easier and faster the more you do it. I also place the "best" bell work responses on a "We Are Great Thinkers" bulletin board - the kids love checking to see if they are up there. :-) For more help on formative assessments, I would highly recommend P. Keeley's Science Formative Assessments book. Here is link to the product page: http://learningcenter.nsta.org/product_detail.aspx?id=10.2505/9781412941808 I would also suggest you search the learning center using "formative assessment" as a search term. There is a wealth of information within the learning center on formative assessments. Hope this helps, Sue

Susanne Hokkanen
Susanne Hokkanen
79060 Activity Points

Hi Brad, Welcome to your second year of teaching. Not all middle schools have the luxury of tracking science classes. To have the gifted students all in one class offers new opportunities to dig deeper into subject matter. The more ways you can connect your sponge activities and “tickets out the door” activities to the course curricular content the better! I would look for activities like formative assessments that will enhance, extend, or reteach the content of the day, week, or unit. There are some great ideas already provided on this thread. What Sue H. said is worth saying again: I do go through the responses daily. I check for completion, and I check the solutions. I will place incorrect responses in a pile, and this helps me see if they are "getting it." It gets easier and faster the more you do it. I also place the "best" bell work responses on a "We Are Great Thinkers" bulletin board - the kids love checking to see if they are up there. :-) I hope you have a chance to try the other great ideas mentioned already by Sue G, Maureen, and Chris. They really do work! There are some great science journal or notebook resources in the Learning Center. Incorporating individual science notebooks will provide your students with an outlet for producing creative, original writings and drawings. They can be the means to keep track of students’ thought processes and help you to check their understandings about specific content/concepts. Here are a few I think stand out: [url=http://learningcenter.nsta.org/product_detail.aspx?id=10.2505/4/ss06_029_07_30]Using Interactive Science Notebooks for Inquiry-Based Science[/url] [url=http://learningcenter.nsta.org/product_detail.aspx?id=10.2505/4/tst09_076_01_51]Integrating Interactive Notebooks[/url] [url=http://learningcenter.nsta.org/product_detail.aspx?id=10.2505/9781933531267.10]Assessing Science as Inquiry in the Classroom [/url](book chapter) I hope this helps, Carolyn P.S. If you are interested in more articles about science journals, please also see the links under another discussion thread; [url=http://learningcenter.nsta.org/discuss/default.aspx?tid=OZO6Ab6gzt8_E]Daily Learning Logs[/url]

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
80318 Activity Points

Congrats on the new assignment...We use something called a Personal Best board. It is actually a coordinate grid and we will be using it for things that the students do for above and beyond the regular answer... As they leave they can write on a sticky note. This gives you a quick check on the days goals...REALLY good answers make it to the PB board...If students don't quite get the jest of the days goals, then that is your cue to readdress the goal. Good Luck for the new year!

Katherine Schuelke
Katherine Schuelke
305 Activity Points

Congrats on your adventure into honors classes! I use exit papers or cards every couple of days to get a feel how students are taking in the lessons. My bell ringer activity is a journal writing prompt recorded in their journals. we discuss, they add to the answers if needed, and I grade it the journal 3 times a grading period, usually around test time. Participation grades are frowned on in my system.

Jan Leiner
Jan Leiner
120 Activity Points

Hi Brad and thread participants,
Brad, you asked, "I do not have time everyday to go through 120 submissions, so is there a way to expedite this? How do I put a grade on it? Should I include it in their daily participation grade? Or if they answer it right, maybe some type of extra credit? I need any help possible with this."
I am wondering if we are forgetting about technological advances that we could take advantage of to help us with this problem, especially if students have access to computers, clickers, etc., every day. I am brainstorming right now, so I apologize if these ideas are too far-fetched:
1.Have the responses entered and graded by the computer via something like Everywhere Poll (I just heard about it at another discussion forum, so I haven't tried it.)
2. Use clickers to record correct and incorrect responses
3. Get parent volunteers to help (old technology)
4. Would some of the new Iphone apps apply?
Has anyone tried any of these ideas? Thanks for any feedback.

