January 24, 2013 by scasadei
I am not a fan of the “math maintenance” in the traditional, “count as a grade” sense, but I do believe that keeping the students’ skills sharp is necessary. It is no surprise that the students abhor math maintenance sheets, and all the pressure that can come along with them. I spent the first half of the year trying to come up with a way to review math skills that would not take up too much instructional time, cause stress on my students, and leave me with 68 more papers to grade at the end of each week.
My students have been using Edmodo as part of our flipped classroom since September. They use it to watch videos, submit papers, take polls and quizzes, and ask me and their classmates questions about the class. (I discussed my experiences with Edmodo in a pervious blog post.)
I am fortunate enough to be in a school where all but a handful of my students have a wi-fi enabled device, and with administrators who have allowed us to pilot a BYOD program. We are 22 days into BYOD with the 7th grade and it is awesome! The fact that the students have access to their own technology when they need it makes every tech-integrated lesson “doable”. Students without their own device are provided one to use in class. Which brings me to math maintenance…
On Sunday night I load five, 5-question multiple choice quizzes into Edmodo and schedule them for delivery: one quiz a day at 8am. When the students come to class each day they immediately log onto Edmodo from their devices and complete the maintenance quiz. From my Edmodo account, I can see who has submitted the quiz and which questions they answered correctly or incorrectly. After all quizzes have been submitted, I review the answers with the students. This maintenance activity takes no more than ten minutes.
Edmodo allows the option of creating small groups within classes, so that I am able to assign personalized maintenance based on students’ needs. If there are six students who need more practice with percents, I can assign them to a small group and send specific questions to them.
The quizzes in Edmodo provide the students with instant feedback. After today’s maintenance, one student said, “I got two questions wrong, but after I saw the right answer I figured out what I did wrong. Now I get it.”
My students take the Edmodo maintenance seriously even though I choose not to “count” them as a test grade. It may be because they are enjoying the Edmodo format over a typical math maintenance sheet.
Creating the maintenance quizzes does take some time, especially if you are going to create sub-groups with specific questions. However, I do believe that the work I put in on the front-end is well worth it. The fact that we are BYOD makes this type of maintenance possible, and pretty much a seamless part of our class time. I know that some schools have sets of iPads in the classroom, so this may be possible for those situations as well.
I would love to hear how others handle math maintenance, or incorporate Edmodo into instruction and assessment.