Checking for Understanding

I need to come up with a much more structured way of teaching new concepts and checking for understanding before assessing. As I’m sitting grading the latest grade 8 quizzes on solving equations, it’s becoming clearer and clearer to me that I didn’t do a very good job of it this round. 

Idea #1: direct instruct in small chunks, then do lots  and lots of checking for understanding whole class using whiteboards (or the students’ favorite: writing with whiteboard markers on their desks) and other formative assessment tools. This could take DAYS given the complexity and rigor of some concepts. And obviously some concepts don’t lend themselves well to this format. This could get boring though…

Idea #2: use a Daily 5-ish workshop format with small bursts of instruction, followed by Cafe menu choices and small group work with the teacher. This would take some massaging, but I’ve tried it already and I think it could work with some tweaking. This allows for more creativity, and one of the menu choices could be working with whiteboards (because they love whiteboards as long as that isn’t the only formative assessment tool we use). 

Idea #3: maybe it’s an engagement issue? In that case, a PBL structure with small bursts of mini-lesson instruction as needed is the answer. Again, this allows for much more creativity, and then the instruction is really guided by student interest. 

Idea #4: I got nothin’. Ideas, anyone?

Oy vey…I need a drink. 


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