Q&A #4642

Classroom management

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From: Sharon T. (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Sep 15, 2000 at 15:58:12
Subject: Re: Classroom management

Hi Linda,

A couple of thoughts to help answer your questions:
	1. I always thought that homework was practice work where skills were to
be developed, so I didn't think it "fair" to grade their work; however, I did
want to hold them accountable for working on the assignment. So here's how I
usually handled it: at the start of class, students came in, got into their
groups, and began checking their answers with each other and referring to the
answer notebooks that were stored on a bookcase. While they were doing that,
I was circulating and looking at each student's notebook to make sure each
had worked on all of the problems. Each student who had done that got the 2
point homework grade, while those who hadn't or did incomplete work got a 0.
(Reason: if I'm an astronaut, I don't want you to get me MOST of the way to
the moon!) This made it easy to have direct contact with each of my students
every day. Even in classes with more than 30 kids, it saved time.  They
were checking answers, so I could concentrate homework review on a few
significant problems. It gave me a feel for areas of success and difficulty.
When I did have students sitting in rows, I'd have them pass their papers to
the front and pick them up there, then I'd return them the reverse way.

	2.My school had some classes meeting 80 minutes three times a week and
others meeting everyday for 60 minutes. The biggest challenge I had for the
long periods was keeping to a schedule because it was so easy to get into
interesting discussions or extensions of investigations and then not have
moved forward as much as I needed to. The long periods are perfect for having
students engage in discovery lessons where they actually performed
investigations and made conjectures. It goes a long way towards making
the math theirs instead of mine/yours. It was nice that one of my textbooks
was geared to discovery lessons, but I adapted the others to that style, and
it was very successful.

	3. I last taught at a magnet high school and my students worked almost
exclusively in cooperative groups, so I didn't have as much of a problem with
differentiating instruction for different levels. They weren't all strong in
math, but the better students learned by assisting the weaker ones, and
there's a lot of power in peer tutoring.

I know these are somewhat general ideas, but I hope they'll help.

 -Sharon T., for the Teacher2Teacher service

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