Okay, okay. I realize it's May. I realize I haven't blogged since January. Life is busy. Plus, I don't really have followers, so what does it matter?
I have recently been struggling with my classes and independent work. If I force them to work alone at their desk, I am running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I can't get to every student and I can't answer all questions. If I let them work in groups, they socialize and don't get their work done no matter how many times I say "Get to work!"
I am fortunate to have an awesome PLN who offered me many suggestions via Twitter last night and this AM. However, I am also lucky to enough to work down the hall from a 33 year veteran teacher. She retired and came back to the classroom for half-days. While some days I may argue she's antiquated, today, I was singing her praises. She told me how she was reviewing for the Algebra II Exponentials & Logarithms Test and I 100% stole it.
So, the review that I'm about to tell you about is not mine. I am not claiming it, just sharing it. I wish I had brought home my thumb drive so I could post the worksheet I gave them, but I will try to remember to update this post tomorrow while at school. BUT, here's what I did. [Update: Here is the worksheet.]
I created a worksheet with three sets of problems from the worksheet (here, I would attach the worksheet, instead I explain.) I just listed page and problem numbers. I [strategically] assigned groups of either 2 or 3 and instructed them to each pull out a sheet of paper to do their work on. They worked together on one set of problems. When they finished, they switched papers. They did another set, then switched again. So, in the end, each sheet should have three (if a group of three) different handwritings on it. I told them from the beginning that I would pick ONE sheet from each group, collect and grade it, so they needed to make sure everyone was working and working correctly. I also told them they could not consult any other group. They could only consult textbooks, notebooks, group members and myself.
I couldn't believe it, but they actually worked. I mean, like collaborated, talked, discussed and DID MATH. I sat in awe. I was still there to answer questions, but they had to consult notes before I helped them. I don't know if it was my strategically created groups or the fact that it was kind of like a competition or the fact that I was only collecting one or maybe they were just in the right mood today, but THEY DID MATH!
It was so great. I don't know why I didn't think about it before now. And, it doesn't seem great until you see it work. Now, every class is different, but for mine (who usually don't do math), it worked. They did math. My "better" class wasn't a huge fan of it, but it still worked. They really enjoy picking who they work with. But, once they get over that, it works.
Maybe it'll work for you.