Goal of the Week: Plan curriculum for next year, yo.
Thought of the Day: Finals - what worked and didn't.
I've started thinking back on last year in preparation for this next year. So far, I've been thinking about what did work so I can repeat it and what didn't work so I can never look back. Hear's what I think of the most recent finals past!
Here's my idea of a great way to test student knowledge with students that do not study: posters! OK, many people may not like this because it sounds too infantile but it is SERIOUSLY what I had to do in Grad school.
I think that the students should be able to pick any of the topics that we covered this semester and research it in more depth to create a poster and present it to the class.
They need to learn to create projects on time, neatly, to follow directions to the letter, public speaking (even or especially through fear), independent research, and creativity (for designing and creating their own poster). These are real-life skills that they need to practice.
However, after having the finals week schedule on the board, in bright red marker, for two weeks AND giving them in-class time to work on their posters students are obviously still not ready. In fact - many students are blowing this off. I need to take measures against that next time by showing examples of sucky work and what it gets you.
On a positive note, having different parts due on different days worked so much better than last semester's "due all on one day" approach. Also, going over the rubric with the students helped them know what to do tremendously. I'm now a convert of rubrics and going over them with the students. I toyed around with having the students have one "practice-presentation" to show them how to do better the next day and it was a disaster. The students kept asking me why they were doing the presentation twice and which one was "real." Great idea with horrible execution.
What makes sense to me doesn't always make sense to others. I need to get in more presenting practice but this wasn't the way to do it.
All in all - the ones that are doing the work are mostly doing much better than last time. I credit it totally to them knowing the expectations in advance.