Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Mistakes will occur often in school and life in general.  Making a mistake is a great way to learn if the mistake is corrected and understood.

In my class, I do not give extra credit. Students are able to correct their daily grades (< 70) and test grades(< 90). Test corrections are mandatory on any test grade < 90. Some class time may be given, but overall, they correct the test on his/her own time. Students are always allowed to come to me for help on corrections. They are able to receive half the credit back on missed problems.

I created a form for the students to fill out when the corrections are being made.  The IMTQB (I Missed This Question Becuase) form provides a place for the student to reflect on any problem(s) missed.

A four column table is used which includes:

  • the problem number
  • new answer
  • place for work
  • place for the students to write in complete sentences why they missed the problem

The IMTQB form holds the students responsible for understanding why the problem was missed, and hopefully the student will learn from the mistake made.  I model correct IMTQB responses, so the students know exactly what I expect.  Of course, I always get a student to put something like, "I missed this question because I got it wrong".  My students know I will not accept this, so it will be given back to be completed correctly.

This form could be a prerequisite for extra points to be added to the test or a chance to take a retest.  I vary how I implement the form, and the students do not before the test if the graded test can be corrected for extra points or a retest.  I never want to give the students the impression that it is okay to not be prepared for the original test and then do the corrections for a better grade.  I want the students to know that it is okay to make a mistake, but what they do with the mistake is the true test.

You can download the form for free from my tpt store.

Happy correcting!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Daily Agenda

Summer is starting to wind down, so the thoughts of the new school year are upon me.  I believe it is very important for students to have a structured classroom.  Structure does not mean that there cannot be variations, or the students cannot have fun.  Structure means that the students know exactly what is expected each and every day.

I have found having a daily agenda that I follow every day is very effective.  Again, this does not mean that I never vary from this.  There is always a time in which a change needs to be made.  As a teacher, we must always be flexible!

To be even more effective is to have the entire math department aligned and on the same page.

Daily Agenda:
We have a 90 minute math class every day. This is the agenda our math dept follows. If you have a shorter class, you will need to modify to meet your time constraint. Maybe only do the quiz or speed test twice a week. I would keep the bell ringer every day.

Bell Ringer (2-4 minutes) - May need longer depending on the length of the questions. Move on after 4 minutes.
Daily Quiz (5 minutes) - time it and move on after 5 minutes.
Speed Test (1 minute) - skill practice
POTW (5 minutes) - work on the POTW that is received on Monday and due by Friday
Accelerated Math or other individualized practice (10 minutes) - practice geared towards each student's needs
Reach for the Stars (< 5 minutes) - We use the CPS clicker system. The kids answer their question on the paper, and then they click in their response. If you don't have a clicker system, you could note cards for an easy grade. Have them hold the letter of their answer at their chest.
Homework review - go over any left over work from the previous day
Instruction/Notes - go over any notes or lesson for the day
Activity/Work - Students use the remaining time to work on the activity/work assigned for the day.
I always allow partner work. If students get off task, I take the opportunity away.

If I have a test planned, I may or may not have the bell ringer and daily quiz (depends on the size of the test), but I do not follow the rest of the agenda for test day.
Structure is effective for the students, and I believe it is necessary for a smooth and well-managed classroom.
I would love to hear what type of agenda your classroom follows.

Here is a link to my bell ringer and quiz sheets our math department uses.

Happy structuring!!!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

New 8th Grade Math TEKS

Effective for the 2014-2015 school year, the math TEKS will be different.  Many teachers are already preparing for the changes.  As I started looking at the changes, I noticed that I have already built many of these TEKS in my class.

I do believe the personal finance TEKS are a great addition.  I already incorporate personal finance to an extent in my classroom, but now I will be looking for activities that include all the new personal finance TEKS.

I am not sure how these will be tested.  Currently, we have readiness and supporting standards.  I have not seen any information pertaining to readiness and supporting for the new TEKS.

I have created a new checklist for the new TEKS.  Unlike my old checklist, the new one does not break the TEKS down by readiness or supporting.  If TEA decides to keep this format, I can easily go back and add that information.

The new checklist DOES include a list of the current TEKS and how they are changing.  I have included the new TEKS and if any old is being completed deleted.  Some TEKS moved to other grades, so the appropriate grade level TEK is also included.

comparison of old TEKS to new TEKS

A place for date taught and mastery percent for each TEK

 I am currently working on the new checklists for 6th and 7th grade.  I will post those as soon as they are complete.  Then I will get the other grades done.

The new checklist can be found at my store.  It is never too early to begin planning.

I have also included a bundle which includes a checklist for the current TEKS and the checklist for the new TEKS.  The bundle can be found at my store.

I hope you don't let the new TEKS overwhelm you.  Once you become familiar with the new TEKS, they aren't so scary.  :)  One test does not determine if the students learn.  How well you teach will determine if the students learn.

Happy new TEKING!