Friday, November 18, 2011

The Parking Lot

I assign homework every night but only check it every 3 to 4 days with a homework quiz.  I have found that if I actually take the time to go over the homework everyday it takes half of my class time and only half of my class is paying attention.  After facing the same issue over the past couple of years I decided to change my routine and do a homework quiz to keep students accountable. 
Shout out to Ms Ramsey giving me the idea for the template - my homework quiz originally started handwritten on grid paper.

I keep the shapes blank and hand write the problem numbers since they change with every investigation.  I do not check EVERY homework problem but I check the MOST important concept from every problem (daily lesson) in each investigation.   

 Although I correct and grade every problem, students get full credit in the gradebook as long as their answers are reasonable.  After testing my new routine (loved all the extra groupwork time) I noticed poor scores on the homework quizzes - students were not completing all of their homework before each quiz.  My co-teacher suggested doing more frequent checks during the investigation so students started feeling the need to do their homework every night and not save all the problems to do in one night (if at all).    

I decided to start doing "bellringers" or enterance slips ever couple of days.  These are just quick "write down your answer to problem 8a" on a scrap piece of paper (paper given by teacher).  Students would record an answer to a single problem assigned either the night before or possibly two nights before (works better with absences).  Students get 2 points if the answer is correct, 1 point if the answer is wrong, zero points if they did not have it or were WAAAYYYY off.  I love the answers when students want to "look" like they tried to do their homework.  The bell ringers were working out great until I noticed I kept getting the dreaded "no names".  I hated not being able to give someone credit for a problem that they actually completed.  

Then one day while cruising through pinterest I saw this beauty. 
This is brought to you by the wonderful blog A Teachers Treasure

I instantly saw the potential of this cute idea! The next day I created my own.  Of course I had to put it a little twist on it to make it my own. 
After creating my parking lot I assigned a spot to every student.  This relieved my no name problem!  Once students have recorded their answer to the bellringer on a post it, they put their post it on their assigned spot.  If a student forgets their name I know who it is by the number! This also works great for exit slips or any other quick informal assessment.  I had extra spots in the middle so I created group parking spots in case I ever wanted to quickly check the understanding of a group as a whole.  

Oh how the little things get me so excited! 
Have a great weekend!