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
80318 Activity Points

Another idea could be for students to have students write down one thing they learned, one thing that needs to be clarified, and one question that they might have about the content of that day's lesson as homework. By having them reflect on what they learned when they are at home might encourage them to review their notes or even do some research to answer their own questions. You might want to have students share their reflections and perhaps even have students find the answers to their partner's question for homework. This would help with you having to read so many reflections.

Juliet Kim
Juliet Kim
2330 Activity Points

I wanted to add to Sue's response above that many of the formative assessment probes in the "uncovering Student Ideas About .... series make excellent opening activities. I prefer the ebooks since you can print off the probes easily http://learningcenter.nsta.org/product_detail.aspx?id=10.2505/9781935155669 http://learningcenter.nsta.org/product_detail.aspx?id=10.2505/9781935155454 http://learningcenter.nsta.org/product_detail.aspx?id=10.2505/9781933531731

Pamela Auburn
Pamela Auburn
68505 Activity Points

Hello! We have only 48 minute classes, so I often do a ticket out the door at the end of a full lesson. Makes book-keeping so much easier!

Shannon Hudson
Shannon Hudson
2405 Activity Points

Hi:
I am from Texas and I found that I used the following resource: Warm Up to Science TEKS-based Engagement Activities Series The students would come in and pick up one of the questions each day as they came in and I would take attendance and such. Then we would go over the answer and why it was the answer. You might look into this. I loved the series.
http://www.region4store.com/Catalog.aspx?catid=347811
Hope this helps.

Adah Stock
Adah Stock
101490 Activity Points

Hi! I just completed my second year of teaching. :) I did daily warm-ups as well, but I collected their warm-ups every day. Mostly, I graded based on participation but it varied on the day and the complexity of the assignment. I found that collecting them on a daily basis is paper heavy and can get overwhelming. Something new I'm trying this year is a two-week warm-up page. Students will complete a warm-up each day, but they will write down their answers on the warm-up sheet and will turn them in every two weeks. I did not do a daily exit slip, but I thought about implementing it this year using the same approach. Good luck with your second year! :)

Karen Luxford
Karen Luxford
655 Activity Points

I do daily warm-up questions and readings (some days they are assigned to read a popular jounal article I have in a special folder on their desks - they have to write the main idea and reflect on how it affects them personally). We also spent a few minutes each day discussing them as a group so that I could use that as a formative assessment for the previous day's work (since that was generally what the questions were about). Two or three days a week, I would wander the room and provide stamps to anyone who was doing the work which could be accumulated and used towards a free homework coupon.

Tina Harris
Tina Harris
65560 Activity Points

Hi Brad,

With a new school year beginning, I've been sorting through my files to look for new formative assessment ideas. Here a a few that I've found (and some I "saved" from the abyss I call my filing cabinet!). Hopefully some of these ideas are helpful for you.

- Chain notes: Write a question on an envelope, during class, pass the envelope around. As each student gets the envelope, they will take a few seconds to jot down an answer and put their response into the envelope. You can count these as a participation grade or maybe a quiz grade if the question is over something you've already covered.
- Create a cartoon of what you learned in class: I think this one would be particularly fun for a physical science class since your students could things like acceleration due to gravity, inertia, forces, etc.
- 3 minute buzz: (copy attached): Similar idea to ticket out the door, but students have 3 minutes to answer 3 questions. 1)Something that affirmed their thinking, 2)Something new they learned, and 3) Something they are still unsure of. Students hand the ticket to you as they walk out the door.
- Reflecting on Great Ideas (copy attached): Students fill out a graphic organizer that looks like a light bulb. Following the directions, they write down 3 new things they learned, 1 thing that caught their attention, and 4 vocab words.
- Edmodo response: Post a question on Edmodo and have students respond
- Earn and Return cards: As students accomplish tasks related to a goal (maybe memorizing chemical symbols, etc) they get their ticket punched. When all the spaces are punched, students earn a reward (or a grade)

Hope those are helpful!

Maureen

Attachments

Maureen Stover
Maureen Stover
40810 Activity Points

Hi Brad-- Maureen has some really good suggestions here. Another possibility for a exit activity--I observed a class in which the science teacher asked the students to "tweet" her, with a response of up to 140 characters, about what they learned. On another day, she asked them to write their summary in the form of a haiku. That took a little longer, but she had some creative examples to share.

Mary Bigelow
Mary Bigelow
7925 Activity Points

A sponge activity is used to "soak up" time at the beginning or end of a class, as a transition between activities, or during other down times, rather than giving students "free time." But they can be more than time fillers. Teachers often use sponges (aka bell-ringers) at the beginning of class to focus students' thinking on the lesson or review the previous lesson. Or at the end of class, students can be asked as an exit activity or ticket-out-the-door to post a few reflections or a summary in their notebooks. I've used Do Nows as brief writing activities during a lesson as a type of formative assessment to see what students are learning. The previous posts in this thread have even more examples!

Mary Bigelow
Mary Bigelow
7925 Activity Points

Maureen, you always have such wonderful ideas to share. So many of the activities are ones that I have done with my middle school students over the years and somehow over time I have forgotten about these as I moved more into technology based resources. A question I have rolling around in my mind now is how many of these would I be able to transfer into my technology to continue to provide my students with that learning as well as maintaining the integrity of the activity. I always loved chain notes, they were short, sweet and anonymous. They often provided quick insight into student understanding but didn’t take a lot of time and provided meaningful feedback. I am thinking there is probably a Google tool or wiki that would allow students to make a post quickly and efficiently. Creating a cartoon is a favorite of students because it gives them the opportunity to draw the concept as they understand it. I began using Toon Boom Studio animation a couple of years ago. Toon Boom is animation software I purchased from Academic Superstore http://www.academicsuperstore.com/products/Toon+Boom/Toon+Boom+Studio . Students have the opportunity to learn how to use a Wacom tablet that came with my software to create an animation video they could store and share. While this would take longer than creating a pencil and paper cartoon, the graphical implications for high school, college and career are endless. www.toonboom.com is the Toon Boom official website that contains ideas, programs, pricing and more. A long time ago a very wise teacher told me you don’t have to score every piece of student work you assign, but you do have to have a reason for making the assignment. Somehow the task, activity or lab has to contribute to student learning or it’s just something fun to do. Not that there is anything wrong with fun, but with all of the high stakes assessment, we can’t afford to do tasks that don’t push students forward in their learning.

Sandy Gady
Sandy Gady
42985 Activity Points

Im interested in finding out how everyone uses this information.

John Pappas
John Pappas
795 Activity Points

You don't have to grade everything! Use a "scientific" approach. Grade only a random sample. The rest of them you can flip through and read in the hallway in between classes. This will give you a good informal assessment of the class learning so you know what to address the next day. Spending more than 5 min per class on exit tickets is excessive, and you will drive yourself crazy! I tried grading every little thing in my first year of teaching, and it didn't help my students achieve, but it gave me a giant headache...

Ashley Westra
Ashley Westra
225 Activity Points

I also have daily opening questions. I call them Science Starters. 90% of the time I ask questions as a way of assessing what we have learned or to lead students into a new topic. I do not think it would be reasonable for you to grade each and every question for each day. It is a formative assessment for me. I provide students with a sheet every two weeks, each side has 5 rectangles, one for each day. When I do grade the Science Starters I give students points for completing the starters then I will choose three questions that I thought they should be able to answer accurately. As for exit slips, I think they can be best utilized by giving them to students the day that you started new material so that as you read through them you are able to adjust your teaching to focus on material that they do not understand yet and to address any questions they may have posed. I usually use the 3-2-1 technique for exit slips. Andy

Andrew Hegdahl
Andrew Hegdahl
945 Activity Points

I also have daily opening questions. I call them Science Starters. 90% of the time I ask questions as a way of assessing what we have learned or to lead students into a new topic. I do not think it would be reasonable for you to grade each and every question for each day. It is a formative assessment for me. I provide students with a sheet every two weeks, each side has 5 rectangles, one for each day. When I do grade the Science Starters I give students points for completing the starters then I will choose three questions that I thought they should be able to answer accurately. As for exit slips, I think they can be best utilized by giving them to students the day that you started new material so that as you read through them you are able to adjust your teaching to focus on material that they do not understand yet and to address any questions they may have posed. I usually use the 3-2-1 technique for exit slips. Andy

Andrew Hegdahl
Andrew Hegdahl
945 Activity Points

I like the ideas from Stover, I think would those ideas throughout my classroom. I do warm up problems once my students get into class. But I call them HPTs, Happy Phun Time, since I teach physical science, Phun instead of Fun. As far as exit slips everyday, I use those when I notice I have extra time left over. Those usually have three items, where students write what they learned, new questions on the topic or a combination. As far as using it for grades, I use it more for formative assessment for myself or data, to see what parts of my lesson I need to go over or uncover what ideas students understood. I don't put a grade on them all the time, if I do I put them as extra credit. But the score points for those are 3-5 points.

Kristal Ann Daligcon
Kristal Ann Daligcon
770 Activity Points

I've noticed several of you referring to a sponge activity. What is that exactly? Thank you!!

Monica Holloway
Monica Holloway
2990 Activity Points

Monica-- A sponge activity is used to "soak up" time at the beginning or end of a class, as a transition between activities, or during other down times, rather than giving students "free time." But they can (and should) be more than time fillers. Teachers often use sponges (aka bell-ringers or warm-ups) at the beginning of class to focus students' thinking on the lesson or review the previous lesson. Or at the end of class, students can be asked as an exit activity or ticket-out-the-door to post a few reflections or a summary in their notebooks. I've used Do Nows as brief writing activities during a lesson as a type of formative assessment to see what students are learning. The previous posts in this thread have even more examples!

Mary Bigelow
Mary Bigelow
7925 Activity Points

Thank you!!!! Last year was the first year I taught science. Even though I had extended activities planned, there were two scholars who seemed to finish quickly. Both of them earned high scores and were able to explain what they learned. Do you have "a bag of tricks" of sorts of meaningful tasks for these situations?

Monica Holloway
Monica Holloway
2990 Activity Points

I had several things I might do with early finishing students. One things was to "hire" them as tutors for some of the slower students - they got so many points they could apply towards a future homework assignment or a treat or science related object/toy. I would pick these up at party stores or as conference freebies. Sometimes just a sticker made them happy. Another thing was to have a file of logic puzzles they could work on. These I kept in a file box in the back of the room and they could help themselves. This included word games (like if Billy, Bob, Lori, and Jane live in whatever houses and eat whatever foods who lives where and likes what?). They have books of these at education stores. There were also sudoku puzzles, story problems on different science topics, and random science puzzles that I had made for other class years and no longer used. Sometimes I would let them design and work on their own projects, like presentations for the class - these were also paid in homework points if desired. I kept several science experiment books on the shelf for them to look through. I also kept books and journals on various science topics so they could read about them on their own if they wished. This could easily also be done online, if you have a website where you have bookmarked safe sites with appropriate materials.

Tina Harris
Tina Harris
65560 Activity Points

In my district some of the teachers use notebook quizzes. They quiz the students not on content, but on whether they have been responding to the question of the day etc. I have 30 years of experience, but only 3 in science. I'm going to use this method as a way to check student participation. I have a question wall that works great with gifted students. They can write questions or ponderings on post-it-notes and place them on the wall. We answer them on Fridays. This contains the off-topic discussions that tend to happen in gifted classes.

Nancy Stephenson
Nancy Stephenson
2085 Activity Points

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